La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian-American Experience

La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian-American Experience

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by Jerre Mangione, Ben Morreale, Ben Morreale
     
 

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From the early Italian adventurers who played an important role in the European expansion across the Atlantic to the political and business leaders of the 1990s, this book tells a dramatic story. The heart of the story is the mass migration that took place between 1880 and 1924, when a whole culture left its ancient roots to settle in the cities and towns of

Overview

From the early Italian adventurers who played an important role in the European expansion across the Atlantic to the political and business leaders of the 1990s, this book tells a dramatic story. The heart of the story is the mass migration that took place between 1880 and 1924, when a whole culture left its ancient roots to settle in the cities and towns of America.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The core of this gripping, panoramic chronicle is the mass emigration of Italians to the U.S. between 1880 and 1924. Their road to assimilation was marked by hard work, family solidarity, tradition-laden weddings and joyous festivals, but also by poverty, miserable housing, dangerous working conditions and marriages that ``often seethed with tensions'' despite a public image of unity and warmth. Mangione ( Mussolini's March on Rome ) and Morreale ( A Few Virtuous Men ) trace discrimination against Italian Americans, arguing that politicians and the media fanned prejudice after WW II by resurrecting the Mafia image of the 1890s. They discuss Italian Americans' awareness or denial of their heritage, providing cameos of Sacco and Vanzetti, Fiorello LaGuardia, Frank Sinatra, Don DeLillo, John Ciardi, Francis Coppola and dozens more. Early chapters discuss Italian adventurers (such as Columbus) and Italians who fought in the American Revolution and the Civil War; a later one touches on intermarriage and divorce, which have contributed to the decline of immigrant culture. A magnificent saga that illuminates a century of accomplishment and struggle. Photos. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Since Columbus's discovery of the New World, Italians have played a vital part in shaping the Americas. La Storia (``the story'') tells of these ethnic struggles and triumphs from 1492 to the present. This is not the personal voyage recently taken by Gay Talese in Unto the Sons ( LJ 2/1/92), although La Storia is more potent and valuable because of its inclusive breadth and scope. Mangione ( Mount Allegro , Columbia Univ. Pr., 1981) and Morreale ( A Few Virtuous Men , Tundra Bks., 1973. o.p.) report on a vast array of historically important topics: from the environment that spawned the mass migration overseas to the challenge of survival in a mostly hostile new homeland to the decline of religion and the tightknit traditions currently affecting the second and third generations. Past and present names (Amerigo Vespucci, Don DeLillo) and events (colonization, labor movements) are expounded upon so that the text has solid reference value. An important complement to history or Italian collections.-- David Nudo, ``Library Journal''
School Library Journal
YA-- The richness and variety of the Italian immigrant experience in America are captured here. Portraying the journey from the harshness and poverty of rural Italy and Sicily to the teeming ghettos of New York, Boston, and other American cities, the authors tell of the five-and-a-half million Italians who made the voyage. Utilizing newspaper articles, diaries, and novels to record first-hand recollections, their stories provide a microcosm of the immigrant experience, in general, and a record of the many contributions of Italian-Americans to the cultural mosaic of the United States. A rich source of materials for understanding the multicultural experience.-- Richard Lisker, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Booknews
Fleeing poverty in the Old Country, more than five million Italians immigrated to America between 1880 and 1924--to find hardship, prejudice, and eventually, assimilation. This expansive account of the their history (enlivened by personal narratives of immigrants and their descendants) reaches from colonial times to the present, but the period of mass migration forms the heart of the story. Twenty-four pages of b&w photos. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060924416
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/28/1993
Series:
Harper Perennial
Pages:
560
Sales rank:
328,850
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.26(d)

What People are saying about this

Joseph V. Scelsa
"A saga of a people, their struggles, and the triumphs in a new world, told with drama and passion....Should be read by all Americans interested in what binds us together, despite our different backgrounds and histories."

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La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian-American Experience 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a 2nd Generation Italian-America, I found this book disappointing. It focused mostly on pro-union issues and way over did it on covering literature accomplishments. Even with that they were all over the place. the writing quality is of a new college student trying to write a history report before they had their first English Composition class. The book covered little of Italian-American accomplishments during the two world wars and when they talked about sports they had no idea what they were talking about - (i.e. Joe Montana played for the San Francisco Giants). I am surprised they did not say he played with Barry Bonds. They could not even get the politicians correct as they referred to Mario Coumo as a conservative politician. The political view of this book is heavily slanted to the left as the author appeared disappointed that the most prominent politicians of today are more conservative. There is also no doubt the author does not like the Catholic Church as they took numerous jabs at the church and the clergy. The only good I got out of this book was a little Italian history and migration time frame. There has to be better reference to the Italian experience than this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Learned so much about the history and experience of Italian Americans from this wonderful book. Helped to fill in the gaps in so many of the stories I've heard from family and friends. Very well researched and written, highly informative, yet able to hold the interest of the average reader. Found the overview of Italian history fascinating. It helps to shed light on why so many things are the way they are. And it is so good to read about Italian Americans as a people, as immigrants, and as something other than media-hyped gangsters and thugs. While this is nonfiction, it tells a great story in a very readable way. Highly recommended for all, but especially for Italian Americans, whose experiences have been sadly neglected, glossed over, and even ridiculed in the media and the history books.