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Memorial Hall Library

When the Irish Invaded Canada: An Evening with Christopher Klein

When the Irish Invaded Canada

Christopher Klein's newest book, When the Irish Invaded Canada: It's No Blarney, is due out March 12. It tells the outlandish, little-known story of the self-proclaimed Irish Republican Army that carried out five attacks on Canada—known collectively as the Fenian Raids—between 1866 and 1871.

Just over a year after Robert E. Lee relinquished his sword, a band of Union and Confederate veterans dusted off their guns. These former foes, however, had no intention of reigniting the Civil War. Instead, these Irish immigrants fought side by side to undertake one of the most fantastical missions in military history: to seize the British province of Canada and hold it hostage until the independence of Ireland was secured. With the tacit support of the U.S. government, this motley group—including a one-armed war hero, an English spy infiltrating rebel forces, and a radical who staged his own funeral—managed to seize a piece of America’s northern neighbor, if only for a matter of days.

Christopher Klein is the author of four books, including Strong Boy: The Life and Times of John L. Sullivan. A frequent contributor to, the web site of the History Channel, Christopher has also written for The Boston Globe, The New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, Harvard Magazine,, and He lives in Andover.

Sponsored by the Friends of MHL.