Iowa offered freedom and prosperity to the Irish fleeing famine and poverty. They became the second-largest immigrant group to come to the state, and they acquired influence well beyond their numbers. The first hospitals, schools and asylums in the area were established by Irish nuns. Irish laborers laid the tracks and ran the trains that transported crops to market. Kate Shelley became a national heroine when she saved a passenger train from plunging off a bridge. The Sullivan family became the symbol of sacrifice when they lost their five sons in World War II. Author Timothy Walch details these stories and more on the history and influence of the Irish in the Heartland.