Until alarmingly recently, the Catholic Church, acting with the Irish state, operated a network of institutions for the concealment, punishment and exploitation of "fallen women." In the Magdalene laundries, girls and women were incarcerated and condemned to servitude. In the mother-and-baby homes, women who had become pregnant out of wedlock were hidden, and in most cases their babies were adopted—sometimes illegally. Mortality rates in these institutions were shockingly high, and the discovery of a mass infant grave at a mother-and-baby home in Tuam made international news. The Irish state has commissioned investigations. Caelainn Hogan—a brilliant young journalist, born in an Ireland that was only just starting to free itself from the worst excesses of Catholic morality—has been talking to the survivors of the institutions, members of the religious orders that ran them, and priests and bishops. She has visited the institutions, and studied Church and state documents that reveal about how they operated. She has produced a startling account of how an entire society colluded in this repressive system, and of the damage done to survivors and their families. In the great tradition of Anna Funder's Stasiland and Barbara Demick's Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea, this is an astounding portrait of a deeply bizarre culture of control.
About the Author
Caelainn Hogan's journalism has featured in The New York Times Magazine, Harper's, The New Yorker (online), VICE Magazine, The Guardian, Al Jazeera English, The Irish Times and The Dublin Review.
At least in The Handmaid's Tale they value babies, mostly. Not so in the true stories here. - -
[A] furious, necessary book - -
Achingly powerful ... There will be many people who don't want to read Republic of Shame, for fear it will be too much, too dark, too heavy. Please don't be afraid. Read it. Look it in the eye - - Irish Times
Utterly brilliant. Please read it - -
Hogan's captivatingly written stories of people who were consigned to what she calls the "shame-industrial complex" puts faces - many old now, and lined with pain - to the clinical data. ... Brilliant - - Sunday Times
[A] searing account of the Church's treatment of women during its period of dominance over Irish society ... It is never less than compelling - - Irish Independent
Republic of Shame is a careful, sensitive and extremely well written book - but it is harrowing. It would break your heart in two - -
Riveting, immensely insightful and horrifically recognisable - -
Compelling ... devastatingly human, [Republic of Shame] will make you shake with sadness and anger - - RTÉ Guide
A must read for everyone - -