Lawrence J McCaffrey Prize for Books on Irish America, 2022

06 May 2022


The department is delighted to congratulate Associate Professor Emerita Dr Bernadette Whelan, MRIA, on being awarded the American Conference of Irish Studies (ACIS) Lawrence J. McCaffrey Prize for Books on Irish America, 2022: De Valera and Roosevelt: Irish and American Diplomacy in Times of Crisis, 1932–1939

The Committee's commendation is as follows:

The committee agreed unanimously that the recipient of the Lawrence J. McCaffrey prize for 2021 will be Bernadette Whelan’s De Valera and Roosevelt: Irish and American Diplomacy in Times of Crisis, 1932–1939 (Cambridge University Press). It is a richly textured, absorbing and highly engaging study of a period that is sometimes regarded as ‘inter’, offering fascinating perspectives on the intersections between diplomatic and political manoeuvres. De Valera and Roosevelt are used as a fulcrum to consider a vast spectrum of characters who were involved in developing the ‘special relationship’ between Ireland and the US during the 1930s, including diplomats, their families, politicians, members of the US postal service, IRA members, illegal gamblers… the list goes on. To tell this extraordinary story, the study is grounded in, but not overburdened by, primary research (letters, memoir, foreign policy materials) drawn from Ireland, the US, the UK, and Switzerland. The emphasis on twentieth-century Ireland and the US enables Whelan to home in on the shifting power dynamics of the two countries in the tense years before World War Two, and necessarily pivots around the position of Britain – a triangulation that offers fresh perspectives, resisting often laboured mythologies of Irish America.