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: W.W. Norton & CompanyTotal Pages
The Italian Americans: A History
Best-selling author Maria Laurino recounts the rich and diverge saga of the Italian American experience. Looking beyond the familiar Little Italys and caricatures fostered by popular culture, she tells the stories of Sicilian workers imported to replace the labor of freed slaves on sugar-cane plantations in Louisiana, the grim realities of the 'mezzogiorno' from which most immigrants came, the lynchings of Italian Americans in New Orleans, and the first uses of the word 'mafia'.
Traveling across the United States, Laurino shows how Italian Americans dominated the fishing industry in San Francisco, helped save the city after the Great Fire, established microlending through the Bank of Italy (later, the Bank of America), and were interned or restricted from entering their homes or businesses as 'enemy aliens' during World War ii
Readers will meet Giuseppe Petrosino, perhaps the most celebrated officer in the history of the NYPD, who battled 'The Black Hand', sex-symbol Rudolph Valentino, who attracted both adoration and scorn; and Rosina Bonavita, the real-life 'Rosie the Riveter.' Laurino brings to light he significance of Italian American roots to generation-defining authors and poets like John Fante, Gregory Corso, and Diane DiPrima, and examines how Italian Americans' focus on family and community has influenced American politics past and present.
From anarchist radicals of the early twentieth century to Nancy Pelosi, Andrew Cuomo, and Bill de Blasio; from traditional; artisans to rebel songsters like Frank Sinatra, Madonna, and Lady Gaga, this book both explores and celebrates the rich history and ongoing vitality of Italian American life.