Birthright : The True Story That Inspired Kidnapped

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No saga of personal hardship so captivated the British public in the eighteenth century as that of James Annesley, the presumptive heir of five aristocratic titles and scion of the mighty house of Annesley. Kidnapped at twelve years of age by his uncle, Annesley was shipped from Dublin to America in 1728 as an indentured servant. He finally managed to escape after thirteen years, returning to Ireland to bring his nemesis, the Earl of Anglesea, to justice in one of the epic trials of the century. Award-winning author A. Roger Ekirch explores how, in an age without DNA laboratories, Annesley could hope to prove his identity and his legitimacy after such a long absence. Richly evoking the volatile world of Georgian Ireland - complete with its violence, debauchery, ancient rituals and tenacious loyalties - Ekirch recounts an extraordinary family drama of betrayal and loss but also of resilience, survival and redemption.

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  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 154 x 232 x 10mm | 281.23g
  • WW Norton & Co
  • New YorkUnited States
  • English
  • 26 illustrations; 3 maps
  • 0393066150
  • 9780393066159
  • 359,923

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Review quote

"Starred Review. Ekirch out-kidnaps Stevenson in this thrilling, thoroughly documented story. A perfect mix of true crime and real-life adventure." -- Booklist "Ekirch does a masterful job of detailing these events in this meticulously researched and highly readable narrative. Concisely written and well documented, this fascinating book will appeal to both serious readers and general history buffs." -- Library Journal "An engrossing familial and legal tale told with dash and clarity." -- Kirkus Reviews "Ekirch's book brings the story brilliantly to life and vividly reconstructs the violent and debt-ridden world in which disreputable aristocrats operated." -- Sunday Times [London] "A splendid story of low skullduggery and high politics, and Roger Ekirch deserves congratulation for disinterring it. As befits an eminent historian, his research is detailed and the evidence carefully weighed." -- The Spectator

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Back cover copy

This gripping book tells a remarkable true story. . . . Roger Ekirch expertly illumines eighteenth-century societies in the British colonies and the seedy underside of Georgian Dublin. His masterly, sympathetic and racy reconstruction of the adventures of Jemmy Annesley at last fleshes out the truth behind the tales told by Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. Toby Barnard, University of Oxfor An extraordinary work of history by one of America s most imaginative historians, a true story more fascinating than fiction. Gordon S. Wood, professor of history emeritus, Brown University "

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About A. Roger Ekirch

A. Roger Ekirch is a professor of history at Virginia Tech and the award-winning author of At Day's Close and of Birthright. He lives in Roanoke, Virginia.

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