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Do Penance or Perish: Magdalen Asylums in Ireland

3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  38 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Frances Finnegan traces the development of Ireland's Magdalen Asylums--homes that were founded in the mid-nineteenth century for the detention of prostitutes undergoing reform. The inmates of these asylums were discouraged-and many forcibly prevented-from leaving and sometimes were detained for life. Put to work without pay in adjoining laundries, these women were subject ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 8th 2004 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published June 30th 2001)
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Jan 18, 2015 Chris rated it liked it
If you have seen Philomena or the Magdalene Girls, this book is about those places and the abuses inflicted upon the women who were sent there. It does make for rage inducing reading. The tone is somewhat dry, for it is a study more than anything else. It should be noted that this author was the one that raised the issue and inspired the Magdalene Girls movie. Today when we are still debating abortion and unwed mothers, it is a work that should be read.
Feb 12, 2010 Brenda rated it liked it
A study of the Magdalen asylums, mostly in Ireland, from the mid-1800's (though it sites earlier institutions) to the early 20th century.

This book would be perfect for essays and research papers done on the Magadalen asylums. As a recreational read, however, it's lacking. The author exhaustively sites records kept by the Homes and other institutions, creating a fairly dry reporting of the atrocities that these communities were. Thousands of women were denied their basic human rights, their freed
Feb 18, 2014 Kat rated it really liked it
I feel a bit weird about rating this, as it's an academic text rather than one meant for enjoyment. So, of course, I had to seek it out for some light entertainment!

This is a study of Catholic Good Shepherd Magdalen asylums (penitentiaries meant to house "fallen" women) in Ireland, primarily during the 1800's. It's a truly fascinating topic--and appears to be academically solid--but since the author clearly only meant to assemble a lot of hard-to-access material in one book, I think most people
Georgia Gross
Sep 03, 2007 Georgia Gross rated it liked it
I saw the movie "The Magdalene Diaries" which inspired me to read this. I was prepared for a lot of horrible details, but this book (written more as a report) was very straightforward and objective. Contains many tables of statistics regarding specific asylums. Purports that the majority of girls checked in and stayed until they felt like leaving which is not the impression I've gotten from other articles I've read. There are dozens of books on this subject and I will pursue those. Either way, t ...more
May 06, 2009 Caroline rated it it was ok
The author did a lot of research. Then she presented it in the most boring way possible.
Jul 30, 2015 EinsteinShrugged rated it really liked it
Do Penance or Perish is a fairly comprehensive but not overly academic look at the asylums in Ireland which existed from the late 1800s into the mid 1960s and which eared a reputation for their cruelty as opposed to their spiritual foundations. The book includes an overview of the system as a whole, a closer examination of a few individual asylums and how social change and legislation - specifically a changing attitude toward sex workers and the Contagious Diseases Acts in the mid to late 1800s ...more
Feb 14, 2010 madsenmel rated it liked it
Well-written, but sometimes gets bogged down in numbers and statistics. For those truly interested in the subject, Suffer the Little Children by Mary Raftery and Eoin O'Sullivan is closely related and a much better book.
Jan 03, 2008 Wifey rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Catholics
Early history of the Magdalen Asylums. More academic than entertaining.
Kazimiera pendrey
Mar 02, 2012 Kazimiera pendrey rated it it was ok
an interesting subject but the book i found was quite boring
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