The Irish famine of 1845-1851 killed a million people, mostly from disease resulting from months of slow starvation. Hundreds of thousands were evicted and left destitute, and another million and a half fled the country, taking with them the horrors of hunger, disease and despair. Linked to a BBC2 television series, this book tells the story of this huge tragedy, from the social background of the impoverished Ireland of the day, through the famine's devastating course as people died in their starving thousands, to its lasting legacy in the rising Irish independence movement. Attempting to separate the myths from the history, the author draws on oral traditions which have passed stories of the famine down through generations in story and song, as well as original letters and first-hand accounts. The book offers an aid to understanding "the Irish question" and the roots of The Troubles today.