“Bad Bridget - Crime, Mayhem and the Lives of Irish Emigrant Women” by Elaine Farrell and Leanne McCormick is the February 2023 selection for the IrishCentral Book Club.
Each month, we will pick a new Irish book or a great book by an Irish author and celebrate the amazing ability of the Irish to tell a good story for the IrishCentral Book Club.
Throughout February, we’ll be reading Elaine Farrell and Leanne McCormick’s “Bad Bridget - Crime, Mayhem and the Lives of Irish Emigrant Women” which was published in January 2023.
Happy publication day to Bad Bridget!@Elaineffarrell and @Leannemcck have unearthed a world in which Irish women outnumbered Irish men in prison. They reveal the social forces that bred this mayhem, through stories that are brilliantly strange, sometimes funny, and often moving. pic.twitter.com/dI5MU3GbF0— Penguin Books Ireland (@PenguinIEBooks) January 26, 2023
“Our Bad Bridget book emerged from our research over many years in many different archives and libraries in North America,” the authors, who created the Bad Bridget project and podcast, in a blog post for Dubray Books.
“It tells the story of the Irish migration experience through a new lens – that of the women and girls who found themselves on the wrong side of the law, particularly in the cities of New York, Boston, and Toronto.”
They added: “We hope the book will bring all these experiences and the lives of these Irish girls and women in North America to a wider audience, and provide a glimpse of the complex and fascinating history of Irish female migration.”
Looking for Irish book recommendations or to meet with others who share your love for Irish literature? Join IrishCentral’s Book Club on Facebook and enjoy our book-loving community.
Synopsis of “Bad Bridget - Crime, Mayhem and the Lives of Irish Emigrant Women” by Elaine Farrell and Leanne McCormick
Ireland in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was not a good place to be a woman. Among the wave of emigrants from Ireland to North America were many, many young women who travelled on their own, hoping for a better life. Some lived lives of quiet industry and piety. Others quickly found themselves in trouble - bad trouble, and on an astonishing scale.
Elaine Farrell and Leanne McCormick, creators of the celebrated "Bad Bridget" podcast, have unearthed a world in which Irish women actually outnumbered Irish men in prison, in which you could get locked up for 'stubbornness', and in which a serial killer called Lizzie Halliday was described by the New York Times as 'the worst woman on earth'.
They reveal the social forces that bred this mayhem and dysfunction, through stories that are brilliantly strange, sometimes funny, and often moving.
From sex workers and thieves to kidnappers and killers, these Bridgets are young women who have gone from the frying pan of their impoverished homeland to the fire of vast North American cities.
"Bad Bridget" is a masterpiece of social history and true crime, showing us a fascinating and previously unexplored world.
Reviews for “Bad Bridget - Crime, Mayhem and the Lives of Irish Emigrant Women” by Elaine Farrell and Leanne McCormick
"A fascinating account of an aspect of the diaspora that is rarely given attention . . . Farrell and McCormick have created a captivating account of lives previously ignored." - Sunday Independent
"Fascinating" - Irish Times
About the authors Elaine Farrell and Leanne McCormick
Elaine Farrell is a Reader in the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy, and Politics at Queen's University Belfast, and co-creator with Leanne McCormick of the Bad Bridget project.
Leanne McCormick is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Arts and Humanities at Ulster University and co-creator with Elaine Farrell of the Bad Bridget project.
(*Synopsis, reviews, and biographical information provided by Penguin Books.)