Sons of Saint Patrick tells the story of America's premiere Catholic see, the archdiocese of New York—from the coming of French Jesuit priests in the seventeenth century to the early years of Cardinal Timothy Dolan. It includes many intriguing facets of the history of Catholicism in New York, including:
- the early persecution of and legal discrimination against Catholics
- the waves of catholic immigrants, most notably from Ireland
- the Church's rise to power under New York's first archbishop, "Dagger" John Hughes
- the emerging awareness in the Vatican of New York's preeminence
- the clashes between America and Rome over the "Americanist" heresy
- the role New York's archbishops have played in the life of America's greatest city—and in the world
The book focuses on the ten archbishops of New York and shows how they became the indispensable partners of governors and presidents, especially during the war-torn twentieth century. Also discussed are the struggles of the most recent archbishops in the face of demographic changes, financial crises, and clerical sex-abuse cases.
Sons of Saint Patrick is an objective but colorful portrait of ten extraordinary men—men who were saints and sinners, politicians and pastors, and movers and shakers who as much as any other citizens have made New York one of the greatest cities in the world. All ten archbishops have been Irish, either by birth or heritage, but given New York's changing ethnic profile, Cardinal Timothy Dolan may be the last son of Saint Patrick to serve as its archbishop.
"Deeply researched, readable, and engrossing, Sons of Saint Patrick is a towering work of scholarship and an invaluable contribution to the entwined histories of New York City and the Catholic Church. Drawing on unsealed documents and their vast knowledge of local politics and organized religion, authors George J. Marlin and Brad Miner show how the archbishops of Gotham have functioned as 'the leader of the world, or at least of a world', fusing the Lord's work with the often thankless business of combating anti-Catholic sentiment, declining church attendance, and shrinking budgets. Required reading for anyone who cares about the greatest city on earth and the civilizing role played by leading Catholics in its march toward modernity."
— James Rosen, Chief Washington Correspondent for Fox News, and Editor of A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives of the Twentieth Century by William F. Buckley, Jr.
— Cardinal Edwin F. O'Brien, Grand Master, Order of the Holy Sepulchre
"The Archdiocese of New York has been, and arguably still is, the most influential Catholic institution in the United States. The archbishops of New York are the reason this is so. George Marlin and Brad Miner draw vivid verbal portraits of these ten men who accomplished much for both Church and State."
— Father Gerald E. Murray, Pastor, Holy Family Church, New York and a member of EWTN's "Papal Posse"
— Richard Brookhiser, Author, Alexander Hamilton: American and Founders' Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln