The story of John Devoy’s 1876 Catalpa rescue is a tale of heroism, creativity, and the triumph of independent spirit in pursuit of freedom. The daily log on board the whaling ship Catalpa begins with the typical recount of a crew intact and a spirit unfettered, but such quiet words deceive the truth of the audacious enterprise that came to be known as one of the most important rescues in Irish American history. John Devoy’s men rescued six Irish political prisoners from the Australian coast, allowing millions of fellow Irishmen and American-Fenians, many of whom secretly financed the dangerous plot, to draw courage from the newly exiled prisoners.
Philip Fennell and Marie King tell the story from John Devoy’s own records and the ship's logbooks. John Devoy's Catalpa Expedition includes an introduction by Terry Golway and the personal diaries, letters, and reports from John Devoy and his men.
“For the Irish and the Americans, for the historian and for the political analysts among us, [John Devoy’s Catalpa Expedition] is a work brimming with relevance and meaning. Few will want to miss an opportunity to have it on their shelves.”
-The West Australian Newspaper
“The New York authors, each a descendant of a pardoned Fenian prisoner, have recounted the adventure by valuably editing a series of original records including Devoy’s diary, the ship's logbooks, and reports from Devoy's men. . . . The use of Devoy's journal, written eighteen years after the event, passionately captured the balancing act required to juggle doggedly-held differing attitudes, internal feuds, empty gestures and frustrating politics.”
-Australian Journal of Politics and History
“It’s a story of rescue from the high seas as Pawling residents Philip Fennell and Marie King take readers to 1876 and the voyage of the Catalpa. John Devoy and his crew had a daring mission in mind: rescue six Irish political prisoners from the Australian coast and, in one bold move, inspire millions of Irishmen and Irish Americans. The story is gathered from the personal diaries, letters and reports from those involved in the maritime adventure.”