Acclaimed biographer John Loughery tells the tale of John Hughes, son of Eire, loved one of William Seward and James Buchanan, founding father of St. John’s School (now Fordham College), builder of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Road, pioneer of parochial-college training, and American diplomat. As archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York within the 1840 and 1850s and essentially the most well-known Roman Catholic in The united states, Hughes defended Catholic establishments in a time of nativist bigotry and church burnings and labored tirelessly to lend a hand Irish Catholic immigrants to find recognition of their new native land. His galvanizing and protective paintings and pugnacious taste earned him the epithet Dagger John. Whilst the pursuits of his church and ethnic group have been at stake, Hughes acted with function and readability.

In Dagger John, Loughery unearths Hughes’s existence because it opened up amid turbulent occasions for the non secular and ethnic minority he represented. Hughes the general public determine involves the fore, illuminated via Loughery’s retelling of his interactions with, and responses to, each and every best determine of his generation, together with his critics (Walt Whitman, James Gordon Bennett, and Horace Greeley) and his admirers (Henry Clay, Stephen Douglas, and Abraham Lincoln). Loughery peels again the layers of the general public lifetime of this sophisticated guy, appearing how he reveled within the controversies he provoked and believed he had lived to look a lot of his targets completed till his desires got here crashing down all through the Draft Riots of 1863 Whilst violence set New york ablaze.

To realize “Dagger” John Hughes is to remember the US all through a painful duration of expansion because the country headed towards civil struggle. Dagger John’s successes and screw ups, his public relationships and personal trials, and his legacy within the Irish Catholic group and past supply context and layers of element for the bigger historical past of a up to date tradition unfolding in his wake.