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50 Main Street: The Face of America
     

50 Main Street: The Face of America

4.5 9
by Piero Ribelli (Photographer), Douglas Brinkley (Foreword by), Mike Rowe (Afterword)
 

How have Americans changed, ten years after 9/11?

In telling the stories of people with something undeniably in common, 50 Main Street inspires readers to focus on the fundamental similarities they experience in their lives, rather than dwell on differences. Ribelli flew 31,000 miles, drove another 16,000 miles, spent a few hours on trains, and even enjoyed some

Overview

How have Americans changed, ten years after 9/11?

In telling the stories of people with something undeniably in common, 50 Main Street inspires readers to focus on the fundamental similarities they experience in their lives, rather than dwell on differences. Ribelli flew 31,000 miles, drove another 16,000 miles, spent a few hours on trains, and even enjoyed some ferryboat rides to reach all of his destinations. In a time when society seems more divided than ever, whether it be by political party lines, religious beliefs, social issues, or immigration policies, Ribelli chooses to focus on Americans with something in common their address to rediscover the people that embraced him when he first moved to the United States. The book moves seamlessly from state to state and introduces readers to Main Street, from the twin firefighters in Pennsylvania to 100-year-old Ralph in Nebraska. Recent immigration is described in the stories of a Christian Iraqi girl in Michigan and a Puerto Rican pediatrician in Massachusetts. A non-judgmental, modern-day Alexis De Tocqueville and more positive than Sinclair Lewis, Ribelli shares laughs, tears and even the occasional fried pie recipe.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For his ambitious and uplifting book of photos, Ribelli (Jah Pickney: Children of Jamaica), an Italian émigré, embarked on a six-year mission “to fight discord,” argues historian Douglas Brinkley in his foreword. Visiting 50 towns in 50 states, and one address—50 Main Street—he tells the stories of 50 Americans and their families. In California, George Sylva escapes a violent childhood in East L.A., joins the Navy as a combat cameraman, then builds a career in Hollywood before opening a boxing gym, where he helps teens troubled by gang violence. In Westfield, Mass., a doctor, Angel Morales, one of nine children sent to orphanages after his mother’s illness, becomes the first person in his family to go to college. Pearl Harbor has no such address (it was destroyed in the 1941 attack), so Ribelli meets Robin Tupa at her office at 174 Main St.—the lowest of the remaining addresses. Ribelli’s subjects are posed at home, work, and play, and he includes many supplementary photos to capture the essence of a place, usually with success, such as his shot of a nearly empty Jersey Shore. Some photos approach postcard cliché, though, such as a misty shot of the Oregon coastline. Ribelli’s experiences and perceptions are interwoven with his written profiles, and while at times distracting, they reveal an enthusiastic storyteller. Agent: Marcella Smith, Marcella Smith Associates. (July)
From the Publisher
“This is a wonderful documentary portrait, a personal cross section of the country in a post-industrial, complicated moment in time.”
—Ken Burns, documentary filmmaker (The Civil War, Baseball, Prohibition)

“You want authentic? Look at the guy on the cover. He’s the real deal, just like everyone else in 50 Main Street. This book matters. Not because it’ll make you smile, and not because it’s filled with pretty pictures. It matters because it’s authentic. 50 Main Street is a genuine tribute to strangers you’ve always known, and old friends you’ve never met. It’s a journey back home, no matter where you come from, or what your address might be.”
—Mike Rowe, Dirty Jobs

“As a lover of people, places and pictures, I get a wonderful, warm feeling looking at this book and it was fun seeing my name mentioned in it.”
—Dolly Parton

“This book shows that the success of one man’s dream is a reason for us all to dream.”
—John Mellencamp

“This work is not a style manifesto, it is not radical in brand new photographic strategies . . . it does not have to be…as it follow she path of deep experience within all of human history . . . the experience of deep optimism and kindness. Each picture rests in the belly of the soul of generosity . . . in doing so they give one a view of America which has been diminished and needs to be revisited . . . Piero is a visualist of profound moral worth. His pictures allow one to hope and smile . . .”
—Larry Fink, photographer

50 Main Street is an epic achievement. It gives me a real sense of who we are in this country, as individuals and as a whole. Whether we are from the East, the West or the heart of America we are all different yet similar. I really appreciate the sense of commonality and community expressed in this book.”
—Wayne Wang, film director (The Joy Luck Club, Smoke, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan)

50 Main Street is a big, wide-open window into the heart and soul of America. Insightful, gorgeous, and deeply moving.”
—Larry Samuel, author of The American Dream: A Cultural History

For his ambitious and uplifting book of photos, Ribelli (Jah Pickney: Children of Jamaica), an Italian émigré, embarked on a six-year mission “to fight discord,” argues historian Douglas Brinkley in his foreword. Visiting 50 towns in 50 states, and one address—50 Main Street—he tells the stories of 50 Americans and their families. In California, George Sylva escapes a violent childhood in East L.A., joins the Navy as a combat cameraman, then builds a career in Hollywood before opening a boxing gym, where he helps teens troubled by gang violence. In Westfield, Mass., a doctor, Angel Morales, one of nine children sent to orphanages after his mother’s illness, becomes the first person in his family to go to college. Pearl Harbor has no such address (it was destroyed in the 1941 attack), so Ribelli meets Robin Tupa at her office at 174 Main St.—the lowest of the remaining addresses. Ribelli’s subjects are posed at home, work, and play, and he includes many supplementary photos to capture the essence of a place, usually with success, such as his shot of a nearly empty Jersey Shore. Some photos approach postcard cliché, though, such as a misty shot of the Oregon coastline. Ribelli’s experiences and perceptions are interwoven with his written profiles, and while at times distracting, they reveal an enthusiastic storyteller.
Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781937359157
Publisher:
Cameron + Company
Publication date:
07/04/2012
Pages:
319
Sales rank:
1,088,693
Product dimensions:
9.80(w) x 13.20(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
This is a wonderful documentary portrait, a personal cross section of the country in a post-industrial, complicated moment in time.”
—Ken Burns, documentary filmmaker (The Civil War, Baseball, Prohibition)

“You want authentic? Look at the guy on the cover. He’s the real deal, just like everyone else in 50 Main Street. This book matters. Not because it’ll make you smile, and not because it’s filled with pretty pictures. It matters because it’s authentic. 50 Main Street is a genuine tribute to strangers you’ve always known, and old friends you’ve never met. It’s a journey back home, no matter where you come from, or what your address might be.”
—Mike Rowe, Dirty Jobs

“As a lover of people, places and pictures, I get a wonderful, warm feeling looking at this book and it was fun seeing my name mentioned in it.”
—Dolly Parton

“This book shows that the success of one man’s dream is a reason for us all to dream.”
—John Mellencamp

“This work is not a style manifesto, it is not radical in brand new photographic strategies . . . it does not have to be…as it follow she path of deep experience within all of human history . . . the experience of deep optimism and kindness. Each picture rests in the belly of the soul of generosity . . . in doing so they give one a view of America which has been diminished and needs to be revisited . . . Piero is a visualist of profound moral worth. His pictures allow one to hope and smile . . .”
—Larry Fink, photographer

50 Main Street is an epic achievement. It gives me a real sense of who we are in this country, as individuals and as a whole. Whether we are from the East, the West or the heart of America we are all different yet similar. I really appreciate the sense of commonality and community expressed in this book.”
—Wayne Wang, film director (The Joy Luck Club, Smoke, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan)

50 Main Street is a big, wide-open window into the heart and soul of America. Insightful, gorgeous, and deeply moving.”
—Larry Samuel, author of The American Dream: A Cultural History

For his ambitious and uplifting book of photos, Ribelli (Jah Pickney: Children of Jamaica), an Italian émigré, embarked on a six-year mission “to fight discord,” argues historian Douglas Brinkley in his foreword. Visiting 50 towns in 50 states, and one address—50 Main Street—he tells the stories of 50 Americans and their families. In California, George Sylva escapes a violent childhood in East L.A., joins the Navy as a combat cameraman, then builds a career in Hollywood before opening a boxing gym, where he helps teens troubled by gang violence. In Westfield, Mass., a doctor, Angel Morales, one of nine children sent to orphanages after his mother’s illness, becomes the first person in his family to go to college. Pearl Harbor has no such address (it was destroyed in the 1941 attack), so Ribelli meets Robin Tupa at her office at 174 Main St.—the lowest of the remaining addresses. Ribelli’s subjects are posed at home, work, and play, and he includes many supplementary photos to capture the essence of a place, usually with success, such as his shot of a nearly empty Jersey Shore. Some photos approach postcard cliché, though, such as a misty shot of the Oregon coastline. Ribelli’s experiences and perceptions are interwoven with his written profiles, and while at times distracting, they reveal an enthusiastic storyteller.
Publishers Weekly

Meet the Author

At age 27, Piero Ribelli left Italy, moved to the United States, taught himself English, and started a new life as a professional photographer. Ranging from travel, portraiture and photojournalism, his photographs have appeared in magazines around the world He lives in New York City. Douglas Brinkley lives in Austin, TX. Mike Rowe lives in San Francisco.

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50 Main Street The Face of America 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book of photography and narrative is varied in its subjects and landscapes, but singular in its message: more unites us than divides us. With beautiful imagery telling the story of the real America, Piero Ribelli captures the heart of our nation beautifully. I purchased this book after I saw it featured on the TODAY show, and was so impressed I've decided to gift it to many a friend and family members for the holidays!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book! Beautiful photographs and insightful stories. I absolutely loved it! What a great representation of America.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The photography is amazing! I feel like I went to all 50 states with him. One of the most beautiful book I've ever seen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Piero Ribelli has captured the heart and the soul of Ameica with this beautiful book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
a beautiful book from beginning to end
Peter_Ferko More than 1 year ago
Piero Ribelli, an Italian-born American citizen has done what elected officials, pundits, and armchair politicians have not: he has found the heart of America, through Americans. By a clever and poignant method -- finding a resident at 50 Main Street in each of the fifty states -- he has visited a cross section of the nation and shown its differences and its similarities. In the act of boldly introducing himself to each subject of the 50 portraits, he has taken to the stump not for gain, votes, etc., but to learn more about this country he adopted as his home a quarter century ago, and to give something: a voice to Main Street devoid of rhetoric and position. The narrative alone would be a worthwhile read, but in the way of the best art, the photography -- portraits and landscapes -- tell a deeper story of the magnificence of this diverse collection of people called Americans, touches us, and gives us a sense of being truly patriotic.
PianoForte More than 1 year ago
Piere Ribelli is a masterful photographer who has been brave enough to travel this amazing country and capture its essence in words and images. A great work of art that will live on for ages to come.
Brandi1 More than 1 year ago
Thats my Grandfather on the cover!!!! I can't believe that in one of the editorials Mike Rowe and Dolly Parton commented on it! My grandfather is truly authentic! Brandi from NY
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Now, isn't this silly? B & N is asking for a review of a book which I ordered & don't have as the publication date is 7/28/2012!