Trinity: Easy reading Irish history

Leon Uris’s Trinity is a huge doorstop of a novel about the socioeconomic and political history of Ireland from the early nineteenth century into World War I.

Trinity's dust jacket has colored bands of green, white, and orange
Color bands represent Ireland’s Catholics, English, and Protestants.

Through those years, Uris focuses on three families with different loyalties.

A Catholic family named Larkins scratch a bare subsistence from hillside farms in Ballyutogue.

The Hubble family headed by the Earls of Foyle, English aristocrats, owe their position and wealth to England.

The MacLeods, a Belfast shipbuilding family, is committed to the Scottish-Presbyterian Protestantism and the British Crown that established them in Ulster for reasons of state.

Uris weaves the three families together through a single character, Conor Larkin, age 12 as the story opens and 43 when he dies in 1916 fighting for his vision of an independent Ireland.

Reading Trinity, I realized that what little I know of Irish history has come primarily through the filter of English novelists. It had never registered with me that the position of Ireland in nineteenth century (and beyond) was like that of America in the eighteenth century: a colony.

Uris wraps his fictional characters in cloaks of history and as he unwraps the historical figures from them, simultaneously providing good entertainment with a substantial history lesson.

Trinity by Leon Uris
Doubleday, 1976. 751 p.
1976 bestseller #1. My grade: A

© 2018 Linda Gorton Aragoni

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Linda G. Aragoni

I make big ideas simple for learners. In eight sentences, 34 words, I taught teens and adults to write competently. Now I'm writing guides to turn willing volunteers into great nursing home visitors.

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