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La bell'America: From La Rivoluzione to the Great Depression: An Italian Immigrant Family Remembered

Overview

"This is a delightful, passionate and memorable rendition of a familiar and glorious tale. As the son of immigrants who were very much like Anthony Graziano's family, I was especially moved. Thank you for telling our story."—Governor Mario M. Cuomo

“This kind of historical data is rare today. . . . A tapestry of history, biography, personal reminiscence, and lessons.”—Michael Giallombardo, director/producer of La Terra Promessa

“A sweeping narrative of European and American history, and a lovingly crafted ...

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La bell'America: From La Rivoluzione to the Great Depression: An Italian Immigrant Family Remembered

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Overview

"This is a delightful, passionate and memorable rendition of a familiar and glorious tale. As the son of immigrants who were very much like Anthony Graziano's family, I was especially moved. Thank you for telling our story."—Governor Mario M. Cuomo

“This kind of historical data is rare today. . . . A tapestry of history, biography, personal reminiscence, and lessons.”—Michael Giallombardo, director/producer of La Terra Promessa

“A sweeping narrative of European and American history, and a lovingly crafted reminiscence. Graziano is an excellent storyteller. There is something in this book for everyone, not least of which is a very good read.”—Joan M. Crouse, author of The Homeless Transient in the Great Depression

“Writing in the tradition of C. Wright Mills, who defined [sociology] as the intersection between history and biography . . . this book clarifies the tremendous emigration from Italy. A very enjoyable read, suitable for general readers and students of history and sociology.”—Adeline Levine, author of Love Canal: Science, Politics, and People

A picture of Europe’s nineteenth century and the massive Italian immigration to America: wars and conflicts, popes and kings fighting the people’s demands for democratic government. When religion and royalty failed them, leaders created dictatorships and threw the world into bloody conflicts, killing hundreds of millions and virtually destroying Europe. Caught up were the poverty stricken, powerless common people who became the immigrants, pushed from Europe, pulled to America. Their history comes alive in the author’s deeply personal account of his family’s immigration and survival through the Great Depression.

Anthony M. Graziano, SUNY Buffalo professor emeritus and Italian chef, has written fifteen books and fifty articles in the field of psychology. His brother, parents, and extended family emigrated from Italy. He says, “This book is a celebration of immigrants. It speaks to us because we are all immigrants.”

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A sweeping narrative of European and American history, and a lovingly crafted reminiscence[Told with] a reflective and often humorous tone, moving between broad historical and sociological conceptualizations and the smallest of details. Graziano is an excellent storyteller. I was fascinated by the seamless movement between first- and third-person narration. There is something in this book for everyone, not least of which is a very good read. Joan M. Crouse, The homeless transient in the Great Depression: New York State, 1929-1941.
Publishers Weekly
Five generations of Italian immigrants carry on a love affair with America in this sprawling, exuberant memoir. Graziano's narrative, padded with reams of invented dialogue, stretches back to his 19th-century ancestors in the Italian village of Maida, a semifeudal society whose rigid class hierarchy and hopeless poverty are reinforced by a church-inculcated fatalism. (The author's anticlericalism is pronounced.) But for those with gumption, America beckons: a harsh but dynamic place where opportunities abound despite anti-Italian bigotry. The story gradually refocuses on Graziano's lush reminiscences of his Depression-era boyhood in Nyack, N.Y., where his family weathered hard times thanks to clan solidarity and his father's Herculean work ethic. The author includes iconic vignettes of steerage and arrival, lengthy digressions on Italian history and sociological exegeses of the ways in which immigrants adapted Italy's peasant culture to America, along with novelistic domestic scenes—family dinners, street vendors, wash-day rituals—that are almost Proustian in their detail. The book is a bit schmaltzy and sometimes feels like an overstuffed photo album full of rose-colored stories about half-remembered cousins, but its evocations of family life make it a rich study of the immigrant adventure. Photos. (Dec.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935248019
  • Publisher: Leapfrog Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2009
  • Series: LeapSci Series
  • Pages: 530
  • Sales rank: 551,581
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Graziano, Professor Emeritus, SUNY Buffalo, has written 15 books and 50 articles on research methodology, childhood disorders, parent training, and many related topics. He is also known as an exceptional Italian chef. His brother, parents, and extended family emigrated from Italy. He says, "This is a book in celebration of immigrants. It speaks to us because we are all immigrants."

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

I Revolution and Promise

Chapter 1 The Turquoise Room (Nyack, 1935) 3

Chapter 2 Invaders and Popes (475-1700) Napoleon's Italy (1792-1815) 15

Chapter 3 The Barn and the Castle (Maida, 1815-1840) 27

Chapter 4 La rivoluzione (1840-1871) 48

Chapter 5 La rivoluzione mancata (1871-1900) 73

II Coming to America

Chapter 6 Lady Liberty (1900) 99

Chapter 7 Mario, Paolo, and Friends (1896-1902) 109

Chapter 8 Views of Maida: Teresa (1901-1909) 137

Chapter 9 The Giant at the Top of the Stairs (1909-1914) 165

Chapter 10 La Grande Guerra (1914-1919) 189

Chapter 11 Views of Maida: Teresa and Michele (1919-1927) 212

Chapter 12 The Move to America (1927-1930) 233

III The Great Depression

Chapter 13 The Depression (1932) 255

Chapter 14 The Lady from Rochester (1932-1936) 277

Chapter 15 The Sewing Machine (1936) 295

Chapter 16 The Truss (1937) 312

Chapter 17 The Visitors (1937) 324

Chapter 18 A Midsummer Knight's Dream (Nyack, 1938) 341

Chapter 19 The Stranger on Sidney's Porch (1939) 362

Chapter 20 An Angel Passes By (1939) 372

Chapter 21 'Nando's Wonderful Shoes (1939-1940) 388

Chapter 22 The Depression Eases (1940) 408

IV War

Chapter 23 The Map (1940-1941) 423

Chapter 24 "Time goes slow when you don t do nothin'!" (Nyack, 1941-1945) 449

V Promises Kept

Chapter 25 Good Years (Nyack, 1945-1950) 471

Chapter 26 At the Top of the Hill (Nyack, 2009) 489

Photo Album 501

References 513

Index 521

Author 523

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