This richly researched, beautifully illustrated volume illuminates an important, overlooked part of American history.
From extensive archival materials and interviews with well-known Italian Americans, 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.