Article Title

Last of the Name


Taylor Nelson


Outstanding, Intermediate, Young Adult, Immigrants, Irish, Family, Civil War, Historical Fiction

Document Type

Book Review


It's 1863, and twelve-year-old Danny O'Carolan and his sister, Kathleen, arrive in New York City, searching for freedom from the starvation and bloodshed they experienced daily in their Irish homeland. But what they find in America is not much different—the Civil War is raging, and the only available jobs for young boys seem to be in the army. Determined not to lose her only remaining family, Kathleen finds a job in domestic service for herself and her…sister. Danny reluctantly pretends to be a girl and works as a laundress, but occasionally sneaks off in his regular boy clothes to share his talent for Irish dancing with people on the street. While tensions escalate between the Irish and free black populations about the Civil War draft, Danny discovers the uniting power of music, heritage, and shared grief as he searches for a safe place to call home.