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The Italian Americans: A History

Overview

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 ...
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The Italian Americans: A History

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This item will be available on December 1, 2014.
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Overview

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.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/27/2014
Published as a companion to the PBS TV series of the same name, this work tracks the history of Italian-Americans, from the mid-19th century to the present day. While there is some general history in the book focusing on topics like immigration, assimilation, infamy, stardom, stereotypes, and naturalization, Laurino (Were You Always Italian?) uses in-depth research to focus on individual stories to tell the Italian-American story. Some spotlighted stories are well known, like those about anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti, New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia, and Frank Sinatra. But the more obscure tales have more impact, like those about Angela Bambace, one of the first union leaders, and A.P. Giannini, a banker who tried to help improve the lives of immigrants. Laurino wonderfully captures the history of Italians in America. (Dec.)
John Turturro
“A first-rate, cliché-killing, and insightful exploration of the Italian-American journey. I couldn’t put it down. Essential.”
Adriana Trigiani
“Rich and satisfying, loaded with fascinating interviews, glorious photographs and fresh insights, this compilation is a keeper. With her trademark literary elegance and journalistic integrity, Maria Laurino pulls disparate threads together creating one lush tapestry that shows us who we are.”
Russell Shorto
“The Italian Americans is clear, fresh and vivid. It answers a thousand questions about where we came from, how and why our ancestors got here, and why we think and act as we do.”
Gay Talese
“The Italian Americans is a revelation—a rich and truthful history, full of little-known information, insight, and narrative color, giving full dimension to people far too often reduced to stereotype.”
Henry Louis Gates Jr.
“A sweeping portrait of a people whose contributions to America are indistinguishable from the country itself—and its myths. It also is an intimate family album containing images and stories as distinct as they are familiar: of pride and painful stereotyping, sacrifices and ascent, cultural and communal values that simultaneously have powered the American Dream while subverting the individualism at its core. Impeccably researched, and deeply moving, Maria Laurino's book, like the PBS series, is essential for anyone interested in the history of immigration in the United States.”
Library Journal
07/01/2014
Companion book to a PBS series, this title aims to go beyond the stereotypes to show the breadth of the Italian American experience, ranging from sugarcane workers in Louisiana to a San Francisco banker who helped rebuild the city after the 1906 earthquake to leading singers and politicians today.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393241297
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/1/2014
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 775,067
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Maria Laurino
Maria Laurino is the author of Were You Always an Italian?, a national bestseller, and Old World Daughter, New World Mother. She lives in New York City with her husband and son.
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