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Living the Revolution: Italian Women's Resistance and Radicalism in New York City, 1880-1945 / Edition 1

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Italians were the largest group of immigrants to the United States at the turn of the twentieth century, and hundreds of thousands led and participated in some of the period's most volatile labor strikes. Yet until now, Italian women's political activism and cultures of resistance have been largely invisible. In Living the Revolution, Jennifer Guglielmo brings to life the Italian working-class women who helped shape the vibrant, transnational, radical political culture that expanded into the emerging industrial union movement.

Guglielmo imaginatively documents the activism of two generations of New York and New Jersey women who worked in the needle and textile trades. She explores the complex and distinctive ways immigrant women and their American-born daughters drew on Italian traditions of protest to form new urban female networks of everyday resistance and political activism. And she shows how their commitment to revolutionary and transnational social movements diminished as they became white working-class Americans. The rise of fascism, the Red Scare, and the deprivations of the Great Depression led many to embrace nationalism and racism, ironically to try to meet the same desires for economic justice and dignity that had inspired their enthusiasm for anarchism, socialism, and communism.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Traces the evolution of radical organization from first generation immigrants, who brought local organizing and direct action tactics from Italy to the United States, to their children, who would embrace labor reformism."—New York History

"Guglielmo provides a fresh look at the connections among labor militancy, migration, gender, and race. Living in the Revolution effectively challenges the traditional narrative of early twentieth-century activism among Italian American women and t

"Living the Revolution is a major achievement . . . . Capacious, humanistic, and provocative."—Voices in Italian Americana

"Meticulously researched and with a remarkable command of the bilingual archives."—Women's Review of Books

"Meticulously researched and with a remarkable command of the bilingual archives."—Women's Review of Books

"Guglielmo offers new insight to labor and gender scholars who seek fresh information on the anarchist and socialist movement among female workers."—The History Teacher

"[This] well-written study . . . makes a significant contribution to our understanding of a key period of radical activity in the United States. . . . A pathbreaking work that will hopefully inspire others to study the many overlooked dimensions of this critical period of transnational radicalism, including women's role in it."—Journal of American Studies

"A critically important addition to the field. The author is expansively original in her understanding of the subject and the accomplished integrative analysis of primary and secondary research is of the first order. . . . This work is sure to become one of the fundamental historiographical classics of our era. Guglielmo and the University of North Carolina Press must also be commended for the inclusion of so many phenomenal photographs . . . which give the nuanced narrative even more profound strength."—Labour/Le Travail

"Living the Revolution is a brilliantly argued, exhaustively researched, and beautifully written analysis. . . . The only quarrel I have with this book is that the title does not do justice to the scope and breadth of this groundbreaking narrative that sets a new standard for gender, immigration, and labor scholarship. Living the Revolution should be required reading for anyone interested in those fields."—The Journal of American History

"This book is destined to change the way historians think about Italian American working-class women. . . . A groundbreaking, compelling, and inspiring narrative that reveals a rich history of female resistance and radicalism. . . . [An] immensely important contribution. . . . Essential reading for anyone interested in the history of feminism, radicalism, immigration, and working-class life."—Left History

"Jennifer Guglielmo offers a commanding corrective to earlier images of immigrant women as weak pawns in a larger scheme of American immigrant history with this exacting study."—Fra Noi

"An important work about the intertwining of class, ethnicity, and gender as well as race. . . . Rich in biographical details of Italian women culled from a treasure trove of oral history, memoirs, and fascinating material from archives on both sides of t

"Brilliantly researched. . . . [A] powerful narrative. . . . Beautifully edited, sourced, and indexed. An extraordinary book. . . . Essential. Recommended for all levels/libraries."—Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807833568
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 5/3/2010
  • Series: Gender and American Culture Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Gugliemo is assistant professor of history at Smith College. She is coeditor of Are Italians White?: How Race Is Made in America.
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