From Irish Steel to American Air Power
An Annotated Bibliography from the Eyes of Reardon.
Through this annotated bibliography, I attempted to discover the push and pull factors that lead the Reardons to America. Throughout my research, I continually came upon a reoccurring theme of my family history. The Reardons have been notably influenced by conflict. During the medieval era, the Reardons were the distinguished warriors of County Cork, Ireland. This push of war continued to influence my ancestors when they went up against an unusual opponent — the potato blight. They fought the battle against poverty, disease, and desolation. My ancestors eventually persevered against the dreaded potato blight, but again, war would be there to push them along. A nation divided would soon be the new home of my Great Great Grandfather, Edward Reardon. The American Civil War had just come to a bloody close, and in 1866, my Great Great Grandfather arrived at the Castle Garden in New York. Edward and his family adjusted as best they could. They were warriors against the persecution of Irish culture. His son, Eugene Reardon, would later continue the Reardons’ valiant heritage by joining the Army and fighting in WWI. His son, Eugene Reardon, would follow suit in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Now, it is my turn to take the torch. Through these sources, I have found a warrior connection to my past.
# 1 O’Laughlin, Michael C., “Families of Co. Cork, Ireland: Volume IV of the Book of Irish Families, great and small.” Vol. 4. Kansas City, MO: Irish Genealogical Foundation, 1999. 129. Print.
In the Fourth Volume of the Families of County Cork, Ireland, author Michael O’Laughlin presents a synopses of the families from Cork, Ireland. County Cork is the southern tip of Ireland, is home to beautiful coast lines. and a warrior culture. O’Laughlin provides a quick background regarding what the families were known for, where they were located in Cork, Ireland, and what major allies they had during their times. A number of the names that I read, like Quinn, Price, and Miller, I have seen in my life and have had friends with these names. My roommate in college, for instance, can trace his own roots to Cork, Ireland. The series of short descriptions were thought provoking. The overlapping connection, I have with the individuals around me is extraordinary. In my case, I had to go all the way back to my O’Riordan roots, but once I got there I would uncover the focus of my project.
The most significant part of this book was that it connected my path with my ancestor’s paths. My ancestors were great warriors and were known for being distinguished chiefs in the County of Cork, Ireland. This correlates to my entire lineage of Reardons who have fought in almost every major war since World War I to Vietnam. It was an exciting discovery, to know that the Reardons have always been involved one way or another in the major conflicts of their nation. I can also connect this heritage to my life because I plan to be an officer in the United States Air Force. I had always wondered why my family took the military root in life, and now I think I know why. It’s in our genes.
This was a sensational discovery because I was able to make it my focus for my entire project. Without this information, my entire project might had revolved around something totally different. I believe the focus of military is a great honor to the Reardons who have come before me. The will of the Reardons from the warrior culture, during the medieval times, to my future in the United States Air Force has tested, but I will continue my family’s legacy.
#2 Donnelly, James S. “The Great Irish Potato Famine.” Phoenix Mill, Gloucestershire : Sutton Publishing, 2001., 2001.
In the book, The Great Irish Potato Famine, James Donnelly gives a little backstory on why the famine was so devastating to the Irish people. Through his writing, you are able to see the big picture of the Great Irish Potato Famine. The book talked about three major impacts on the Irish people before the famine: wealth, region, and a spike in population growth. All of these factors, lead to the devastation of the Great Irish Potato Famine.
When I found out that a famine was a major event in my roots, I wanted to know how the famine began. The major factors were population growth, region, and wealth. Between the years 1750- 1845, the population of Ireland grow from 2.6 million to 8.5 million. That is a 325 percent increase. The other two factors, region and wealth, are important to consider because Ireland, during this time, had a vast wealth gap. The wealth gap was felt in most regions of Ireland. In the case of County Cork, this area along the southern coastal area of Ireland was known for being a low middle class area. Their diet consisted of mostly potatoes which you can only guess might lead to some problems in the near future. It is estimated, that a poor individual in Ireland would consume between 12–14 pounds of potatoes a day. That is a crazy number to think about. It is easy to retrace the dots and see how the potato famine affected my family, and it is crazy that a little blight could cause a mass immigration of over one fourth of the population in Ireland.
This book was important to my research because it gave the pre-famine backstory of Ireland. It is interesting to find out, the country was growing exponentially in both industry and in population before the famine. Its greatest economical years were on the eve of the famine. It gave a better picture of the early life my Great Great Grandfather had lived through before the Great Famine.
#3 Mulrooney, Margaret M., “Fleeing the Famine : North America and Irish Refugees, 1845–1851.”, Westport, Conn. : Praeger, 2003., 2003
Fleeing the Famine, a collection of writings edited by Margaret Mulrooney, has taken various stories from historical recollection of the Irish immigration and detailed them out into three main parts: the migration, the response, and the memories. For my uses though, I only used the collection of writings that detailed out the actual transition from Ireland to America. In this section of Fleeing the Famine, the Irish Migration is written through recounts of memories and other historical data. The migration of over 2 million Irish people can now be seen in a new light. The book begins with the one of the first struggles for the Irish migrants, the migration.
The beginning of the book, explains the cruel conditions aboard the ships. The ships that transported the Irish, from there now desolate land to the United States, were definitely rundown. The English and Irish government did little to fix the poor conditions of the boats because they did not want to slow down or stop the migration. Sadly, due to the negligence of the British government, many people dealt with overcrowding, poor ventilation, diseases, or even worse, starvation due to a lack of rations. The conditions stated above, do not even touch on the mistreatment the Irish dealt with when they got off the ships.
For me, this book relates to my Great Great Grandfather, Edward Reardon, who was the first to travel from Ireland to New York. I can only begin to imagine, the terrible ordeal that he went through while trying to make it to America. I never was told the story of what happened during the voyage, but through this research, I was able to uncover the unjust treatment of these poor Irish people.
#4 Wepman, Dennis. “Immigration : From the Founding of Virginia to the Closing of Ellis Island: An Eyewitness History.”, New York : Facts on File, c2002., 2002.
In the book, Immigration, by Dennis Wepman, Wepman details out the history of immigration in the United States from colonial immigration all the way to the 21st century. I chose this book because it has an interesting passage about Castle Garden. It gave some fascinating back history to Castle Garden and its path from Fort to Garden. Castle Garden was the first immigration depot in New York, and it is where my Great Great Grandfather took his first steps in America.
Through this source, I became aware of the great injustice that plagued the immigrants as they came over. Before the Castle Garden was built, thieves, tricksters, and con-artists would trick the immigrants into buying non-government documents, over-charging, and many other gimmicks. They knew they could pull these tricks over the heads of the immigrants coming over because they did not know any better. When the Castle Garden was turned into an immigration depot, around 1855, it was to stop these problems; it was mainly viewed as a success. The back history of Castle Garden has an interesting path, also. It was built in 1807, to defend the New York coast from the British before the War of 1812. During that time it was called Fort Clinton. After the war, it was leased to a private business where it became an amusement park, than a concert hall. In the 1830’s, the area around Fort Clinton became dilapidated and started turning away business. The city took over the abandoned building, and in 1855 Fort Clinton was turned into the first immigration station, Castle Garden.
Castle Garden is important to my family’s story because it was the first place my Great Great Grandfather set his eyes when he got off the boat. To know my Great Great Grandfather was apart history of that is amazing. A building that was meant to keep people from entering the United States, had now turned into a place that welcomed them.
#5 Ciment, James, and John Radzilowski. “American Immigration: An Encyclopedia of Political, Social, and Cultural Change.”, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2014. Print.
American Immigration, is an encyclopedia on the push factors of social, political, and cultural adversities the Irish had to endure during their immigration to the United States. The encyclopedia details out the Irish adjustments to a major protestant culture and how they dealt with prejudice. Although, these factors were key to my research I used this book specifically for one reason. The main reason I used this source was to gather more information about a major push factor for my Great Great Grandfather to come over to America.
At first, I had overlooked this blatant push factor, but then I became aware of it through my teacher. My Great Great Grandfather had come to America in 1866. This was just after one of the bloodiest conflicts in United States history, the United States Civil War. The war had come to an end, but the United States was now 620,000 men less. This meant more jobs for the immigrants, and migration rose.
Without the United States Civil War, my family might not have come to America when they did. They had survived the potato famine, and would have been fine staying in Ireland. Never the less, my Great Great Grandfather could not refuse the chance to be a part of the American melting pot. It is crazy to think, that the Civil War was my families’ foremost push factor to come to America. Once again, war follows and pushes the Reardons toward their future.
#6 “Gang’s of New York.” Dir. Martin Scorsese. Perf. Leonardo DiCaprio. Miramax, 2002. DVD.
In the movie, Gang’s of New York, director Martin Scorsese depicts the early hardships of the Irish immigrants through a great visual and creative representation of New York in the mid 1860’s. The setting takes place in Five Points. Five Points was one of the most rundown, villainous areas of New York at the time. This was a time of turmoil, the Civil War was in full swing. While the Civil War was going on, the Irish and all the immigrants were fighting their own battle against the English Protestants aka. “the Natives”. Through this turmoil, the characters in the movie are able to join together and overpower the corruption of the Five Points, and carve out a little piece of America for themselves.
This movie relates to my family because my Great Great Grandfather came over during the 1866 to New York. The representation shown in the movie was not far from the truth. The Irish were hated by the English. The biggest divider was religion. In the movie the main antagonist had similar principles as the protagonist’s father, but he was an Irish Catholic and he was an English Protestant. This clear line set by religion was a main divider between these people of New York. I know for certain, my Great Great Grandfather went through the same religious divide because even to this day the Reardon side is Catholic. They were proud of their religion and still are to this day. I know, it must have been hard for them to be second class citizens just because of their religion.
The most important thing I got from this film was the visual aspect of New York. It is not easy to imagine New York without the tall skyscrapers and the immense see of yellow cabs zooming from one block to the next, but New York in the 1860’s was an entirely different place. To be shown the directors idea of New York, during that time, is a great piece of information in regards to my research.
#7 Meagher, Timothy J., “From Paddy to Studs: Irish-American Communities in the Turn of the Century Era, 1880 to 1920.” Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1986., 1986
In the book, From Paddy to Studs, a group of authors, with the help of Timothy J. Meagher, the main editor, combine to illustrate an average Irish immigrant. They recount the time between the 1880’s and 1920’s. From Paddy to Studs delivers important details about the struggles that many Irish families had to face after coming to America. The book is able to shed some light on the many questions that revolved around an Irish family, during the time of my relatives. One of those questions was what were they going to do. Most Irish families at the time, were the poorest of the major cities residents. Secondly, how were they going to fit in since most Irish families were Catholic and the United States was predominately Anglo-Saxon Protestant? Finally, another eye raising question, how did the Irish people actually feel about America?
These were all relevant topics because my ancestors were immigrants from Ireland. They came over on a boat and began a new life without even knowing what they were getting themselves into. I think the most relevant passage in this book came from the “Irish, American, Catholic, Irish-American identity in Worcester, Massachusetts, 1880 to 1920.” This passage talks about the divide between the East and West sides of Worcester. The divide was between the Yankees, the Anglo-Saxon English, and the Irish workers, who were Catholic. This major divide in social class, became a major religious impact on were people lived and how they interacted with the entire community. Many Irish families never left the East side. Actually, during the time period of 1800–1920, 84.5% of Irish families still lived on the east side of Worchester.
This book was important to me because it yielded some light on the mistreatment of these people. I did not know of the strict divide between the Irish Catholics and the Protestants of America. This was important for me because my entire family on my Father’s side is Catholic and to hear that they were divided just on religion is sad to hear, but not surprising especially how the world is acting today.
#8 Barrett, James R. “The Irish Way : Becoming American in the Multiethnic City.” New York: Penguin Press, 2012., 2012
In the book, The Irish Way, the author James Barrett depicts the Irish lifestyle and how they became more than just immigrants, but actual “Americans.” He touches on the great struggles the Irish faced during their transition time from Irish to Irish-American to American. He goes into detail about how the Irish were the first major immigrant shift in the United States, and in most cases Irish-Americans were the first Americans many new immigrants would see when they arrived.
During this time period of great migration of the 1860’s all the way to the 1920’s, many Europeans left for the United States. These immigrants left for many different reasons. Some left because the United States Civil War had just ended. The Civil War had taken over 620,000 people. The United States was in need of man power to replenish the casualties of the war. Many immigrants left Europe before and after World War I due to the political tensions. When these immigrants got off the boat, the first people they normally saw were Irishman. The Irish had been the first to migrate to the United States after the potato famine in the 1840’s. A typical Irishman would either be a cop, fireman, saloonkeeper, or common workman. When these new immigrants came over, they normally associated the Irish ways as the American ways because this is what they saw day in and day out. The Irish were so entrenched in the lower-end districts of the major cities like New York, Chicago, and Boston that they became the figures that many immigrants emulated. Another characteristic, that was predominant in the Irish areas was close family ties. Before there immigration, many Irish families were separated based on County origin, but when they moved to America it did not matter which county you came from. You were Irish and that's all that mattered. This sense of origin grew stronger from the constant segregation by the Protestant English.
My family had to deal with the xenophobia and mistreatment when he landed, but when they landed, they knew if they were going to be successful, they would have to survive as a group and not just as an individual. They gained strong family ties and that has persisted to present day with my family.
#9 Richards, Marlee. “America in the 1910s.” Minneapolis, MN: Twenty-First Century , 2010. Print.
In the book, America in the 1910s, author Marlee Richards details out major events such as World War I and new technological innovations. Each of these factors would play a huge role in the formation of this country, my Great Grandfather’s life, and my Grandfather’s life. They would be growing up in a time of turmoil, revolutionary technology, and variable politics.
The most important event during the 1910s was World War I. In the beginning, the United States did not want to a part of the war. We had successfully stayed out of the war for about 3 years. Until, the United States and Woodrow Wilson could not ignore the blatant sinking of US ships and innocent deaths. To top it off, the United States received a message that the Germans had allied with Mexico to attack the United States. After that startling news, there was only one choice that made logical sense. On April 6, 1917, the United States declared war on the Germans and their allies. This decision troubled Woodrow Wilson because his whole reelection campaign had revolved around not getting involved, but he knew, that he had to act fast, or this war could turn into a war a lot closer to home. The next important thing that came out of the 1910s was the tank. World War I was the first war with tanks. They were bulky, slow moving things, but they were hard to destroy. They were able to go through the trenches, and they had a major impact on the war. Tanks would later play a huge role in every other major conflict.
My Great Grandfather fought on the United States’ side even though many Irish-Americans did not care for the British at this time. They resented the British and some even support the Germans instead. Nevertheless, when the call came for my Great Grandfather, Eugene Reardon, to go fight for the United States, the only answer he had was yes. Moreover, the tank is important to my family history because it would be the machine my Grandfather would fight in during Korea and Vietnam. That technological step forward in the 1910’s, lead my Grandfather, Eugene Reardon, into his desired field in the military. He would go on to fight in the 89th tank battalion in Korea and the 69th tank battalion during his time in Vietnam.
#10 White, Geoffrey M. and Lamont Lindstrom. “The Pacific Theater: Island Representations of World War II.” Honolulu: Center for Pacific Islands Studies, School of Hawaiian, Asian, and Pacific Studies, University of Hawaii, University of Hawaii Press, c1989., 1989.
The book, The Pacific Theater: Island Representations of World War II, is a collection of stories about the Islanders experiences during World War II. This is an interesting topic because most people overlook the cultural impact that World War II left on the people of the small Pacific-Asian island nations. Previous to World War II, these nations had been controlled by a variety of European powers, but that all changed when Imperial Japan started attacking the English outposts and taking control. Later on, another nation would have a tremendous impact on these island cultures, that nation would be the United States of America.
This book relates to my research because it touches on a less talked about topic during World War II. My grandfather fought in Pacific Theater during World War II. I remember when I was little, he would tell me some stories about the native people there. How they were so nice to him and wanted the soldiers there. What he did not know, at the time, was that they viewed the Americans as their liberators from the old powers of the colonial regime. The Islanders saw a change in power, from the older colonial regime, to a new and better equipped friend in the United States. This changing of the guard, caused an everlasting impact on these natives that even today you can go through some of the rural towns and hear natives singing songs like “God Bless America”.
When considering the topic of World War II, I had not thought about the islanders perspective. Before this project, I had only heard the stories from my late grandfather. In this book, I was able to learn more about his stories with an added twist, the viewpoint from the pacific islanders. The recounts were very informative and helped me put together some of the stories my grandfather had told me. Through this book, I was able to gather more information about the type of people the US armed forces were, and how the islanders treated these foreigners. It was cool to read stories that could have been about my grandfather.
#11 Zaloga, Steve, and Hideo Takeda. “M26 M46 pāshingu sensha 1943–1953.” New Vanguard: Osprey, 2000. Print.
In the book, M26/M46 Pershing Tank 1943–53, Zaloga gives a more factual base of the M26 Pershing Tank than a story. I specifically chose the section about the Korean War because of my Grandfather, Eugene Reardon. The book was useful in the regards to narrowing down the tank conflicts in Korea with numbers. These numbers demonstrated the power of our tank forces and how our weaponry was far superior to the Koreans. Zaloga elaborates on this fact because out of the 1, 326 tanks that were deployed only 15 were totally lost while the North Koreans lost 97 total T-34–85 tanks and 18 probables.
In regards to my Grandfather, he was a part of the 73rd Heavy Tank battalion, which mostly consisted of M26s. This tank battalion saw a lot of conflict in the beginning of the Korean War because the M46’s were not deployed till early September in 1950. The battalions with M26s and M4s were used primarily in the beginning of the conflict against North Korea and continued to be a vital component of strength against the opposition during the Korean War.
This source is important to my research because I was able to gather some clear facts about the tank superiority during the Korean War. I was able to find out what type of tank my Grandfather rode in during his time in Korea. I knew he had been a co-axial machine gunner, but I never knew for what type of tank. Now, through this source, I was able to add another leaf to the tree of my Grandfather’s past.
#12 “Good Morning, Vietnam.” Dir. Barry Levinson. Perf. Robin Williams. Touchstone, 1987. DVD.
Good morning, Vietnam - takes place in you betcha Vietnam - where Robin Williams plays a funny, outlandish radio host, Adrian Cronauer. He gets stationed in Saigon, Vietnam right before the conflict escalates. He is a brilliant orator and is loved by all the soldiers who listen to his broadcast. The only problems he seems to have in Vietnam are from his seemingly inadequate officers who know nothing about military values. They try to sensor his radio cast because Robin Williams wants to tell the soldiers what is really going on out their in Vietnam. Instead, he can only tell the soldiers what the officers deem vital to military efficiency. Along with his radio cast, Robin Williams ends up teaching an English class to the local Vietnamese in Saigon after the pursuit of a women he finds attractive. With some creative licensing, Barry Levinson is able to bring you into a “normal” day in Vietnam.
I found this source really helpful because my grandfather was in Vietnam during the war, and my grandmother was also like Adrian Cronauer because she also taught local Vietnamese English. My grandmother was an English as a second language teacher, and she loved it. I think the movie showed a great representation of the love and kindness of the people of Vietnam. Not every Vietnamese was an enemy, and my grandmother was able to experience it just like Robin Williams’ character, Adrian Cronauer, through teaching and communicating with the locals. Through both of these views, this movie was a great visual instrument for my annotated bibliography.
The most important thing I got from this source had to have been seeing a depiction of an everyday seen in Vietnam. During the war, Vietnam was in constant turmoil, but this movie was shot right before the Vietnam conflict escalated. This gave the viewer a different picture of Vietnam. It showed Vietnam as a livable place where you were able to communicate with people, get to know there culture - if you chose to- and above all coexist. It was nice to see this side of Vietnam. On the other hand it also showed the brutal scene my grandfather witnessed while he was in Vietnam. This movie was able to combine both my grandparents’ lives which makes this my favorite source.
#13 Hofmann, George F., and Donn A. Starry. “Camp Colt to Desert Storm: The History of U.S. Armored Forces.” New Haven: Yale U Pr., 2012. Print.
Camp Colt to Desert Storm, is another collection of stories aimed at detailing the lives of soldiers. I chose the excerpt by Lewis Sorley because it gives detailed accounts of the 69th Tank Battalion in Vietnam. The 69th Tank Battalion was the first battalion deployed to Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, tank battalions were absolutely crucial to many operations. They kept infantry safe and were used to keep some of the main convoy roots open like 19E. There scare factor intimidated the NVA and changed how they would fight against the United States. For most of the war, the NVA did not have anything that could compete with M48 Patton.
This book relates to my family because of my grandfather. During the Vietnam War, he was in the 69th Tank battalion. During his time with the 69th Tank Battalion, he was the control operator - which is fancy way of saying the tank driver. He made sure that the tank was in the right positon during the assaults and defenses. Even though his job was tough he loved the feeling of driving that tank. It was a lot better than being the co-axial machine gunner, like he was during the Korean War.
While my grandfather was alive he did not speak a lot about Vietnam except the basic information like: what he did and what battalion he was in. He never talked about what he had to go through during the war. It is amazing to read some of these accounts about the 69th tank battalion because it gave me a greater appreciation of what he did and what he had to go through each and everyday to get back to our family.
#14 “What Irish Boys Can Do.”, H. DE MARSAN, Publisher, 54 Chatham Street, New-York.
In the poem, “What Irish Boys Can Do”, the author — unknown to this day- talks about his observations of the United States during the mid-1800’s. Throughout the poem, he talks about the triumphs and successes of the Irish people. He talks about how they are kind loving folk, defenders of their country even a country that pushes them away. He repeats that an Irishmen can do many things, and signs like “No Irish Need Apply” brings anguish to his soul. The poets’ response to “No Irish Need Apply” is this poem of what Irish men are capable of.
This poem relates to my research because this was the seen for many Irish people. They were deterred away from work even though they had demonstrated that they were kind, hard-working people. They had to fight for their right to be called Americans. This poem I believe is a great summary of my research. Throughout this poem, themes like: conquering adversities, the endured character, and the will to keep going on have shown up time and time again. It is what makes the Irish who they are. Its what makes me Irish. The fighting spirt runs though our blood, and I am proud to call myself Irish.