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The Italian Americans: A History by Maria…

The Italian Americans: A History

by Maria Laurino

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393241297, Hardcover)

This gorgeous companion book to the PBS series illuminates an important, overlooked part of American history.

In this richly researched, beautifully designed and illustrated volume, Maria Laurino strips away stereotypes and nostalgia to tell the complicated, centuries-long story of the true Italian-American experience.

Looking beyond the familiar Little Italys and stereotypes fostered by The Godfather and The Sopranos, Laurino reveals surprising, fascinating lives: Italian-Americans working on sugar-cane plantations in Louisiana to those who were lynched in New Orleans; the banker who helped rebuild San Francisco after the great earthquake; families interned as “enemy aliens” in World War II. From anarchist radicals to “Rosie the Riveter” to Nancy Pelosi, Andrew Cuomo, and Bill de Blasio; from traditional artisans to rebel songsters like Frank Sinatra, Dion, Madonna, and Lady Gaga, this book is both exploration and celebration of the rich legacy of Italian-American life.

Readers can discover the history chronologically, chapter by chapter, or serendipitously by exploring the trove of supplemental materials. These include interviews, newspaper clippings, period documents, and photographs that bring the history to life.

150 color illustrations

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:31 -0400)

Maria Laurino strips away stereotypes and nostalgia to tell the complicated, centuries-long story of the true Italian-American experience. Looking beyond the familiar caricatures fostered by popular culture, she tells the stories of Sicilian workers imported to replace the labor of freed slaves, the grim realities from which most immigrants came, the lynchings of Italian Americans, and the first uses of the word "mafia." Laurino shows how Italian Americans dominated the fishing industry in San Francisco, helped save the city after the Great Fire, and were interned or restricted as "enemy aliens" during World War II. Readers will meet the celebrated NYPD officer who battled "The Black Hand"; sex-symbol Rudolph Valentino, who attracted both adoration and scorn; and Rosina Bonavita, the real-life "Rosie the Riveter." Laurino brings to light the significance of Italian American roots to generation-defining authors and poets like Diane DiPrima, and examines how Italian Americans' focus on family and community has influenced American politics. From anarchist radicals of the early twentieth century to Nancy Pelosi and Andrew Cuomo; from traditional artisans to rebel songsters like Frank Sinatra and Lady Gaga, this book explores and celebrates the rich history and ongoing vitality of Italian American life.--From publisher description.… (more)

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