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Past Book Club Selections

2016

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2015

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2014

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2013

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2012

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2011

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2009

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2003

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Fall 2016 Selections


SACRIFICE ON THE STEPPE: The Italian Alpine Corps in the Stalingrad Campaign (1942-1943)

By Hope Hamilton

“Damn the war and damn him who makes us fight.” Though these were the words of just one Italian soldier, it was the sentiment shared by all who served on the Russian front in World War II. When the Italian soldiers entered Russia, they did so ill-equipped, undersupplied, and perhaps worst of all, without an understanding as to why they were there. They didn’t want to fight the Russians and were shocked at the mercilessness with which the Germans treated civilians. In fact, many Italian soldiers felt empathy for Russian civilians, often times developing close relationships with them.

In Sacrifice on the Steppe, you will see how Hitler’s war machine and Mussolini’s deference to it led Italian soldiers into a war that was not theirs against a country they didn’t desire to fight. Many did not come home, either dying in battle or freezing to death in the harsh Russian climate, the temperatures so low (-40º) that not even amputation was felt. Half of Italian soldier deaths on the Russian front came from the elements, and this narrative will bring the true horridness of those deaths to light.

The soldiers who were taken prisoner had it just as dreadful, entering into appalling conditions. The most notorious of prison camps was Khrinovoje, a place where “one doesn’t live like men, one dies like animals.” The prisoner experience eerily foreshadows the Cold War, many of them coming into direct contact with just how rigid Communist Russia’s ideology was.

Sacrifice on the Steppe and its many remarkable anecdotes will not simply bring you in touch with your most empathetic side, it will make you thankful for every opportunity you have in life after traveling alongside a group of soldiers who had none.

ROSALIA’S BITTERSWEET PASTRY SHOP

By Rosanna Chiofalo

Enter the world of sweets with Claudia Lombardo, a writer who travels to Sicily to find out about the mysterious cake that chefs from all across the world come to sample. This renowned layered cake—La Cassata—is not made in your typical bakery; it’s made in a convent. While many claim that this pastry uses a secret ingredient, the head nun named Sorrella Agata refutes this and invites Claudia to make the pastry alongside the nuns.

In order to understand this pastry, however, Sorrella Agata retells the story of the one who created it. A young woman named Rosalia, who experiences the most unspeakable of crimes against her, was abandoned in a cave and found by nuns. She finds refuge in the convent, helping with chores and eventually assuming baking duties while gradually confronting her past—a process which may account for the secret ingredient.

With each chapter named for an Italian pastry that then appears in the chapter, Rosalia’s Bittersweet Pastry Shop will take you into the wonderful world of Italian desserts. Flashbacks set in the 1950s will acquaint you with Italy’s old customs, particularly highlighting gender differences that existed and how marriage was approached.

The novel’s sentimental writing helps coat the harsh realities of the world that Rosalia faces. As the story progresses, you will experience parts her healing but in a way that poses the question: does any convalescence come at its own price? Ultimately, you may find yourself wishing that it didn’t and regretting some of the decisions that Rosalia makes—yet wondering if she is bound to them.

Summer 2016 Selections


ONLY IN NAPLES: Lessons in Food and Famiglia from my Italian Mother-in-Law
By Katherine Wilson

Katherine Wilson’s memoir, Only in Naples, immerses you in the great city of Naples, a city that ends up changing her life. Calabrian on her mother’s side and fluent in the language, Wilson spends three post-college months interning with the U.S. Consulate in Naples. What was supposed to be a summer turns into a lifetime as Wilson meets Salvatore, a young Neopolitan who steals her heart. He, of course, still lives with his family.

Wilson takes you into Salvatore’s home as she learns the customs of family life along with customs unique to Naples. She becomes close with Salvatore’s mother, who teaches her lessons in cooking (who measures ingredients in Italy?). As she and Salvatore’s relationship deepens, Wilson learns important lessons in how Italians approach marriage, transition into independent living, and raise children.

She’ll take you from the home and out into the streets of Naples where you’ll learn how to form a line for coffee, that there’s a serious hierarchy when it comes to nuts, and that Naples has an “unofficial” patron saint (hint: he’s a soccer player from another continent). You’ll also experience holidays like the day after Easter (which rivals Christmas) and San Gennaro Day, a celebration of Naples’ true patron saint, who represents the city’s working class.

Wilson’s wit offers many laughs, but there are instances when she is honest about her upbringing in a wealthy suburban neighborhood and the insecurities that she developed because of that. Insecurities that Naples and her future husband managed to toss out the window.

BRANDED: How Italian Immigrants Became ‘Enemies’ During World War II
By Lawrence W. Di Stasi

An historical overview, Branded gives a detailed account of the measures that the United States government took against Italian-born residents during World War II. The book follows a chronology that begins with the years before World War II with the rise of Mussolini, who was originally beloved by America and lauded by President Franklin Roosevelt.

After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and war was declared on the Axis Powers, labeling ensued, branding some 600,000 Italian-born immigrants as “enemy aliens”—many of them non-citizens because they were unable to speak English and therefore couldn’t obtain citizenship. With that followed seizures of property, detentions, internments, evacuations, curfews, and fishing restrictions. Author Lawrence Di Stasi particularly focuses on the west coast, the miles of California coastline where “enemy aliens” were forbidden to set foot, uprooting many from their homes and destroying their livelihoods.

Branded is filled with personal accounts and reflections of those who endured this traumatic time. These heart-wrenching accounts will show the irreparable physical and psychological damage done to those affected, many of whom had sons fighting overseas in the U.S. military. One astonishing account focuses on an Italian man who was inducted into the U.S. Army while he was interned.

As you follow the sequence of events and read the personal recollections, it will make you consider whether or not such historical events are destined to be repeated, only to be viewed with disapproval decades after they occur. It will also make you consider how tenuous our rights really are.

Spring 2016 Selections


NEVER TRUST A THIN COOK
By Eric Dregni

A window into modern-day Italy, Never Trust A Thin Cook takes you into the customs and quirks that make Italy and its people so unique. Travel through daily life with Author Eric Dregni as he teaches English for two years in Modena, a northern city in the Emilia-Romagna region, close to Bologna.

In this book of personal essays, Dregni takes you through everyday experiences like buying food in the outdoor markets, dealing with the notorious (and often times comical) bureaucracy, and expressing one’s campanilismo, or town pride.

By taking this trip into Italy, you’ll learn about the interesting dichotomy between what is taken seriously and what is not—from sports and coffee culture to bicycle protocol (if your bicycle gets stolen, just steal another bicycle!). You’ll learn the value of parmesan cheese, prosciutto, and salami—and especially balsamic vinegar (which was created in Modena). You’ll learn just how seriously Italians take their food (hint: they consider food from one town away to be imported).

Perhaps the most liberating aspect of this book lies in Dregni’s voice, which carries a consistently friendly and oft-times humorous tone toward life in Italy. Never does it disparage customs that depart from those in America. Rather, he embraces those differences, casting a charming light on them that you will find endearing.

Never Trust A Thin Cook is a must-read book for anyone who wants to experience what it is like to live in Italy and become acquainted with its day-to-day culture. Each of the book’s brief, energetic chapters will make you feel as if you’re taking a moment out of the day to have a shot of espresso with a dear friend.

EMBROIDERED STORIES: Interpreting Women’s Domestic Needlework from the Italian Diaspora
Edited by Edvige Giunta and Joseph Sciorra

In past generations, needlework was not simply a hobby to be enjoyed in one’s free time—it was an identity. To many 19th and 20th century Italian women, especially those of southern Italy, it represented social standing and symbolized womanhood. It also provided a means of income, especially for those who immigrated to New York City, where the top three jobs for women were tailoress, dressmaker, and seamstress.

Embroidered Stories is a collection of poetry, memoirs, and scholarly essays that gives a thorough perspective of the central role needlework played in the lives of immigrant Italian women. It speaks to how the skill and artistry of needlework was passed down from mother to daughter, grandmother to granddaughter. You’ll see the many purposes of sewing, whether it was to assemble a dowry or knit an afghan or even create a handmade wardrobe for a Barbie doll.

A very interesting aspect of needlework—in addition to the memories it preserves—is how many of the stories speak of struggle. Needlework was often used in order to supplement otherwise insufficient family incomes. Some did so through piecework at home while others entered factories to become veritable sweatshop workers.

In this collection, the poetry is fearless and accessible to readers (see those written by Maria Mazziotti Gillan and Paola Corso), the memoirs touching (see “White on Black”by Louise DeSalvo), and the essays informative (see “How la Sartina Became a Labor Migrant” by Jennifer Guglielmo).

There is undoubtedly something for every reader, regardless of one’s prior knowledge of needlework. The writing in Embroidered Stories proves the very thing that needlework itself proves: in a world of machine-made products, nothing is still more treasured than what is crafted by hand.

Winter 2016 Selections


THREE WITNESSES / TRE TESTIMONI
Translations by George L. Custodi

Three Witnesses is a collection of World War II accounts (one memoir and two diaries) by three Italian men: a painter, a prisoner, and a peasant.

The first account is a memoir by Livio Orazio Valentini, a radioman for the Italian Army who later became a well-known artist. What makes Valentini’s memoir most unique is the way he manages to find humor in awful situations, no doubt a product of his artistic mind (and reminiscent of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22).

The second account is a diary by Angelo Custodi, a Lieutenant in the Italian Army (and the translator’s father) who was taken prisoner by the Germans and spent two years in a concentration camp. Starting his diary on Italy’s “Armistice Day” (September 8, 1943), Custodi carries a serious tone as he takes us through daily life at the camp. The most dramatic part of his story, however, comes after his release and what he discovers about his wife.

The third account is a diary by Attilo Cerchecci, a peasant from Orvieto, Italy. He takes us through Italy’s destruction at the hands of the Germans, particularly as the German soldiers grow desperate with the advance of the Allies.

What makes this book truly special is that, because the accounts were originally penned in Italian, there are line-by-line translations from Italian to English. Not only does this offer you an opportunity to read Italian, but it also allows you to see how it aligns with the English language. This is particularly helpful for understanding Italian words that aren’t familiar to you.

Three Witnesses is an engaging way to expand your knowledge of the Italian language while seeing a harsh history unfold through the eyes of those who lived it.

SEASON OF SALT AND HONEY
By Hannah Tunnicliffe

Francesa (Frankie) Caputo has lost her fiancé in a tragic accident—and now she feels stranded and alone. She runs off to a cabin in the woods of Washington State, but that doesn’t stop both sides of her Italian-American family from tracking her down.

Frankie’s half-Calabrese, half-Sicilian family push love (and food) upon her, taking on her pain as their own. Her estranged sister, Isabella (Bella), shows up even though Frankie doesn’t want her there. However, Frankie will come to learn that family never goes away. This realization plays a vital role in providing her strength when she comes to discover something that just might be worse than the day she found out her fiancé died.

A sentimental story about love and loss, Season of Salt and Honey illustrates the unique closeness that comes with being part of an Italian-American family and also shows that Italians remain a people who are not always accepted by others. Author Hannah Tunnicliffe laces her story with Italian words and phrases. She also includes many Italian recipes for the meals, desserts, and drinks that Frankie’s family heaps upon her.  

Tunnicliffe’s simple, refreshing use of language makes her novel a book that you will look forward to picking up as if it’s a glass of chilled limoncello on a warm summer day.

Sample Passage:

He didn’t get it. And I couldn’t explain that without him I was a fraction, not a whole. No longer good enough by myself. My family wanted to see him and hug him and know all about him. They wanted to ask about his work and slap his shoulders and make him eat more than he was comfortable eating. He was one of us now. They wanted to be in his life like they were in mine—pushing in, interfering, loving, scolding, soothing.

Fall 2015 Selections


100 DAYS OF HAPPINESS
By Fausto Brizzi

After becoming a bestseller in Italy and being sold in more than twenty countries, Italian Film Director Fausto Brizzi’s first novel has finally arrived in the United States. Set in Rome, the story features a flawed but likable narrator named Lucio Battastini, who is diagnosed with terminal cancer and has 100 days left to live. The reader listens as Lucio narrates his way through 100 days, reconciling his fate, trying to gain forgiveness from his very lovable wife (to whom he was unfaithful), spending meaningful moments with his two young children, and realizing the preciousness of life.

Through this story, a narrative packed with humorous commentary, you will experience the range of emotions that life itself encompasses. Laughter. Anger. Nostalgia. And for its final act, the story will bring you to tears, your fingers closing the book with a heavy heart that is grateful for the life it still has to live.

THE GRUNT PADRE
By Father Daniel L. More

In this account of Father Vincent Capodanno’s life, Author Father Daniel L. More illuminates the indescribable. Sure, there are the facts. Capodanno was born on Staten Island, New York in 1929. He was the youngest of nine children in an Italian-American family that came from Gaeta, Italy. He was ordained a Roman Catholic Priest at age 29.

But what sits behind these facts is an unparalleled perspective, an ability to view life with the utmost compassion and self-sacrifice. An ability to be Christ-like. Capodanno was the first chaplain in Vietnam to walk the front lines alongside the troops. He went not to fight, but to empathize with them, to be there for their day-to-day problems … and their final moments.

It was this courage that led him to the ultimate sacrifice. Brought to life in the book’s seventh chapter—aptly titled “Semper Fidelis” (always faithful)—the moments of Capodanno’s death are a gripping experience where you will come to understand why one Marine said, “Of all the deaths I saw … the greatest was his.” On January 7, 1969, Capodanno became one of just three chaplains from the Vietnam War who were awarded the Medal of Honor.

Summer 2015 Selections


AN UNLIKELY UNION: The Love-Hate Story of New York’s Irish and Italians
By Paul Moses

Author Paul Moses revisits the days when Italian immigrants first arrived in the United States and settled in New York City amidst the Irish who came before them. The eventual union both ethnicities formed did not, however, come easily. Tension arose along religious lines, their shared Catholicism initially driving them apart. Italians and Irish also clashed over jobs—the Italians moving into construction jobs that were held predominantly by the Irish. Frequent battles occurred with the Irish-controlled police force and at the Tammany Hall-influenced polls.

You will see, however, that through the struggles of the common man as well as through that of celebrated individuals like Mother Cabrini (the first U.S. citizen to be canonized), NYPD hero Joseph Petrosino, and NYC Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, Italians and Irish started to integrate. What once separated them evolved into shared interests that brought them together, and eventually the two groups began to intermarry.

The most interesting facet of this book is how the author highlights the initial treatment of Italian immigrants by American society. Italian immigrants faced ethnic slandering and regularly clashed with the police who perceived them to be innately criminal. They were also condemned for not learning English and being only temporary inhabitants, some of them returning to Italy after years of hard work. Amidst this prejudice, you will see how the manner in which Italian immigrants were treated reflects the manner in which subsequent immigrant groups have been treated as well.

BEBOP, SWING, AND BELLA MUSICA: Jazz and the Italian American Experience
By Bill Dal Cerro and David Anthony Witter

This comprehensive collection profiles the “steady flow” of Italian Americans who contributed to the evolution of Jazz. Big names like Louis Prima, Eddie Lang, Louie Bellson, Frank Sinatra, and Tony Bennett are paired with lesser known, but highly influential artists like Nick LaRocca, Sam Butera, Leon Roppolo, and Joe Venuti.

More so than simply recounting past jazz artists, this book will take you on the journey of jazz, a journey that was more than just music—it was a reflection of culture and society. You’ll learn how Italian Americans used music to upend stereotypes of being “unsophisticated,” how they viewed music as a way out for their children, and how they influenced music in New Orleans.

Perhaps the most interesting and rewarding aspect of this collection is the insight it gives on how, due to their similar circumstances, Italian Americans and African Americans bonded. You’ll hear stories of Italian mothers cooking for Louie Armstrong and Italian-American musicians sharing the stage with Duke Ellington, and learn about the incident Tony Bennett saw an African-American friend experience that “profoundly shaped his life.”

As you travel through the notes of this book, you will gain appreciation for the role music played in leading Italian Americans to break segregation while laws were still in place. You will also find yourself listening to a jazz record or two.

Spring 2015 Selections


A GREAT CONSPIRACY AGAINST OUR RACE
By Peter G. Vellon

Many people, including many Italian Americans, know little about the racial struggles of early Italian immigrants. Americans initially classified them as “undesirable and swarthy” – the “missing link” between the white and black races.  But Italian immigrants eventually expanded the country’s definition of “whiteness” from Anglo-Saxon/Nordic “blondness” to Mediterranean olive complexions and dark eyes as well. Using primary sources, historian Vellon also shows how Italian immigrant newspapers helped develop the immigrants’ identity as Italian Americans. A “must-have” for every family library.

YESTERDAY, TODAY, TOMORROW
By Sophia Loren

The Academy-Award winning actress traces her life from growing up in WWII Italy to starring in films alongside Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Cary Grant, John Wayne, and Paul Newman. Loren reflects on her childhood in war-torn Naples and how she rose from poverty. She takes the reader through her Italian film roles and into Hollywood where she describes her lifelong relationship with husband, the famed Italian producer Carlo Ponti. In this, Loren’s first-ever memoir, the reader meets the woman behind the celebrity through anecdotes and memories never before shared.

CALABRIA: THE OTHER ITALY
By Karen Haid

Calabria, which forms Italy’s “toe,” is rich in culture and history. One of its native tribes, the Itali, gave Italy her name, and thanks to countless invasions over the centuries, Calabria today has Greek ruins and Roman roads as well as Norman castles. Its white beaches and majestic mountains also give the region great natural beauty. But Calabria is one of the poorest Italian regions, beset by the ‘Indrangheta, the local mafia, and high unemployment. Still, author Haid, who taught English there, finds much to admire in the region and its resilient people

PEPPINO, GOOD AS BREAD
By Ann Rubino

Based on true stories about children who lived through the Nazi occupation of Southern Italy, this story is told through the eyes of Peppino, a nine-year-old boy who learns what it takes to survive. Author Rubino incorporates Italian words and phrases giving the story and its characters greater authenticity. A wonderful work of fiction for both children and adults.

HUNTING TRUFFLES
By Dick Rosano

Race through the hills of Piedmont where this mystery novel is set as Paolo and his restaurant crew pursue a gang of thieves. Thanks to author Rosano, a noted wine expert, readers will finish this action-driven story with a better understanding of Italian cuisine, the art of wine pairing, and why truffles can be as valuable as gold.

Winter 2015 Selections


TO AMERICA AND AROUND THE WORLD
By Adolph Caso

What was Columbus’ first voyage like, crossing the Atlantic Ocean in tiny wooden ships? Find out from the man himself in this collection of essays, which includes excerpts from his own daily logs. Here he describes the dangerous expedition and finds the natives he meets “a better race there cannot be.” The essays also refute with hard facts those historians who have attacked his character and accomplishments. One essay gives the background on how and why the United States was named for Amerigo Vespucci instead of Columbus. It also includes excerpts from Ferdinand Magellan’s logs on the first expedition to circumnavigate the earth 15 years after Columbus’ death in 1504.

THE ITALIAN AMERICANS
By Maria Laurino

This is not your typical coffee table book, rich in illustrations but thin on facts. Instead, journalist Laurino tells our dramatic and complex story through historical events; interviews with famous Italian Americans, including Adriana Trigiani, Gay Talese and Nancy Pelosi; and excerpts from Italian American literature – all supported by historic photographs. Readers learn details about the prejudice and discrimination we faced; the successes we earned; and the modern-day problem of stereotyping. Her book is designed to accompany a four-hour PBS series on Italian Americans that will air in February 2015. Well researched and very well told, this is a must-read!

THE REAL ROCKYS
By Rolando Vitale

This history of Italian Americans in boxing starts in 1900 with the arrival of millions of southern Italian men who had no experience with prize-fighting. Yet, within a generation, their sons became stars in the ring and later generations went on to set records for the most world titles and champions. How did this happen? Author Vitale traces the rise of the Italian American boxer by exploring the social and historical conditions that all Italian Americans confronted and overcame. He also includes mini-biographies of the greatest boxers beginning with the first, Sicilian-born Casper Leon, and ending with Tony De Marco, the 1955 world welterweight champion.

ITALIAN LOUISIANA
By Alan G. Gauthreaux

Subtitled as “history, heritage & tradition,” this slim volume by historian Gauthreaux succinctly tells the story of Italian immigrants, largely from Sicily, were “imported” to Louisiana at the end of the Civil War to replace the newly freed slaves in the rural sugarcane fields or to work as day laborers on the docks of New Orleans. Over time, they overcame poverty, disease, and even violence, including the largest mass lynching in U.S. history – to become successful and accepted.

FROM POMPEII
By Ingrid D. Rowland

Pompeii was already 900 years old when it was destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The catastrophe, which killed an estimated 16,000 people and injured thousands more, preserved the city’s homes, gardens and temples for posterity. Professor Rowland chronicles the afterlife of this Roman town by revealing how visitors over the centuries have reacted to Pompeii. They include Freud, Dickens, Mozart, and Mark Twain.

Fall 2014 Selections



THE SIGNS OF ITALY
By Louise Fili

Graphic designer Louise Fili fell in love with Italian street signs on her first visit to Italy when she was 16 and saw a billboard advertising Baci Perugina chocolates. Her obsession with Italian signage led to a career in graphic design as well as an avocation. Over the years, she has photographed thousands of Italian shop and restaurant signs. Now she has collected the best of them in one volume divided into three categories: classic, traditional, and eclectic. Each sign is unique but collectively they represent a part of Italy’s cultural heritage that all tourists see but few take the time to appreciate. Her passion has led to a beautifully designed book full of beautiful signs.

SICILY: A CULTURAL HISTORY
By Joseph Farrell

Powerful nations have invaded Sicily for most of its 3,000-year history, leaving their mark on the island’s landscape, language, cuisine, and culture. Foreign domination began in the 8th century B.C with the Greeks. Over the centuries, Sicily has been controlled by the Romans; the Carthaginians; the Muslims, the Normans, and the Spanish, among many others. Today, Sicily has more Greek temples than Athens along with Muslim mosques, Norman castles, Baroque churches, and Roman amphitheaters. Each chapter of author Farrell’s short history covers Sicily’s rich cultural heritage and the often terrible price Sicilians have paid for it.

MY TWO ITALIES
By Joseph Luzzi

Italian Americans have ancestral roots in southern Italy’s villages while their direct experience of Italy as tourists or students introduces them to the culture of Rome, Florence, and other Italian cities. Author Luzzi captures this schizophrenia in his poignant yet witty memoir. He grew up in a family of Calabrese immigrants who settled in Rhode Island, bringing with them the customs and mentality of southern Italian peasants. He learned about the ‘other’ Italy during his graduate studies in Italian literature at Yale. Now a professor of Italian, his deep knowledge and love of Italy reveals the many contradictions of this tiny, incredible peninsula in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.

Also Worth Reading...

ITALIAN AMERICANS vs. THE MASS MEDIA
By Adolph Caso

It’s no secret that Italian Americans are unfairly targeted by the media in spite of the “political correctness” that respects other ethnic, racial and religious groups. In his short study, Adolfo Caso provides examples of how the media have distorted information about Italian Americans, organized crime, and even Columbus.

GIULIANA’S WAY
By Albert M. Parillo

In his novel, author Parillo tells the Cinderella story of an eleven-year-old girl who leaves war-torn Italy all by herself in 1941 to go to America. There her dream of becoming an architect vanishes when she is forced to leave school to work in a restaurant kitchen. But her talent for cooking brings her success beyond her wildest dreams. 

Summer 2014 Selections


THE SECRETS OF ITALY
By Corrado Augias

“The Italian paradox” is popularly used to describe the maddening contradictions that make modern day Italy both admired and scorned.  Italians are praised for their artistic genius, healthy cuisine, and laid back dolce far niente lifestyle but ridiculed for their inability to deal effectively with crime, bureaucracy, and fragile governments.  Few observers, however, have been able to explain why Italy and her people are so complex.  In his book, subtitled “People, Places, & Hidden Histories,” cultural historian Augias, who is also a journalist, attempts to do this by looking at the  customs, tragedies, and triumphs that have made the Italians who and what they are today. 

CARVING A NICHE FOR HIMSELF
By Douglas J. Gladstone

Few people know that the Piccirilli brothers carved the Lincoln Memorial, and even fewer are aware that that the master carver of Mount Rushmore was also Italian.  In his new biography, subtitled The Untold Story of Luigi Del Bianco, Gladstone reveals the miscarriage of justice that ignored Luigi Del Bianco and his role in creating America’s iconic monument to Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.  From 1933 to 1940, Master Carver Del Bianco worked on the monument, which was completed the next year.  Gladstone speculates that prejudice against Italian immigrants kept his contributions a secret.  Ironically, even today he is not named on the monument’s website.  

MONA LISA
By Dianne Hales

Every year, more than nine million people visit the Louvre in Paris to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s portrait of a Renaissance matron.  The Mona Lisa has perhaps the most recognizable face in the world, but who was the woman behind the iconic portraitAuthor Hales, who wrote La Bella Lingua, praising Italy’s language, now studies the country’s most famous woman, inspired by new discoveries about  Mona Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo and her life in early 16th century Florence where she was born, raised, and married to the wealthy local merchant who commissioned her portrait.  Hales’s study blends history and biography for a fascinating read about the lady with the mysterious smile.

Also Worth Reading...

HERE IN CERCHIO
Edited by Constance Sancetta

Between 1910 and 1913, an Abbruzzese peasant wrote about 40 letters to his son, who was working in a Pennsylvania coal mine.  In his letters, Antonio Vasquenz tells about life in Cerchio, their ancestral village, as he struggles with sickness, death, natural disasters and crushing poverty.  Vasquenz’s letters, sad, colorful and, above all, honest, help explain why nearly 5 million Italians left Italy for America more than 100 years ago.

ITALIAN POWS SPEAK OUT AT LAST
By Carlo Ferroni

During WWII, thousands of Italian troops were captured by Russia, England, and the United States.  The British sent Italian POWs to South Africa, India, and Australia where they suffered from grueling heat and starvation.  In Russian camps, conditions were so bad that most of the 60,000 Italian POWs died, but life was much better for the Italian POWs in the U.S.  Now, historian Ferroni helps the survivors tell their story in their own words.

Spring 2014 Selections

THE HEART IS THE TEACHER
Edited by Leonard Covello & Guido D’Agostino

A man ahead of his time, Leonard Covello, a New York City teacher and principal (1887-1982), believed in multi-culturalism, especially when it involved his second-generation Italian American high school students who were not even offered Italian as a foreign language during the 1930s. Thanks goes to the Calandra Italian American Institute for reprinting this remarkable educator’s autobiography that tells how an immigrant boy from Campania became the champion of Italian American students and other minorities at a time when this country wanted them to become Americans by being ashamed of their parents and their heritage. A must read!.
[$18.00; paperback; 220 pages; Calandra Italian American Institute]

THE GLASSBLOWER’S APPRENTICE
By Peter Pezzelli

Fabio Terranova lived to dance until an accident destroyed his dream of leaving his mountain town in central Italy to star on Broadway. Instead, he finds himself shipped off by his mother to an uncle in Rhode Island where he is forced to learn the art of glassblowing. His uncle also immigrated to America many years earlier for mysterious reasons. Set in the present-day, the novel harks back to the timeless struggles and triumphs that everyone meets traveling through life. On his journey, Fabio learns to live with his heartbreak and find joy in the new direction his life has taken.
[29.95; hardcover; 264 pages; West Passage Publishing]

THE PARTISANS: SONS & DAUGHTERS
By Peter Drago

This gripping novel is based on fact: the little-known story of how Italian men and women partisans assisted the Allies and fought the Nazis, who were occupying their country during the last two years of WWII. Theirs was a true “civil war” that took place in Italy’s cities, towns, mountains and countryside. Fighting with stolen weapons and often little food or protection from the elements, over 35,000 Italian partisans smuggled weapons, set up spy networks, and found safe houses to hide Jews and escaped political prisoners. Many gave up their lives to free Italy. Author Drago mixes fact and fiction to tell their story.
[$16.95; paperback; 301 pages; amazon.com]

Also Worth Reading...

SPORT AND THE SHAPING OF ITALIAN AMERICAN IDENTITY
By Gerald R. Gems

Sports helped many Italian immigrants assimilate and when they succeeded they gave a sense of pride to millions of their transplanted countrymen. In the process, sports helped these immigrants from Italy’s many small towns and villages develop a sense of national identity as Italians rather than Sicilians, Calabresi, Neapolitans, etc. This well-researched book describes how that important and remarkable transformation occurred.
[$45.00; hardcover; 336 pages; Syracuse University Press]

OUR ITALIAN SURNAMES
By Joseph G. Fucilla

Most Italian Americans know who they were named for, but how many of us know where our last names come from? Thank Prof. Fucilla for supplying the answers. His was the first comprehensive collection of thousands of Italian surnames, their origin and history. Published in 1949 and still available through Amazon.com, his classic is essential for both scholars and amateur genealogists.
[$29.95; hardcover; also in paperback and Kindle; 300 pages; Genealogical Publishing Company]

Winter 2014 Selections

Italian Women in Chicago
Edited by Dominic Candeloro, Kathy Catrambone & Gloria Nardini

Subtitled, Madonna mia! QUI debbo vivere? (Good Grief! I have to live here?), this collection of stories are about Chicago’s pioneering Italian women from the 1890s to the present. They include politicians, labor activists, musicians, broadcasters and writers and even a saint, Mother Cabrini. Written by the women themselves or their families, these snapshots reveal the struggles and successes of Italian women in what many consider the most “American” city in the nation. [$24.99; paperback; 312 pages; Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia]

The World of Sicilian Wine
By Bill Nesto and Frances Di Savino

Master of Wine Nesto and his wife, Frances Di Savino, a student of history, have produced a comprehensive guide on the cultivation of wine in Sicily from the ancient Phoenicians and Greeks to modern times. Carefully researched, it offers such historical tidbits as Sicilian wines’ importance to the French wine industry at the end of the 19th century and the influence of the Muslim’s nearly 200-year occupation of Sicily in the 9th century A.D. [$34.95; hardcover; 300 pages; University of California Press]

Explorers Emigrants Citizens
By Linda Barrett Osborne & Paolo Battaglia

This “visual history of the Italian American experience” taps for the first time the Library of Congress’s vast photo collection of Italian American history. It has over 500 images and photographs, many never before published, including the first map ever to use the name “America” as well as stark photographs of what our early ancestors faced and triumphant shots of their successful children and grandchildren. A “must” for every family’s library and a worthy donation to schools and public libraries. [$55; hardcover; 320 pages; Anniversary Books]

Also Worth Reading...

Brooklyn Odyssey
By Tony Giordano

This is the first in a three-part series about growing up with acting aspirations in a blue collar Italian-American family during the postwar years. The author, director Tony Giordano, says it is his attempt “...to let America know how the values we inherit from our Italian childhood carry us through life with dignity and integrity.” [$27.50; hardcover; 130 pages; Ananke, LTD.]

To Tuscany with Love
By Gail Mencini

The love affairs, friendships, and life-changing experiences that eight American college students have during a summer abroad in Florence shape their future. In this novel, we meet them again 30 years later when they return to Tuscany for a reunion and learn how that long-ago summer changed their lives forever. [$16.95; paperback; 398 pages; Capriole Group]

Fall 2013 Selections


The Reach of Rome
By Alberto Angela. Translated by Gregory Conti

Best-selling Italian author Alberto Angela examines what life was like for the ancient Romans, from senators to slaves, through the unique narrative lens of a coin. We follow its travels through the Roman Empire that once reached from Scotland to Kuwait. How were the Romans able to create an empire from so many diverse peoples? Angela answers that question by following the coin as it changed hands and in the process paints a colorful picture of daily life in Ancient Rome. [$26.95; hardcover; 432 pages; Rizzoli ExLibris]

The Marquis of Roccaverdina
By Luigi Capuana. Translated by Santi V. Buscemi

Written by one of Italy's acclaimed 19th century authors, this novel reveals the life-altering choices of a Sicilian aristocrat who is forced to choose between love and social standing. Hailed as a psychological tour de force by critics, Capuana's novel belongs to the Italian verismo literary movement, which portrayed life as a struggle with social and political forces. Verismo aims to reveal il vero or "the truth" about society and its problems objectively without sentimentality or even compassion. [$18.95; paperback; 242 pages; Dante University Press]

The Girls of Piazza D'Amore
By Connie Guzzo-McParland

Set in Calabria during the 1950s, this novel presents three teen-age village girls who fall in love, but are forced to leave home for a new life across the ocean. Told by one of the girls, it reveals the difficult choices each makes out of necessity rather than desire. The story also captures the difficulties of life in post-war southern Italy 60 years ago at a time when people struggled with politics, employment and providing for the family. [$13.95; paperback; 161 pages; Linda Leith Publishing]

Also Worth Reading...

Italian Days, Arabian Nights
Coming of Age in the Shadow of Mussolini
By Vittorio Palumbo

Separated from his family at age 6, the author spends WW II scrounging for food in war-torn Italy. When at last reunited with his relatives, he discovers they are now strangers. This memoir is both a historical document and a personal story of courage and resilience. [$19.95; paperback; 268 pages; Story Trust Publishing, LLC]

Summer 2013 Selections

Naples Declared
By Benjamin Taylor

Both a history and a love letter to Naples, one of the world's oldest cities, author Taylor traces almost 3,000 years of the city's life. Settled by the Greeks in the 5th century B.C. as "Nea Polis" or "new city," Naples was the cultural center of Europe from the Renaissance through the 17th century. During World War II, it was the most bombed city in Italy. But Naples and its people have survived it all. Today it is Italy's third largest city after Rome and Milan.

Ferry
By David Mercaldo

Between 1910 and 1920, about 15,000 Italians immigrated to West Virginia to work as farmers, lumberjacks, miners and railroad builders. Most were from southern Italy, recruited by the state to develop its resources. Their history is revealed in this book through stories and more than 200 photographs from state archives and private families. Today, more than 70,000 descendents of these early immigrants still contribute to the state, including former governor and now U.S. senator Joe Mancin.

Lemons Into Limoncello
By Raeleen D'Agostino Mautner

Aptly sub-titled "From Loss to Personal Renaissance with the Zest of Italy" this self-help book is based on Italian life lessons. Be it death, job loss, or just peace of mind, the author, a psychologist, draws on the wisdom she found in her Italian heritage as a guide for living a happier life. "Italy teaches us to squeeze every drop of pleasure from a day," she writes. She successfully captures that unique Italian ability to use simple rituals of daily life to recover from life's misfortunes and even tragedies.

Also Worth Reading...

Story of My People
By Edoardo Nesi [Translated by Antony Shugaar]

In 2004, the Nesi family textile corporation in Tuscany went out of business, unable compete with local Chinese firms that imported fabric from China, but labeled their products "Made in Italy." Nesi examines how "globalization" has damaged Italy's economy through the lens of his family's loss. His is the first non-fiction work ever to receive the Strega Prize, Italy's most prestigious literary award.

Queen Bee of Tuscany
By Ben Downing

The English socialite, Janet Ross (1842-1927) was called "the queen bee of Tuscany" for her connections with European authors; Italian nobility; deep interest in local agriculture; and a fascinating personal life that included being a foreign correspondent in Egypt. She and her husband moved to Tuscany in 1867 where she entertained Mark Twain, among others; authored a cookbook still used today; and wrote on Italian history and literature.

Spring 2013 Selections

VENICE: A New History
By Thomas F. Madden

The rise and fall of Venice, its contributions, and remarkable people, who include Marco Polo and Casanova, is vividly told in this new history that covers the city's 2,000 years of history and achievements. It was a republic for more than 1,000 years, from the late 7th century A.D. until 1797, when Napoleon captured the city and gave it to Austria as part of a peace pact. But La Serenissima, as Italians call Venice, remains one of the wonders of the world. [$35.00; hardcover; 446 pages; Viking Press]

Italians in West Virginia
By Victor Basile & Judy Prozzillo Byers

Between 1910 and 1920, about 15,000 Italians immigrated to West Virginia to work as farmers, lumberjacks, miners and railroad builders. Most were from southern Italy, recruited by the state to develop its resources. Their history is revealed in this book through stories and more than 200 photographs from state archives and private families. Today, more than 70,000 descendents of these early immigrants still contribute to the state, including former governor and now U.S. senator Joe Mancin. [$21.99; paperback; 128 pages; Arcadia Press]

The Dance of the Seagull
By Andrea Camilleri [Translated by Stephen Santarelli]

Since 1994, Camilleri has written 14 novels about Salvo Montalbano, a quirky Sicilian police detective, who loves food and hates crime. As this his latest novel begins, Montalbano witnesses a seagull suddenly fall from the skies and die. Soon after, he learns his right hand man, Fazio is missing. Are the two mysterious events connected? The novels have been adapted as a TV series that Americans can see (with subtitles) on MHz. But read the book first! [$15.00; paperback; 277 pages; Penguin Books]

Also Worth Reading...

The Girl Who Did Not Like Her Name
By Chloe Jon Paul

Alessandra Petrucci thought her name was "too different" until she learns why she was given it. In this book for children age 10 and up, author Jon Paul describes the lives of the early Italian immigrants in clear and vivid language. Richly illustrated by Danuta Zamojska Hutchins. [$12.70; paperback; 41 pages; Culanco Publications]

An Alien Place
By Carol Van Valkenburg

Shortly before the U.S. entered WW II, the government collected about 1,200 Italian merchant seamen and cruise ship workers and shipped them off to Montana to Ft. Missoula, an unused military base where they were imprisoned until 1943. Historian Van Valkenburg tells their story through text and photographs. [$14.95; paperback; 130 pages; Pictorial Histories Publishing Co.]

Winter 2013 Selections

Let the Meatballs Rest
By Massimo Montanari

"Food is a fundamental instrument of cultural identity," says Massimo Montanari, Italy's major food historian. He illustrates this connection through 100 amusing, informative stories that cross centuries and cultures, but focus on Italy. He begins with the invention of bread (possibly in Ancient Egypt) and goes on to explore such rituals as the Lenten diet and Christmas dinner; table practices and manners, including the use of utensils (or not); whether conversation should be part of dining and how chocolate became a sweet. [$19.99; paperback; 162 pages; Xlibris]

Pinocchio
By Carlo Collodi

Many people don't know that Walt Disney's cartoon version of Collodi's timeless fairytale captured only a fraction of the adventures that turned this mischievous puppet into a "real boy." Now, thanks to Geoffrey Brock's acclaimed translation, American children will learn Pinocchio's complete story, told in clear, readable English. The book is richly illustrated by Fulvio Testa, a distinguished Italian artist. Collodi's tale first appeared as a serial in a children's newspaper in 1881 and came out as a book two years later. [$24.95; hardcover; 184 pages; the New York Review Children's Collection]

Tuscan Blood
By Dick Rosano

This mystery set in Tuscany, presents Filippo Trantino, who grew up there and then moved to America. Now he is back to bury his grandfather, who died in a freak accident...or was it an accident? Trantino decides to find out and as a bonus, the reader also learns more about Tuscany's famous wines and cuisine. Rosano, a noted wine expert and author, already has in the works a second mystery set in Italy. [$4.99 Kindle version through Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble; 312 pages; Hang Time Press]

Also Worth Reading...

War is Just Another Day
By Gentian & Jon Powell

In 1940, while on vacation in Abruzzo with her mother, Gentian Alpina de Luise's world fell apart. The Nazis invaded Naples, trapping her father, and forcing the six-year-old child to hide from the enemy, escape bombardments and live with fear and hunger until miraculously her father rescued his family. [$19.99; paperback; 281 pages; Xlibris]

Only in America
By Emilia Zecchino

In 1982, Emilia Zecchino, then a 55-year-old Italian immigrant, started a catering business with $1,000. Eventually, she grew it into a specialty frozen food company that employed 150 people. In 2006, Emilia, now 78, became a millionaire when she sold her company to the Schwan Food Company. How did she do it? [$24.95; hardcover; 292 pages with photos; Llumina Press]

Fall 2012 Selections

Italian Americans in Law Enforcement
By Anne T. Romano

Sociologist Anne Romano's collection of biographies of the most notable Italian Americans crime fighters begins in the 1700's. It includes Joseph Petrosino, the first Italian American New York City detective and James Capone, Al Capone's brother, who, as Richard Hart, was a U.S. marshal who arrested more than 20 murderers in the 1920's. Three chapters feature women in criminal justice while the last one lists fictional Italian American crime fighters from Colombo to Ray Barone's NYPD brother, Robert on "Everybody Loves Raymond." [$19.99; paperback; 162 pages; Xlibris]

Reconstructing Italians in Chicago
Edited by Dominic Candeloro and Fred L Gardaph�

In this anthology, 30 writers explore Chicago’s past and present “Italianit�” through early 20th century studies, Italian American fiction, first-person narratives, and attempts to recapture the Windy City’s Italian past.� Among the writers are the pioneer Italian American historian, Giovanni Schiavo and the acclaimed modern novelist, Tony Ardizzone. �Candeloro and Gardaph�’s thoughtful selections constitute a major step toward making Chicago’s Italians the best documented and best understood in the nation. [$29.99; paperback; 360 pages; The Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia]

Road to Valor
By Aili and Andres McConnon

This biography of Gino Bartali, the legendary cyclist, is the first book in English about “the Lion of Tuscany.” He won Italian cycling races and two Tours de France, ten years apart. But Bartali was also a hero, who traveled hundreds of miles by bicycle to deliver false IDs and passports, hidden in his bicycle frame that other Italians had made for Jews escaping the Nazis.� During his lifetime, he rode 370,000 miles.� He died in 2000 at age 85 in Florence. [$25; paperback; 336 pages; Crown Publishing]

Also Worth Reading...

When the Night
By Cristina Comencini [Translated by Marina Harss]

Novelist and director Cristina Comencini’s new novel is a love story between Marina, who is fleeing a domineering husband, and Manfred, a lonely man, who becomes her landlord.� Recently abandoned by his own wife and children, Manfred distrusts all women, but over time, a strong relationship develops between these two emotionally wounded people. [$15.95; paperback; 256 pages; Other Press]

The Lady of the Wheel
By Angelo F. Coniglio

Set in 19th century Sicily, this novella is based on a custom once practiced in Europe.� Mothers placed unwanted or illegitimate babies in a wheel (“la ruota”), built into a church or convent wall. Then she’d turn the wheel, ring a bell and abandon her child forever.� Coniglio tells their story. [$12; paperback; 84 pages; Legas]

Summer 2012 Selections

Custer's Bugler
By Leo Solimine

John Martin (Giovanni Martino) was Little Bighorn's only military survivor. An abandoned newborn in southern Italy in 1852, he was raised by peasants, marched with Garibaldi and immigrated to America in 1873 where he joined the army and was assigned to Custer's regiment. After the massacre, he served for 30 years then retired to New York City. He died Christmas Eve 1922 after being run over. [$25.95*; paperback with illustrations; 122 pages; Universal Publishers] *30% discount & free S&H if ordered at www.universal-publishers.com. Enter coupon code 30FREESHIP before entering credit card info at checkout.

200,000 Heroes
By Leon Weckstein

Both memoir and history book, 200,000 Heroes is a rare eye-witness account of the heroism of thousands of Italian partisans during WW II. American G.I. Leon Weckstein, who befriended many of them, shares the personal stories of how Italian men and women helped the Allies and risked their lives to defeat the Nazis, occupying Italy. They sabotaged railroads, cut supplies of water and electricity and dynamited roads and bridges. Weckstein also is widely credited with saving the Leaning Tower of Pisa from destruction during the war. [$19.95; paperback with illustrations; 244 pages; Hellgate Press]

The Villa Diana: Travels in Post-war Italy
By Alan Moorehead

Originally published as a series of articles in The New Yorker magazine, former war correspondent Alan Moorehead's unique stories describe Italy immediately following WW II. He lived there in a Renaissance villa in Tuscany, formerly occupied by seven armies during the war. Now collected in a book, his stories illustrate the struggles of a tradition-bound, war-torn country in transition, its customs, politics, ethics and religion. To the mix, Moorehead adds intriguing anecdotes from Italy's long history and rich culture. [$12.95; paperback with illustrations; 224 pages; Summersdale]

Also Worth Reading...

Guido: Italian/American Youth and Identity Politics
Edited by Letizia Airos & Ottorino Cappelli

In 2010, after the premiere of MTV's 'Jersey Shore,' the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute at Queens College, New York held a symposium on the 'guido' lifestyle. Guido is a series of essays from that meeting that describes how Italian Americans react to the way the media presents them. [$12; paperback; 136 pages; Bordighera Press]

The King of Love and Other Fairy Tales
By Giuseppe Pitrè

Edited and translated by Marina Cocuzza and Lorna Watson, these 12 twelve fairytales from Giuseppe Pitr�'s massive collection of Sicilian folk stories feature the English translation along-side the original Sicilian. The characters range from peasants to kings and queens. Pitr�'s fables reflect real life that rarely ends happily ever after. [$16.95; paperback; 174 pages; Legas]

Spring 2012 Selections

Defying Evil
By Benjamin Wood

Few people know that while occupying Croatia, Italians saved at least 3,500 Croatian Jews from persecution during WWII. Through detailed written reports, historian Wood reveals that Italian Army officers and government officials risked their lives to oppose rules imposed by the Nazi-allied Croatian government because they found them "inhumane and therefore un-Italian." From his research, Wood reveals the courage and compassion these Italians showed in challenging Nazi authority to protect powerless Jewish men, women and children. Includes historic black and white photographs. [$17.95; paperback; 240 pages; History Publishing Company LLC]

Seeking Sicily
By John Keahey

Subtitled "A Cultural Journey through Myth and Reality in the Heart of the Mediterranean," John Keahey's "Seeking Sicily" is both a memoir of his travels around the largest island in the Mediterranean, and an analysis of Sicilian culture's unique traits. He describes and analyses how 3,000 years of conquests by the Greeks, Arabs, Normans and other invaders have shaped Sicily, its people and languages, making the island rich in diverse cuisines, rituals, dialects, and customs. [$27.99; hardcover; 336 pages; Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press]

Temporary Perfections
By Gianrico Carofiglio [Translated by Antony Shugaar]

As a former Italian prosecutor, Gianrico Carofiglio was involved in some of the most dramatic Mafia court cases of modern times before becoming a best-selling author. His fourth crime novel, Temporary Perfections, re-introduces Guido Guerrieri, a defense lawyer in Bari, who is hired by an old colleague to solve a missing-persons case the police have dropped. Guerrieri's search for the young woman leads him to dig deep into her life where he stumbles into a sinister cover-up and the real reason she vanished. [$24.95; hardcover; 331 pages; Rizzoli]

Also Worth Reading...

P.O. Box Love
By Paola Calvetti [Translated by Anne Milano Appel]

Despite her divorce, Emma is a romantic, who runs a bookshop in Milan. One day, she finds a letter from an old lover, hidden in one of the books. Although he's married and lives in New York, they rekindle their romance and reveal their forbidden love through letters. [$24.99; hardcover; 368 pages; St. Martin's Press]

Lamberto, Lamberto, Lamberto
By Gianni Rodari [Translated by Antony Shugaar]

Beloved Italian children's author, Gianni Rodari presents Baron Lamberto, who owns 24 banks and has 24 illnesses. So he hires six servants to say his name constantly. Miraculously Lamberto improves, but just when life looks better for him, a terrorist group kidnaps him and demands his fortune. [$22.95; paperback; 208 pages; Melville House Publishing]

Winter 2012 Selections

THE PURSUIT OF ITALY
A History of a Land, Its Regions, and Their Peoples

By David Gilmour

Was the unification of Italy in 1861 a huge mistake? British historian Gilmour seems to think so as he examines Italian history, its most famous citizens from Dante, Garibaldi and Verdi to Berlusconi; and its many paradoxes. Essentially, he attributes the source of Italy's glory to its 20 regions with their vastly different cultures, dialects and even cuisines rather than "its misconceived, mishandled notion of a united nation." [$32.50; hardcover; 480 pages; Farrar, Straus and Giroux]

A Year in the Village of Eternity
By Tracey Lawson

Many people in Campodimele, a mountain village in central Italy, live to age 95. They have low blood pressure and cholesterol and stay active and healthy to the end. What is it about these villagers that allows them to enjoy such long, healthy lives? British journalist Lawson spent three years among them, chronicling their eating habits, work, exercise, friendships and traditions. Here she offers colorful anecdotes, photographs and more than 100 recipes that the villagers shared with her. [$30.00; hardcover; 374 pages; Bloomsbury]

The Day Before Happiness
By Erri De Luca [Translated by Michael F. Moore]

From the most widely read Italian author alive today comes a novel about growing up in Naples after WW II. The narrator, an orphan, is "adopted" by Don Gaetano, a doorman, who tells him stories about city's resistance during the war. They fish, work, and play together, but Don Gaetano has a secret: he can read minds. His life lessons help the young man years later when he falls in love with an engaged woman, the same young girl he'd fallen in love with after spotting her through a window in his youth. [$16.95; hardcover; 192 pages; Other Press, LLC]

Also Worth Reading...

Dante in Love
By A.N. Wilson

In this biography of Dante Alighieri, Wilson, a British novelist, ponders why the great Florentine poet is largely unread by many non-Italians. To help readers, he clears up misconceptions about this medieval genius, including Dante's politics, his arranged marriage, and his obsession with Beatrice, a woman he barely knew. The book includes 24 full-color illustrations. [$35.00; hardcover; 400 pages; Farrar, Straus and Giroux]

ITALIAN FOLK
Vernacular Culture in Italian-American Lives

By Joseph Sciorra

This collection of 12 essays and articles takes an in-depth look at Italian American culture. Traditions such as basement kitchens, city garden fig trees, street festivals, Sicilian poetry written in Brooklyn, and the folklore of Italian witchcraft demonstrate the unique hybrid nature of transplanted Italians and their descendants. [$28.00; paperback; 288 pages; Fordham University Press]

Fall 2011 Selections

With Malice Aforethought
By Theodore Grippo

"Clear my name," Bartolomeo Vanzetti begged his lawyer before his execution in 1927. He and Nicola Sacco had been sentenced to death for murdering a paymaster and his guard near Boston in 1920. But in the eight decades since their execution in 1927, their guilt remains a question mark. In his book, attorney Grippo, reviews the case, exposes prosecutorial and judicial misconduct during the trial, and shows how Red Scare hysteria and ethnic prejudice affected the verdict. His research also uncovers new evidence that indicates the two were framed. [$35.95; hardcover; 372 pages; iUniverse Publishers]

Un Amico Italiano
By Luca Spaghetti

Spaghetti (his real name), helped Elizabeth Gilbert discover Rome in Eat, Pray, Love. Now he shares his theories on finding happiness through anecdotes of his childhood in Rome; his first trip to America and the behind-the-scene story of his friendship with Gilbert. A gifted storyteller, in his memoir Spaghetti also explores in the Italians' knack for enjoying life's little pleasures: a plate of pasta, a soccer game, or a beautiful cloud. "When you add it all up, happiness is a small thing," he says, quoting the Roman poet Trilussa. [$15.00; paperback; 242 pages; Penguin Books]

Shot Down Over Italy
By John W. Lanza

In May, 1944, a U.S. bomber with a seven-man Army crew was shot down over Nazi-occupied Tuscany. Six survived, including William Lanza, the author's uncle. He was rescued by Italian partisans, who risked their lives to help him, Sgt. Lanza spent two months behind enemy lines, living in a cave, before he was finally reunited with U.S. forces. Author Lanza interviewed his uncle in 2006 and spent four years researching this extraordinary story of courage and survival during the worst war in history. [$24.95; hardcover; 354 pages; Bright Spot Books]

Also Worth Reading...

Such Is Life
By Leonilde Frieri Ruberto

Ruberto, an Italian immigrant mother of four from Campania, gives a vivid and authentic description of life in the poor southern villages where children as young as three had chores but no toys; where education ended at the 4th grade; and homes had no heat or running water. This bilingual memoir in Italian and English was translated by the author's grand-daughter, Laura Ruberto, who is a college professor. [$10.00; 132 pages; paperback; Bordighera Press]

Lost Hearts
By Vincent Panella

This collection of 23 loosely-linked short stories follows the life of Charlie Marino, from his childhood in the 1950s to middle age in the 90s, in his Italian neighborhood in Queens, NY. As he searches for happiness, love and acceptance often with surprising results. A former reporter, the author presents memorable if flawed characters, tight dialogue and vivid revocations of the complex relationships and dramas that are the hallmark of close families everywhere. [$15.95; paperback; 211 pages; Apollo's Bow Publishers]

Summer 2011 Selections

Marconi
By Calvin D. Trowbridge, Jr.

In his compelling biography of Guglielmo Marconi, author Trowbridge calls the great inventor, "father of the wireless; grandfather of the radio and great-grandfather of the cell phone." It is aptly describes the enormity of Marconi's contribution to modern communication. From his boyhood experiments in his father's attic near Bologna to his education, family life and inventions, Marconi was always more interested in science than money. He shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Braun, for his contribution in developing wireless telegraphy. [$23.99; paperback; 484 pages; Booksurge Publishing]

Sacrifice on the Steppe
By Hope Hamilton

The tragic account of the fate of the Alpini, Italy's elite mountain troops, during WW II, has been largely overlooked by historians. In 1942, Mussolini sent 227,000 soldiers, including 60,000 Alpini, to Russia to protect German troops attacking Stalingrad. The Alpini, trained for mountain warfare, had to fight on the flat Russian steppes. The Germans and their allies were decimated. Only one unit held out to the very end — the Alpini. Historian Hamilton tells their story through interviews with survivors, extensive historical records and archival photos. [$32.95; hardcover; 365 pages; Casemate Publishers]

The Solitude of Prime Numbers
By Paolo Giordano

Alice and Mattia, both victims of childhood traumas, meet in high school where they are branded misfits by their fellow students. Although they recognize each other as damaged kindred spirits, they are unable to connect until years later. Their plight allows author Giordano to explore the loneliness of the human condition. Are some people destined to be alone or "prime numbers" forever due to childhood tragedy? For his first novel, Giordano, a 28-year-old physicist, won Italy's premier literary award, the Premio Strega. [$15.00; paperback; 271 pages; Penguin Books]

Also Worth Reading...

American Woman, Italian Style:
Italian Americana's Best Writings on Women
By Carol Bonomo Albright and Christine Palamidessi Moore

Italian Americana is a cultural and historical journal devoted to the Italian American experience. Now, two of its editors have collected a series of essays that describe the realities of today's Italian American women. They cover intermarriage, entrepreneurship, traditional roles, modern careers and more. [$26.00; paperback; 304 pages; Fordham University Press]

La Bella Vita:
Live and Love The Italian Way
By Aminda Leigh and Pietro Pesce

Authors Leigh and Pesce advise Italian wanna-bes with their amusing little handbook on how to "be" Italian�from choosing the right clothing and cologne to using Italian gestures and even flirting. But they also emphasize that Italians enjoy little pleasures: good coffee, a sunny day or the laughter of children. [$15.95; paperback; 208 pages; Adams Media Publishers]

Spring 2011 Selections

The Dog Who Ate the Truffle
A Memoir of Stories and Recipes from Umbria

By Suzanna Carreiro

In her intimate portrayal of ancient recipes, traditions, and people in the region that gave the world St. Francis, veteran food critic Carreiro brings to life the daily life of Umbria's people, their language and cuisine and teaches the reader about customs and recipes she has traced back to the Etruscans. Anecdotes and sidebars enhance the telling of the stories and authentic recipes found in this unique cookbook. [$25.99; hard-cover; 372 pages; Thomas Dunne Books.]

Beyond DiMaggio
By Lawrence Baldassaro

Berra, Rizzuto, Torre, Piazza, these names and many others are known not just as Italian Americans, but as some of the greatest figures in Major League Baseball. Baldassaro tells the stories of Italian Americans' contributions to the game in a social history of baseball from icon Joe DiMaggio to the late baseball commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti. Through 50 interviews with players, coaches, managers, and executives, Baldassaro places these famous figures in the historical context of baseball, Italian Americans, and American sports culture. [$34.95; hard-cover; 520 pages; U. of Nebraska Press.]

How Italian Food Conquered the World
By John F. Mariani

Esquire Magazine's food and wine critic, Mariani traces the history of Italian cuisine from its ancient origins in Greece, Rome and the Middle East to America, where it began as just "spaghetti and meatballs." From Charles Dickens' journey through Italy in 1844, to 20th-century immigrants selling ice cream on the streets of New Orleans, he offers little-known culinary anecdotes about Italy, its people, and the culture that has made pasta and pizzas household names (and treats) around the world. [$25.00; hard-cover; 288 pages; Palgrave Macmillan.]

Also Worth Reading...

Anti-Italianism: Essays On A Prejudice
Edited by William J. Connell and Fred Gardaphe

In this collection of 14 essays, scholars and writers address the historical and cultural boundaries of stereotypes, prejudice, and assimilation surrounding Italians and Italian Americans and their complex history of exclusion and prejudice as seen in history, literature, film, radio and television. [$26.00; soft cover; 210 pages; Palgrave Macmillan.]

Crossing the Alps
By Helen Barolini

First acclaimed in Italy, Crossing the Alps speaks to the reader of romantic love in post-WWII Italy. The Grand Dame of Italian American letters, Barolini presents Frances Molletone, a young Italian American woman who returns to Italy where she searches for her roots while falling in love with a married man. [$14.00; soft-cover; 164 pages; Bordighera Press.]

Winter 2011 Selections

MIRROR IMAGE
BY Dennis Palumbo

A thrilling plot, full of surprising twists will leave the reader on edge as Dennis Palumbo tells the strange story of psychologist Dr. Daniel Rinaldi that begins when Kevin, one of his patients, imitates the good doctor's appearance - with disastrous consequences. Dr. Rinaldi is making progress, helping Kevin with his identity issues when his patient is murdered. Was Dr. Rinaldi the real target? After learning Kevin's true identity, no one is certain which man was the target and who wanted him dead. [$24.95; hardcover; 321 pages; Poisoned Pen Press.]

THE HELLHOUND OF WALL STREET
By Michael Perino

It's 1933 and the usually staid Congressional hearings become high-stakes courtroom drama when Ferdinand Pecora, a former New York prosecutor, investigates the bankers and stockbrokers whose greed caused the 1929 Stock Market Crash and the Great Depression. In 10 days, Sicilian-born Pecora convinced Congress to institute reforms that reined in these free-wheeling financial institutions. His rigorous questioning revealed shocking financial abuses that ranged from selling worthless bonds and manipulating stock prices to excessive compensation and bonuses awarded to executives. Sound familiar? [$27.95; hardcover; 352 pages; The Penguin Press]

DON'T SING AT THE TABLE: LIFE LESSONS FROM MY GRANDMOTHERS
By Adriana Trigiani

In a departure from her best-selling novels, author Trigiani turns to writing a family memoire of two Italian women who had enormous influence on her: her grandmothers, Lucia Bonicelli and Yolanda Trigiani. Both were working women, who juggled careers and family long before it became the norm. At once, resilient and entrepreneurial yet spiritual and traditional, Trigiani offers their wisdom and life lessons to help today's women face many challenges at work and at home. [$22.99; hardcover; 204 pages; HarperCollins. Also available as an audio book CD narrated by the author.]

Also Worth Reading...

PROFILES OF ITALIAN AMERICANS
By Cosmo F. Ferrara, Ed.D.

Everyone has heard of Al Capone, but how many know that Betty DellaCorte founded the first shelter for victims of domestic violence? Hers is one of 32 profiles of Italian Americans who have contributed to law, medicine, the military and science and more in this handy reference book. A "must" for any family library. [$16.00; soft cover; 173 pages; Bordighera Press.]

MARTINA'S TOWN
By Raffaella Cribiore

Martina, an eight-year-old Italian American girl from a small town, is suddenly transported to New York City because of her father's work. In 10 colorfully illustrated stories arranged according to the seasons, Martina's imagination transforms the Big Apple into a children's wonderland. For ages 8 to 10. [$14.95; softcover; 62 pages; Legas Press]

Fall 2010 Selections

AMORE: The Story of Italian American Song
By Mark Rotella

Sixty years ago, Italian Americans like Frank Sinatra, Vic Damone, Connie Francis and Perry Como dominated popular song. Now Rotella tells the story behind 40 classic songs and their performers. We learn that Enrico Caruso was America's first "cross-over" artist when he recorded "O Sole Mio," which sold over a million copies in 1916. Rotella's study also delves deeply into the history of Italians in America. This book belongs in every family library. [$26; soft cover; 304 pages; Farrar, Straus and Giroux Book Publishers]

CATINA'S HAIRCUT: A Novel in Stories
By Paola Corso

This collection of interlinking short stories presents four generations of a Calabrese family over a period of about 100 years. As sharecroppers, the first generation fights poverty in late 19th century Italy. Later, their descendents struggle to make better lives for themselves in the steel mills of Pittsburgh. Vividly told and rich with the customs and traditions of southern peasants, Corso's novel movingly tells the universal story of Italian immigrants; their losses and gains; their disappointments and triumphs. [$21.95; soft cover; 114 pages; University of Wisconsin Press]

THE GREAT FIRE OF ROME
The Fall of the Emperor Nero and His City

By Stephen Dando-Collins

Did the Roman emperor Nero deliberately set the Great Fire of Rome on July 19, AD 64? It burned for more than a week, nearly destroying the entire city and ending a political dynasty created by Julius Caesar. If it wasn't Nero, who did set it and why? Dando-Collins answers these questions by exposing the secrets and scandals surrounding this infamous historical event and separating truth from legend. [$25; hardcover; 256 pages; Da Capo Press]

Also Worth Reading...

A CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE
IN LITTLE ITALY

By James Doti, Illustrated by Lisa Mertins

James Doti's Christmas story of a little boy, his dog and his Italian nonna is set in a 1950s Italian neighborhood in a big American city. Charmingly told and beautifully illustrated, it even includes a recipe for biscotti, making it a perfect Christmas gift for children. [$14.95; hardcover; 32 pages; Jabberwocky Books]

AN ITALIAN FOREVER
By Alessandro Gualtieri & Giovanni Dalle Fusine

In October, 1917, the Battle of Caporetto cost Italy 300,000 men. Hemingway wrote of this WW I disaster in A Farewell to Arms. Now history buffs can read the words of an eye-witness. Settimio Damiani was drafted into the Italian army and survived the Caporetto massacre. His war diary, now translated, is a "must" for students of La Grande Guerra. [$22.00; soft cover; 142 pages; Ledizioni Publishing]

Summer 2010 Selections

WHY WE'RE ALL ROMANS
By Carl J. Richard

This lively account of Ancient Rome describes its administration, law, engineering, architecture, art, and literature over the 1,200 years from the founding of the city to its fall in the 5th century A.D. Rome preserved Greek democracy, theater and philosophy and helped the spread of Christianity thanks to the peace and stability of the Empire. Rome also gave English more than half of its vocabulary while school children for several centuries studied Latin. [$26.95; soft cover; 328 pages; Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.]

ANNA MARIA'S GIFT
By Janice Shefelman

Inspired by the Pieta, a real Venice orphanage and famous music school, this illustrated novel brings thehistory and music of Venice to life for children. Nine-year-old Anna Maria is sent to the Pieta after her father dies. There she practices on the violin that he made for her and quickly becomes composer Antonio Vivaldi's favorite student. This story captures what life was like for orphan girls in 18th century Venice and how they found joy in music. [$12.99; hardcover; 112 pages; Random House Children's Books]

ANTONIO AND THE ELECTRIC SCREAM:
The Man Who Invented the Telephone

By Sandra Meucci, Ph.D.

This scholarly yet engaging biography of Antonio Meucci is aimed at young readers, but appeals to adults, too. It encompasses Meucci's life in New York where he perfected his invention of the telephone during the late 1850s, years before Bell. In 2001, more than 160 years after his death, the U.S. Congress recognized Meucci's contribution to the invention of the telephone. The book includes detailed drawings of his early telephone models. [$14.95; soft cover; 138 pages; Branden Books]

Also Worth Reading...

TOSCA, THE CAT LADY
By Gina Lagorio

Tosca spends her senior years among numerous cats, all descended from her first pet. She is alone but not alienated, looking for the answer to what makes life worth living. This is a translation of the novel that won the 1984 Viareggio Literary Prize. [$16; soft cover; 226 pages; Bordighera Press]

SICILY! UP CLOSE!
By Bud Lang

With this book author Lang offers his personal insights on each of the nine Sicilian provinces with tips to help newcomers to the island, including info on finding ancient family records, renting (and driving) cars, useful magazines and websites. [$17.95; soft cover; 157 pages; Ital Press]

Spring 2010 Selections

THE WISDOM OF TUSCANY
By Ferenc Mate

What can we learn from ancient Tuscany? Author Mate offers some answers. For example, in the U.S., arts and crafts are hobbies that produce knick knacks. In Tuscany, crafts produce useful items like chairs or curtains that are "of superb quality, designed to last for a lifetime." Tuscans inject this pride of workmanship in everything from building a house to preparing a meal. What does this teach us? That there is "pleasure...to be had from everyday life," Mate notes, "...if the tasks produce something as good as your hands and mind can make." [$24.95; hardcover; 272 pages; Albatross Books at W.W. Norton & Company]

I'M STAYING WITH MY BOYS
By Jim Proser

This is a family-authorized biography of the Marine Gen. Douglas MacArthur called "a one-man army." The narrative focuses on the battle of Guadalcanal when Basilone and three other G.I.s held off 3,000 Japanese troops until help arrived. That battle earned him the Medal of Honor. He later received the Navy Cross and a Purple Heart before dying in the Battle of Iwo Jima. Basilone is the only enlisted man in WW II to earn both the MOH and the Navy Cross, our nation's two highest medals for valor. Book includes never-before-published photographs and an extensive bibliography. [$14.99; soft cover; 336 pages; St. Martin's Griffin]

FINDING YOUR ITALIAN ANCESTORS
By Suzanne Russo Adams

This handy beginner's guide shows how to tap census data, naturalization records and ships' manifests in the U.S. as well as helps sort through the maze of civil and church records in Italy. Includes English/Italian translations of bureaucratic terms; sample letters in both English and Italian for requesting information and documents and even a short history of Italy and handwriting samples from the 1500's to the 1900's to help in reading original documents. Author Adams closes with pertinent web sites and societies to help with further research. A gem of a book! [$19.95; soft cover; 189 pages; Ancestry Publishing]

Also Worth Reading...

PROMISES TO KEEP
By Thomas F. Dwyer

The Forte family ran a farm near Pico, a town mid-way between Rome and Naples. The nearby Aurunci Mountains were the scene of terrible combat in WW II, exposing Fortes and their 3,000 fellow villagers to violence when the German forces took over the town, trapping them. Author Dwyer describes how the brutal reality of war affected this family and their neighbors. [$14.95; soft cover; 124 pages; iUniverse, Inc.]

Abramo's Gift
By Donald Greco

Set in 1918 in Youngstown, Ohio, "Abramo's Gift" chronicles the conflict between working class Italian and Irish immigrants. Abramo Cardone, a recent Italian immigrant and carpenter, finds himself all alone in Youngstown where he finds work in the local steel mill; meets two Irish men who don't like Italians and learns what he has to do to finally be at home in America. [$13.95; soft cover; 292 pages; Bridgeway Books]

Winter 2010 Selections

Never Trust a Thin Cook and Other Lessons from Italy's Culinary Capital
By Eric Dregni

What begins as a journey through Italy's rich culinary traditions soon becomes a revealing portrait of how Italians live and how their culture differs from America's. A professor of English at Concordia University in Minnesota, author Dregni spent two years in Modena, the "culinary capital" in the title. There he delved into the lore of Modena's famous balsamic vinegar, rich polenta, and even chocolate salami. He learns never to mix basil and oregano or cut up his spaghetti...it spoils the taste, he's told. Anecdotes about his adventures and mishaps abound in this book about life in unpredictable Italy. [$22.95; hardcover; 240 pages; University of Minnesota Press]

The Roman Forum
By David Watkin

Today, the Roman Forum is mainly a tourist attraction, but once this site, no bigger than a football field, was the religious, political and economic center of Ancient Rome. It began as a swamp, drained in the 7th century B.C., and eventually housed temples, shops, the Senate and even private homes and brothels. Here Julius Caesar's body was cremated; Marc Anthony and Cicero railed against conspiracies and victorious emperors held parades. After the fall of Rome, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque buildings were added to it. Author Watkin captures the history and reincarnations of one of the most famous pieces of real estate in history. [$19.95; hardcover; 288 pages; Harvard University Press]

The Secret Sin of Opi
By Peter D. Cimini

Why do good people do bad things? In his novel, author Cimini explores this contradiction in the story of a terrible abduction. In 1947, Daniel Ciarletta and his father, Pete, leave America to visit Pete's ailing father in Italy. But Daniel is kidnapped and taken to a rural mountain town that had lost all its able-bodied boys and men during the war. Now the townspeople imprison young foreigners to take the place of the men they have lost. Daniel and six other young boys spend the next 22 years as slaves. Meantime, in America, his family falls apart, not knowing if Daniel is alive or dead. [$24.95; hardcover; 300 pages; Robert Reed Publishers]

Also Worth Reading...

Italy Revisited: Conversations with My Mother
By Mary Melfi

In a unique approach to memoirs, Mary Melfi writes her autobiography as a double memoir in a conversation between herself and her mother. In the process, readers become eye witnesses to life in a southern Italian village at the turn of the 20th century. The narrative also explores the complexities of mother-daughter relationships, especially those found in immigrant families. [$23; soft cover; 332 pages; Guernica Editions Inc.]

Brava, Valentine
By Adriana Trigiani

In the sequel to Very Valentine, popular author Trigiani re-introduces Valentine Roncalli, who begins her career as president of her grandmother's firm, the "Angelini Shoe Company." Juggling her career, love life and passion for family, Valentine embarks on the next phase of her life, finding an adventure in Argentina that challenges and changes her. In Buenos Aires, she discovers a deeply hidden family scandal that could change the Roncallis forever. [$25.99; soft cover; 352 pages; Harper.]

Winter 2009 Selections

The Journey of Italians in America
By Vincenza Scarpaci

Nearly 500 photographs of Italian neighborhoods, families, businesses and celebrities help tell the story of Italians in America. It begins in the late 1870s and ends with the modern era. Author Scarpaci's thorough research offers a wealth of facts and details that reveal how the immigrants and their descendants have succeeded despite many hardships. A "must-have" for every family and an excellent book to donate to schools and public libraries. [$35.00; hardcover; 320 pages; Pelican Books; 1-800-843-1724]

Tebaldi: Voice of an Angel
By Carlamaria Casanova [Translated by Connie Mandracchia DeCaro]

This authorized biography is newly expanded by translator DeCaro, who was Renata Tebaldi's lifelong friend. The great opera singer overcame polio and was discovered by Toscanini who called her voce d'angelo (angel voice). She debuted at the Met in 1955, where she sang some 270 times. In all, Tebaldi knew 1,048 operas and gave 1,262 performances before retiring in 1976. She died in 2004 at age 82. Included are 84 pages of photos and a CD of Tebaldi singing her most popular Italian arias. [$39.95; hardcover; 265 pages; Baskerville Press; amazon.com and local bookstores]

The Great Earthquake
By Salvatore LaGumina

In 1908, an earthquake and tidal wave struck Sicily and Calabria. In Messina, 15,000 of the city's 150,000 people survived. In Reggio Calabria, a city of 50,000, only 10,000 lived. President Theodore Roosevelt immediately sent US Navy ships that brought food, water, medicine and supplies to the victims. This American rescue effort is central to historian LaGumina's vivid account of the greatest natural disaster the world had ever known. The book also features stunning "before and after" photos of the two cities. [$29.00; paperback; 248 pages; Teneo Press; 1-716/807-1167 and at amazon.com]

Also Worth Reading

Wild Dreams
Edited by Carol Bonomo Albright & Joanna Clapps Herman

This anthology of more than 60 short stories, memoirs, poetry and interviews by many of the greatest Italian American writers is compiled from the literary journal Italian Americana. For more than 30 years, this journal has promoted Italian American letters, including the work of John Fante, Dana Gioia, Jerre Mangione, John Ciardi, Daniela Gioseffi and Camille Paglia. An essential book for all interested in Italian American literature. [$21.95; paperback; 329 pages; Fordham University Press; 1-718-817 4782 and amazon.com]>

The Brenner Assignment
By Patrick K. O'Donnell

For the first time, the facts behind the most daring covert operation of WW II are revealed in this true adventure story. Since the Romans, the Brenner Pass had been an essential military route through the Alps and was a major supply artery for the Nazis. Tapping thousands of recently declassified files, documents and interviews, author O'Donnell tells how American Special Ops military worked with Italian partisans behind enemy lines. [$25.00; hardcover; 286 pages; Da Capo Press; 1-617-252 5212 and local book stores]

Spring 2009 Selections

Signora da Vinci
By Robin Maxwell

Leonardo da Vinci is famous, but little is known about his mother, Caterina, who was only 15 when she gave birth to him in 1452 in the tiny Tuscan village of Vinci. Robin Maxwell presents Caterina as a daring young woman who fights to regain her son. Maxwell's story is fiction, but the novel takes the reader back to life in Renaissance Italy.

Old World Daughter, New World Mother: An Education in Love and Freedom
By Maria Laurino

A vivid description of the tug between the traditional values of home, family and sacrifice embraced by Italian parents and the new-found liberation, career aspirations and independence of American women.

The Sicilian Judge: Anthony Alaimo an American Hero
By Vincent Coppola

His parents were illiterate Sicilian immigrants, who taught him to have courage, compassion and patriotism. He needed them as a WW II fighter pilot; a POW and eventually a judge who had an unswerving sense of fairness as well as compassion.

Galileo's Leaning Tower Experiment
By Wendy Macdonald; illustrated by Paolo Rui

This story helps children understand Galileo's great discovery about gravity through a lively text and richly colored illustrations. Ages 4-8.

Pippo the Fool
By Tracey E. Fern; illustrated by Pau Estrada

This story is based on the life of Filippo "Pippo" Brunelleschi, the man who designed the huge dome of Florence's cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore in 1420. Accompanied by Pau Estrada's beautifully detailed illustrations. Ages 9-12.

Summer 2009 Selections

La Bella Lingua
By Dianne Hales

Author Hales subtitles her memoir "My love affair with Italian, the world's most enchanting language." In it, she traces the evolution of Italian from the graffiti on the walls of Pompeii to the works of Dante and other great writers. She also shares the personal story of her decades-long quest to become fluent in Italian and offers insights into what makes Italian so expressive by showing how Italians weave their manners, customs and even food into their idioms and slang. For example, someone "uptight" is a baccal� (dried cod) and a bad movie, a polpettone (big meatball). [$24.95; hardcover;300 pages; Broadway Books]

It Happened in Italy
By Elizabeth Bettina

After Denmark, the Jews in Italy had the highest survival during WW II. Yet the story of how thousands of Italians in big cities and tiny villages risked their lives to save strangers is rarely told. Bettina learns of these incredible rescues from the survivors, including the heroism of Giovanni Palatucci, an Italian official who gave Jews false exit papers or sent them to his village in Campania for safety. He saved at least 5,000 lives before he was discovered and sent to Dachau where he died two months before the war ended in 1945. [$24.99; hardcover; 379 pages; Thomas Nelson, Inc.]

Alexandria
By Lindsey Davis

For a new twist on the detective story, author Davis sets hers in ancient Egypt in 77 A.D. Her private eye is Marcus Didius Falco, a private "informer," who works for Emperor Vespasian. While vacationing with his family in Alexandria, Falco learns that the director of the city's famous library has murdered in a room locked from the inside. As he investigates the case, Falco uncovers more bodies in a race to find the killer before he strikes closer to home. Author Davis's exciting mysteries set in ancient times are known for their historical accuracy. [$24.95; hardcover; 338 pages; Minotaur Books]

The Islands of Divine Music
By John Addiego

This novel introduces several generations of the Verbicaro family as they make their way from southern Italy to a new life in America at the turn of the last century. Their struggles and triumphs span most of the 20th century in America as they and their descendents adapt to America's changing scene and many crises, including two world wars, Prohibition, the computer revolution and the dawning of a new century. [$24.95; hardcover; 241 pages; Unbridled Books]

The Fires of Vesuvius
By Mary Beard

Beard, an acclaimed historian, explores daily life in Pompeii � its politics, food, religion and even its slavery and sensual pleasures. Here we meet Aulus Umbricius Scaurus, an elected official; Caius Norbanus Sorex, an actor; and a host of other citizens of this ancient city along with descriptions of their homes, shops and spas. Richly illustrated with photographs and drawings of Pompeii's household items, mosaics, streets and art. [$26.95; hardcover; 360 pages; Belknap Press]

Fall 2009 Selections

Vic Damone: Singing Was the Easy Part
By Vic Damone with David Chanoff

Brooklyn-born Vito Farinola changed his name to Vic Damone and as an usher at New York's Paramount Theatre before shooting to the top of the Billboard Chart in 1947 with his first hit "I Have But One Heart." He was 19 years old. Over the next six decades, Damone had one of the most successful singing careers in America. In this thought-provoking autobiography, he talks frankly about his career, celebrity friendships, money problems, many marriages and religious beliefs. [$25.95; soft cover; 288 pages; St. Martin's Press]

Green, White, Red: The Italian-American Success Story
By Dominic J. Pulera

With a wealth of detail and solid facts, author Pulera shows how the Italian immigrants and their descendants in the U.S. overcame poverty and discrimination to achieve success over the last 100 years. Pulera interviewed hundreds of people around the globe to learn about their experiences and perspectives on Italian-American culture. By examining the history of Italian Americans, insights can be drawn that apply to current discussions of immigration. [$29.95; hardcover; 455 pages; L'Italo Americano Press]

Why Italians Love to Talk About Food
By Elena Kostioukovitch

Pick up this book and take a mental journey with Kostioukovitch from Venice and Umbria all the way to Sicily and Sardinia. Making plenty of stops along the way, she captures the passionate local pride and diversity of each region and explores the history and traditions that spice each dish. For good measure, she throws in plenty of illustrations, maps, menus, and glossaries. Published for the first time in English, this international best-selling book will both delight and educate readers. [$30; soft cover; 431pages; Farrar, Straus, and Giroux]

Also worth reading

Lambrusco
By Ellen Cooney

It's 1943. The Nazis have invaded Italy. Former opera singer Lucia Dantini has entertained the customers of her late husband's restaurant for years, but now it too has been seized by the Nazis and a resistance squad of waiters and tradesmen has formed, led by Lucia's son Beppino. When he disappears after destroying a German truck, Lucia sets off to find him across a war-devastated Italy. [$14.95; soft cover; 337 pages; Anchor Books]

American Passage: The History of Ellis Island
By Vincent J. Cannato

In the 19th century, it hosted pirate hangings, but at the turn of the 20th century, it became the first stop for millions of hopeful immigrants who encountered hostility, corruption, harsh conditions, and political scheming. Cannato captures the dramatic and bittersweet accounts of the immigrants, officials, interpreters, and social reformers who all played important roles in Ellis Island's amazing story. [$17.99; hardcover; 487 pages; HarperCollins]

Winter 2008 Selections

Kimchi & Calamari
By Rose Kent

Fourteen-year-old Korean adoptee Joseph Calderaro is stumped when his social studies teacher assigns an ancestry essay. He doesn't know his birth parents and even though he thoroughly enjoys his Italian American family he begins a search for his birth family.

Kent's debut novel humorously captures a young teen as he fights with his sisters, has crushes on girls and makes a new friend. The book has special appeal for adoptees, but the questions about family roots that it raises are universal. A great read for ages 9-12. [$15.99; hardcover; 240 pages; HarperCollins]

Italian Lessons
By Peter Pezzelli

Two lonely men form an unlikely friendship in Pezzelli's latest novel. Fresh out of college, Carter Quinn returns to Providence, R.I. unsure of everything except his plans to go to Abruzzo to pursue the woman he loves. He can't speak Italian so he turns to Professor Giancarlo Rosa, who knows first-hand what disappointments and betrayals are found under Italy's blue skies. What begins as an apparent mismatch between teacher and student soon blossoms into a friendship that teaches both of them about life, love and forgotten secrets. [$14.00; paperback; 320 pages; Kensington]

The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944
By Rick Atkinson

Vol. II of Pulitzer-winning author Rick Atkinson's projected trilogy on WW II covers the liberation of Italy from German control. It follows the Allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943 and attack on the mainland Italy two months later, ending with the liberation of Rome in June 1944.

Military historians still debate whether the Italian campaign was necessary, but Atkinson shows it was there that the American army honed its battle skills despite paying a high price for the mistakes their generals made. [$35.00; hardcover; 816 pages; Henry Holt and Co.]

Also Worth Reading

Playing for Pizza
By John Grisham

After causing his team to lose a championship game, third-string quarterback Rick Dockery flees vengeful fans and finds refuge in the most unlikely corner of professional football: the Italian National Football League. First baffled and then enchanted by all things Italian, Rick navigates his new home in this charming fish-out-of-water novel. [$21.95; hardcover; 272 pages; Doubleday]

Sicily Through Symbolism and Myth
By Paolo Fiorentino

"Sicily for the Ancient Greet was what America was for the19th century Europeans: a promised land of plenty," writes Sicilian scholar Gaetano Cipolla in the introduction to Fiorentino's study, which offers an in-depth, analysis of the Greek and Roman myths associated with the largest island in the Mediterranean. [$12.95; paperback; 124 pages; Legas]

Spring 2008 Selections

The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken: A Search for Food and Family
By Laura Schenone

In this family memoir, Schenone sets off on a mission to find the authentic ravioli recipe that her Genovese great-grandmother brought to New Jersey at the turn of the 20th century. Over the years, the dish had changed and she decides to find the original. Her search brings her to Italy where she uncovers a story of love and loss. Included are traditional recipes from Liguria where ravioli and pesto were invented. [$26.95; hardcover; 384 pages; W. W. Norton]

Italy’s Most Wanted: The Top 10 Book of Roman Ruins, Wonderful Wines and Renaissance Rarities
By Luciano Mangiafico

Less than half the size of Texas, Italy is only about 116,000 square miles, but its contributions from the time of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance down to today are far out of proportion to its size. In 50 chapters, Mangiafico offers fascinating facts about Italy’s cuisine, culture and history over the past 2,000 years. [$13.95; paperback; 336 pages; Potomac Books Inc.]

Time Takes No Time
By Donna L. Gestri

An enterprising olive grower in the late 19th century village of Resuttano, Saverio Rivito is torn between honoring his father’s legacy and the desire for a better life than Sicily’s unrelenting land allows him. Sicilian traditions, beliefs and customs along with colorful characters are found in this novel, inspired by what the author’s grandfather swears is a true story. Its characters transcend time and culture to speak to all who have the courage and faith to leave the familiar to seek a better future. [$14.95; paperback; 150 pages; Legas]

Also Worth Reading

Lodging in Italy’s Monasteries
By Eileen Barish

“Monasteries,” Barish writes, “are an integral part of Italy’s history and heritage and symbolize the incredibly diverse Italian culture.” By conducting extensive research, including the history of each monastery, Barish has compiled a directory of detailed, precise information for a unique Italian experience: an inexpensive travel alternative to staying in big-name hotels. [$22.95; paperback; 512 pages; Anacapa Press]

The Duke’s Amulet
By Phyllis Martino-Nugent

In this novel, a young woman travels to Urbino, Italy, with a team of researchers from the University Museum of Philadelphia to investigate the recent discovery of a skeleton belonging to an early Renaissance nobleman. This adventure sends her back in time where she falls in love and must decide if living in Renaissance Italy is better than returning to the present. [$16.95; paperback; 244 pages; iUniverse, Inc.]

Summer 2008 Selections

My Cousin the Saint
By Justin Catanoso

Catanoso writes a memoir of his family history and its famous member, Padre Gaetano Catanoso, whom Pope John Paul approved for sainthood in 2005. The author, a successful journalist, made several trips to his ancestor’s town, Chorio di San Lorenzo in Calabria, taking part in family feasts and funerals and listening to stories about Padre Gaetano’s holy life and amazing miracles. In his book, Catanoso charts the parallel history of his sainted cousin and his grandfather who immigrated to America. [$25.95; hardcover; 352 pages; William Morrow]

Italy, the Romagnoli Way: A Culinary Journey
By G. Franco & Gwen Romagnoli

Renowned chef and restaurateur G. Franco Romagnoli and his wife, Gwen take a journey through Italy’s amazingly varied culinary landscape to explore the specialties of its regions. The record of these travels includes authentic recipes from each region as well as its folklore, history and traditions. The result is a cookbook, travel guide and a delightful bedside read. It is also richly illustrated with stunning color photographs. [$24.95; hardcover; 368 pages; The Lyons Press]

Rosa’s Story By Jim Damiano

Rosa’s journey begins in Italy in 1924 with an arranged marriage to an Italian American in Utica, New York. It is the true history of a young girl’s experiences fictionalized around key events in her life. Through this moving tale, readers will gain a deeper understanding of the immigrant experience and a young woman’s unwillingness to resign herself to her fate in a time when strong women were considered a threat. [$17.99; paperback; 336 pages; Tate Publishing & Enterprises. Can order through author’s site at www.jimdamiano.com]

Also Worth Reading

One Hundred & One Beautiful Towns in Italy: Shops and Crafts
By Paolo Lazzarin

Gorgeous photographs accompany informative essays about the cities and towns that produce the handcrafted products for which the country is famous. Organized by region, the book explains the history and traditions behind these regional specialties: Venetian glass; Milanese and Como silks, the ceramics found in Umbria’s Deruta as well as in Puglia and Sicily. [$45.00; hardcover; 272 pages; Rizzoli]

The High Heart
By Joseph Bathanti

The short stories in this award-winning collection are all linked by an ensemble of heartbreakingly vivid characters, headed by the young Fritz Sweeny and his volatile and eccentric parents. The setting is the Italian American neighborhood of Pittsburgh in the sixties and seventies, when the city still lay in the trough of industrial collapse. Through the painfully honest perplexity of Fritz, the reader gets a clear view of the family, the neighborhood, the city, and the era. [$14.95; paperback; 192 pages; Eastern Washington University Press]

Fall 2008 Selections

Eat Smart in Sicily
By Joan Peterson & Marcella Croce

Sicily’s unique cuisine is influenced by the Greeks and Arabs as well as many other civilizations that once conquered the largest island in the Mediterranean. This is a handy guide both to ordering in Sicilian restaurants and preparing authentic Sicilian dishes at home. Designed for the restaurant-goer/tourist, the book also gives a history of regional dishes and their recipes; translations of menu items from Sicilian to English; and is richly illustrated with color photographs. [$13.95; paperback; 160 pages w. illustrations; Ginko Press]

Emigrant Nation
By Mark Choate

Between 1880 and 1915, 13 million Italians left home, launching the largest emigration of a single people in recorded history. How did the loss of nearly one-third of its people affect the newly formed Italian state? Here author Choate explores how Italian immigrants abroad helped establish Italy as a “global nation,” by spreading Italy’s culture, religion and customs through schools, cultural societies, chambers of commerce and even special banks. [$45.00; hardcover; 319 pages w.maps & photos; Harvard University Press]

Dark Water
By Robert Clark

This dramatic account of a flood that ravaged Florence gives the facts along with gripping stories of heroic efforts by Italians and foreigners alike, who worked tirelessly and at some risk to save the city’s priceless treasures. The flood hit on November 4, 1966 when the Arno River overflowed, destroying or damaging hundreds of works of art and covering a billion pages of books with mud and oil. Clark also offers a brief history of other floods that struck the city that many call “the cradle of the Renaissance.” [$26.00; hardcover; 368 pages; Doubleday]

Also Worth Reading

1492: The Fourth Caravel of Christopher Columbus By Rita M. Stark

Everyone knows about the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, but some scholars now believe that the great Italian sea captain’s caravels were followed by la Fusta, a privately financed ship that could be rowed as well as sailed. The possibility of a fourth ship helps author Stark explore the political and cultural conditions that made Columbus’s historic voyage of discovery possible. [$13.95; paperback; $23.95 hardcover; 108 pages; IUniverse.com. Call 1-800-288-4677 or see Amazon.com.]

Calabrian Tales By Peter Chiarella

In this novel, set in late 19th century Calabria, author Chiarella describes the injustices, poverty and cruelty that the peasants there had suffered for centuries. Beautiful Marianna is forced by her family to become the mistress of a wealthy landowner, a decision that changes her life and the lives of her descendents in Calabria and America. [$20.00; paperback; 377 pages; Regent Press www.regentpress.net or 510-547-7602]

Winter 2005 Selections

Il Gigante: Michelangelo, Florence and the David by Anton Gill.

Il Gigante ("The Giant") tells the story of Michelangelo's David. Set at the turn of the 16th century, it focuses on Michelangelo at 17 and the unveiling of the David in Florence's Piazza della Signoria in 1504. Drawing upon broad historical sources, the author paints a vivid picture of a troubled, eccentric Michelangelo during one of the most artistically creative periods in history. [$14.95; soft cover; 388 pages; St. Martins/Thomas Dunne Books]

Desperate Inscriptions: Graffiti from the Nazi Prison in Rome
by Stanislao G. Pugliese and Liana Miuccio

In 1943, in Nazi-occupied Rome, hundreds of Italian partisans and anti-fascists, along with Jews were imprisoned and executed. While the prisoners awaited their fate, they scratched their thoughts, poems and last messages on the walls of their cells. Pugliese, an historian, and Miuccio, a photographer, have collected and photographed these graffiti in a bi-lingual Italian-English volume. [$12.00; soft cover; 102 pages; Bordighera Press]

Italians in America by Alison Behnke is full of historical facts dating back to the late 1800s when Italians began immigrating to the United States. It also profiles earlier Italians such as Amerigo Vespucci, Filippo Mazzei and Giuseppe Garibaldi as well as contemporary Italian Americans and organizations like the Order Sons of Italy in America®. It includes recipes, timelines and sources and abundant color photos to make it an excellent tool for teaching children about their ancestors in America. [$27.93; hardcover; 80 pages; Lerner Publications Company]

Spring 2005 Selections

The Cinema of Italy Edited
by Giorgio Bertellini

Written for movie lovers, this anthology of essays examines 24 classics of Italian cinema made between 1932 and 1994. Included are such landmark films as Ladri di biciclette (Bicycle Thieves, 1948); La Strada (The Street, 1954); La Ciociara (Two Women), for which Sophia Loren won an Academy Award in 1962, and many others. [$24.50; paperback; 271 pages; Wallflower Press]

For Love and Country: The Italian Renaissance
by Patrick Gallo

This non-fiction work tells the little-known story of the Italian resistance movement during World War II. Italy's was one of the most successful resistance movements in European impressive feat given the fact that it came at a time when Italy was the battleground for three simultaneous wars: civil, class and the Nazi occupation. Gallo shows how the movement in Rome involved men and women of all ages, classes, ideologies and religions. [$55.00; paperback; 361 pages; University Press of America, To order, call 800/462-6420]

The Death of Spring
by Silvio J. Caputo, Jr.

In 1913, immigrant coal miners, many of them Italian, went on strike in Ludlow, Colorado to protest inhumane and dangerous working conditions and wages of $1.68 per day. The mines were owned by the Rockefeller family and when the strike continued into 1914, the company attacked the striking workers and their families, killing 23. Caputo has based his novel on the historical events that led up to the Ludlow Massacre of 1914, with extensive interviews of survivors and descendants. [$14.95; paperback; 310 pages; Ashley Books, Inc. To order, call 719/544-1135.]

Summer 2005 Selections

Dante in Love: The world's greatest poem and how it made history
byHarriet Rubin.

Banished from his native Florence by political rivals, Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) spent the last 20 years of his life in bitter exile. But during his travels through Italy, inspired by the memory of his childhood love, Beatrice, Dante also discovers the meaning of life captured in his epic poem, La Divina Commedia. [$13.00; paperback; 274 pages; Simon & Schuster]

The Long Italian Goodbye
by Robert Benedetti.

Chicago's West Side Little Italy in 1948 was more like a village in his grandparents' native Tuscany than an American neighborhood to ten-year old Joey. An only child born in the Great Depression, Joey's Italian American childhood shapes this coming of age novel by Emmy-Award-winning film producer Robert Benedetti. [$19.95; hardcover; 231 pages; Durban House]

Between Salt Water and Holy Water: A history of Southern Italy
by Tommaso Astarita.

Southern Italy is rich in culture but poor in industry. Its six major regions make up nearly one-third of Italy, but for many southerners and northerners alike, the area is not considered "really" Italy. Naples-born author Astarita reveals the economic, political and historical conditions that have helped shape the Italian south.[$24.95; hardcover; 352 pages; W.W. Norton & Company]

Fall 2005 Selections

Cipango! (The Story)
by Anne Paolucci

Marco Polo's description of Cipango, (Renaissance Italian for "Japan"), inspired Columbus to cross an ocean to find it as we learn in this short but powerful biography of the greatest navigator of the Renaissance by noted Columbus scholar Anne Paolucci.

She starts with Columbus' early life in Genoa where he began sailing at age 15 and ends with his tragic fourth and last voyage when a storm sank almost his entire fleet of 32 ships. The facts are enhanced by excerpts from Paolucci's award-winning play, also named Cipango! A "must-read" for adults and teens. [$14.95; paperback; 144 pages; Griffon House; to order call: 302/677-0019]

Feeling Italian: The Art of Ethnicity in America
by Thomas J. Ferraro

How are Italian Americans different from today's Italians and yesterday's immigrants? And are they losing their ethnicity? Feeling Italian explores how Sinatra's music, Coppola's Godfather, Madonna's Italian background and other cultural phenomena have shaped the Italian American identity. [$21.00; paperback; 256 pages; NYU Press]

I'm staying with my boys...: The heroic life of Sgt. John Basilone
by Jim Proser

Medal of Honor winner John Basilone didn't have time to write his autobiography. He died on the sands of Iwo Jima when he was only 29 years old. Today, exactly 60 years after his death, author Jim Proser, tells Basilone's story in his own voice, based on hundreds of hours of interviews with people who knew him well. This is the only family-authorized biography of Basilone and features many never-before-published family photographs. A documentary, based on this book, is available to OSIA members at a discount. [$19.95; paperback; 354 pages; Lightbearer Communications Company]

Also Worth Reading

Vita
by Melania G. Mazzucco

Winner of Italy's prestigious Strega literary award, this novel follows two cousins who arrive on Ellis Island in 1903 with 2,000 other southern Italians. Mazzucco's inspiring immigrant story follows the pair as they take on this often harsh new world and try to make it their own. [$25.00; hardcover; 448 pages; Farrar Straus Giroux]

Odyssey of an Etruscan Noblewoman
by Rosalind Burgundy

Etruscan scholar Burgundy brings the ancient world to life through fictional heroine, Larthia, an Etruscan noblewoman, living 500 years before Christ. To escape her society's taboos for women, she disguises herself as a man, becomes a scribe and faces many life-threatening adventures. [$22.99; paperback; 347 pages; Xlibris Corporation]

When One Stood Alone: John J. Sirica's Battle Against the Watergate Conspiracy
by Donald J. Farinacci, J.D.

Author Farinacci vividly describes how Judge John J. Sirica, the judge that presided over the Watergate trial, defeated the criminal conspiracy led by President Nixon to cover up his administration's role in this infamous episode that eventually led to Nixon's resignation. [$17.84; paperback; 109 pages; Xlibris Corporation]

Winter 2007 Selections

Home to Big Stone Gap
by Adriana Trigiani

Welcome back to the Blue Ridge Mountain town of Big Stone Gap, Virginia and its heroine, Ave Maria MacChesney in Adriana Trigiani's fourth novel in the series. Life is changing for Ave Maria: her daughter has married an Italian and lives in Italy and her husband, Jack is seriously ill. These woes, along with directing the town play and a rift with a close friend, take Ave on an emotional rollercoaster ride. As always Trigiani has populated her novel with the memorable characters and magic of small-town life fans have come to expect of this series, launched over six years ago. [$25.95; hardcover; 320 pages; Random House]

The Humble and the Heroic: Wartime Italian Americans
by Salvatore J. LaGumina

Italian Americans have a stellar World War II record: 13 Medal of Honor recipients as well as the heroic Don Gentile, "the highest scoring fighter pilot in American history." Now historian and author, Salvatore J. LaGumina examines the war's impact on Italian Americans on the battlefield, at home and especially on those first-generation Americans when the country of their birth declared war on the country of their choice. With this book, we learn how ordinary people did the extraordinary while enduring history's most devastating war. [$29.95; paperback; 356 pages; Cambria Press]

Our Roots are Deep with Passion: Essays by Italian American Writers Edited
by Lee Gutkind & Joanna Clapps Herman

With a foreword by actor Joe Mantegna, this essay collection showcases 21 authors of Italian heritage writing on subjects ranging from food and wine to religion, immigration and language. Louise DeSalvo recalls that her grandfather always drank wine instead of water because in his native Puglia, water was often home to malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Laura Valeri tackles the mystical side of life with an account of a childhood séance in Sardinia that goes eerily awry, and Stephanie Susnjara charts the history of garlic in society and in her own kitchen. [$15.95; paperback; 288 pages; Other Press]

Also Worth Reading

Blue Guide: Sicily
by Ellen Grady

This comprehensive overview of Sicily covers everything from what to see and where to eat to how to appreciate museum artworks. What makes this guide book stand apart from the rest? It includes a short history of each city and town on this island that has been invaded by the Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Normans, who all left their mark on it. Each of Sicily's nine provinces has a chapter listing where to stay, local transportation and the best restaurants for local cuisine along with color photographs, maps and diagrams. [$26.95; paperback; 512 pages; W.W. Norton]

Franca's Story: Survival in WWII Italy
by Diane Kinman

Biographer Diane Kinman tells the true story of her neighbor, Franca Mercati's experiences as a fourteen year old girl in war-torn northern Italy from 1937 to 1945. Whether she is rescuing a downed British pilot, visiting the Pope's quarters or risking her life to feed her starving family, Franca shows a streak of courage throughout her ordeal. This award-winning book is available at a $4.00 discount and free shipping if ordered through the website: www.wimerpublishing.com [$26.95; hardcover; 204 pages; Wimer Publishing Company]

Spring 2007 Selections

Italian Voices: Making Minnesota Our Home
by Mary Ellen Mancina-Batinich

By 1915, an estimated 2 million Italian immigrants had entered the U.S., but only about 10,000 went to Minnesota to work in its iron ore mines; lumber, steel and flour mills; and farms where they routinely put in 10-hour days, six days a week.

The late Mary Ellen Mancina-Batinich spent 20 years interviewing these Minnesotans about their everyday life in the Italian communities of the Iron Range, Duluth, and the Twin Cities between 1900 and 1960. Her book offers their stories in their own words, making it a "must read" for anyone interested in Italian American history. Foreword by the respected immigration historian, Rudolph J. Vecoli. [$29.95; hardcover; 336 pages; Minnesota Historical Society Press]

The Cielo: A Novel of Wartime Tuscany
by Paul Salsini

During World War II, the beautiful countryside of Tuscany became a battlefield as Hitler's troops invaded the region and its terrified villagers fled to the hills.

The Cielo, (The Heaven,) powerfully describes how the villagers of Sant' Antonio cope as the war rages around them. While hiding together, they learn to overcome petty differences, confront a neighbor's betrayal, protect an escaped prisoner and survive a Nazi raid.

Based on the wartime experiences of the author's relatives, The Cielo is both a fact-filled history lesson and an inspiring story of the human spirit. [$19.95; paperback; 324 pages; iUniverse, Inc.]

The House That Giacomo Built: History of An Italian Family, 1898-1978
by Donald S. Pitkin

Pitkin, an anthropologist, spent more than 30 years documenting the lives of the Savo family and how three generations of this Calabrese family overcame huge obstacles of poverty, illiteracy and class prejudice over nearly a century.

By turns horrifying in its description of the family's sub-human living conditions yet inspiring because, no matter what, they stay united, the book proves graphically that for poor Italian families, "togetherness" is not just a greeting-card sentiment, but vital for survival. Together they face many hardships until one day they win some land in a lottery, build their house and slowly climb out of poverty and into the working class. [$9.95; paperback; 339 pages; Dowling College Press]

Also Worth Reading

An Italian American Odyssey: Through Ellis Island And Beyond
by B. Amore

With words and images, author Amore tells the story of the journey to America across seven generations of one Italian American family, based on her multimedia exhibit, Lifeline: filo della vita, which has been mounted at New York's Ellis Island Museum and to sites in Boston, Rome, and Naples.

The book version, in full color and bilingual in Italian and English, includes numerous interviews, documents and historic photographs from the Ellis Island archives. It includes essays by Fred Gardaph�, Edvige Giunta and Robert Viscusi, who explore Italian Americans' cultural memory, ethnic identity, issues of gender, race, and generational change. [$45.00; hardcover; $24.95; paperback; 300 pages; Fordham University Press]

Brazzá, A Life For Africa
by Maria Petringa

This is the first English language biography of Pierre Savorgnan de Brazzá, a late 19th century Italian nobleman who admired Africa and fought to protect its native populations from the excesses of European colonialism. Brazzá bought slaves and set them free, collected African tribal art, documented African plants and animals and recorded for history the daily life of many African tribes.

As colonial governor of French Equatorial Africa, he tried unsuccessfully to help Europeans and Africans understand each other. In gratitude, the Republic of the Congo named the city he founded in his honor. Today the capital, Brazzaville, remains the only African city named for a European. [$19.99; paperback; 276 pages; Authorhouse]

Summer 2007 Selections

Starting a Business in Italy
by Emma Bird and Mario Berri

Working in Italy is tricky in a country known for its love affair with red tape and high (8%) unemployment rate. The solution? Start your own business, advises authors Bird and Berri.

They offer personal experiences and interviews with other foreign business owners to explain tax information, etiquette, paperwork, networking and cultural nuances. (Especially popular is the Bed & Breakfast.)

Appendices include info on the regions, laws regarding visas, taxes and glossary of business terms in Italian and English. Aimed at those considering a permanent move to Italy, it has useful information for anyone planning on temporarily relocating, studying or just touring in Italy. [$24.75; paperback; 348 pages; How to Books]

The Lost Gold of Rome
by Daniel Costa

In 410 A.D., Rome was invaded for the first time in 800 years by a barbarian army. Led by the Visigoth king, Alaric, Germanic hordes sacked the city and carried off its most valuable treasures.

Alaric died unexpectedly before he could leave Italy and was buried in a secret tomb with part of the fortune. For centuries treasure hunters have searched for his grave and the lost gold. This lively history describes how the invasion contributed to the fall of Rome and the rise of the Papacy. [hardcover; 256 pages; NPI Media Group; imprint: Sutton Publishing]

Sweet Lemons: Writings with a Sicilian Accent Edited
by Venera Fazio and Delia De Santis

Over 60 works of poetry and prose showcase Sicilian-American and Sicilian-Canadian authors in this anthology. Since lemons grown in Sicily are sweeter than those found in North America, the title evokes a "sweet" image of Sicilians to combat the prevalent Mafioso stereotypes.

Topics range from traditional mythology and historical accounts to family customs, saints' feast days, fig trees, and mother-daughter discord. All shed a warm light on Sicily's rich history and culture. [$22.00; paperback; 300 pages; Legas]

Also Worth Reading

Openwork
by Adria Bernardi

The lives of three generations of Italians and Italian-Americans are revealed in Adria Bernardi's newest novel that begins in a Tuscan mountain village and stretches across the U.S., spanning the cataclysmic events of the 20th century.

The title recalls an embroidery technique and symbolizes the intertwining lives of the characters, struggling to learn English and establish themselves in the New World. Language plays a key role in the novel, which is peppered with Italian phrases - many in dialect. [$22.50; hardcover; 328 pages; Southern Methodist University Press]

Talismans/Talismani
by Maria Mazziotti Gillan

This bilingual Italian/ English collection is a poetic twist on the classic coming-of-age tale in both poetry and prose.

As a child, the author disguises her Italian name and family, desperate to fit in as an American at school. Eventually she learns to embrace her heritage -- her poems capturing specific historic events and personal memories such as the years of work visible in a grandmother's hands or a father's efforts to celebrate Columbus Day. She passes these bittersweet lessons to her children and grandchildren as well as to her readers. [$14.00; paperback; 104 pages; Ibiskos di A. Ulivieri]

Fall 2007 Selections

The Pompeii Pop-Up Book
by David Hawcock & Peter Riley

Learning history has never been this much fun for both children and adults! "See" the 2,000-year-old history of Pompeii in 3-D rise before your very eyes. When Mt. Vesuvius erupted August 24, 79 AD, it blanketed the city in lava and ash. The city lay buried for nearly 2,000 years until the late 19th century when archeologists discovered the lost city and its treasures.

Pop-ups include a busy Pompeii street scene, the forum, a Roman home, stores and a spa as well as Vesuvius in full eruption. All the artwork is accurate and realistic, accompanied by informative text and booklets. A bonus section is devoted to nearby Herculaneum, also destroyed that day. [$29.95; hardcover; 12 pages; Universe]

Italian Pride: 101 Reasons To Be Proud You're Italian
by Federico & Stephen Moramarco

There are hundreds of reasons to be proud of Italy and here you will learn 101 of the best. A tour guide, cookbook, history and culture reference, and mini-biographies are all combined in one to showcase Italy's finest contributions.

It is divided into four parts: culture and history; places; people; and food with each part 20 or more chapters. They include bios of geniuses like Verdi, Machiavelli and Montessori; the history of famous cities like Verona (the most Roman city outside of Rome) and details about the culture of Italy's 20 very different regions, their cuisines and recipes. [$14.95; hardcover; 246 pages; Citadel]

The Boston Italians
by Stephen Puleo

In his lively and engaging history of the Italians in one of America's oldest cities, Stephen Puleo begins in the late 19th century when Italian immigrants began settling in the city's cramped North End. Focusing on this first and crucial Boston Italian neighborhood, Puleo describes the experience of the Italian immigrants as they battled poverty, illiteracy, and prejudice. Italians were lynched more often than members of any other ethnic group except African Americans.

Much of the story is told from the perspective of the Italian leaders who guided and fought for their people's progress, reacquainting readers with pivotal historical figures like James V. Donnaruma, founder of the key North End newspaper La Gazetta (now the English-language Post Gazette), and politician George A. Scigliano. The book's final section is devoted to interviews with today's influential Boston Italian Americans, including Thomas M. Menino, the city's first Italian American mayor and former CSJ national president Albert DeNapoli. Richly illustrated with historic photographs. [$26.95; hardcover; 344 pages; Beacon Press]

Also Worth Reading

Openwork
by Adria Bernardi

The lives of three generations of Italians and Italian-Americans are revealed in Adria Bernardi's newest novel that begins in a Tuscan mountain village and stretches across the U.S., spanning the cataclysmic events of the 20th century. The title recalls an embroidery technique and symbolizes the intertwining lives of the characters, struggling to learn English and establish themselves in the New World. Language plays a key role in the novel, which is peppered with Italian phrases - many in dialect. [$22.50; hardcover; 328 pages; Southern Methodist University Press]

 

Talismans/Talizmani
by Maria Mazziotti Gillan

This bilingual Italian/ English collection is a poetic twist on the classic coming-of-age tale in both poetry and prose.

As a child, the author disguises her Italian name and family, desperate to fit in as an American at school. Eventually she learns to embrace her heritage -- her poems capturing specific historic events and personal memories such as the years of work visible in a grandmother's hands or a father's efforts to celebrate Columbus Day. She passes these bittersweet lessons to her children and grandchildren as well as to her readers. [$14.00; paperback; 104 pages; Ibiskos di A. Ulivieri]

Winter 2004 Selections

Italian American Writers on New Jersey Editors
by Jennifer Gillian, Maria Mazziotti Gillan and Edvige Giunta

This anthology of poetry, fiction, memoirs and stories present New Jersey life as experienced by such gifted Italian American writers as Gay Talese, Louise De Salvo and Maria Laurino, author of Were You Always Italian? [$21.95*; soft cover; 290 pages; Rutgers University Press]

Christ in Concrete
by Pietro di Donato

This classic novel, written during the Depression, depicts life in an Italian American working class family. The novel describes how this blue-collar family struggles to find work, overcome discrimination and survive tragedy in search of the American dream. [$6.95*; soft cover; 236 pages; Signet Classics]

Where the Birds Never Sing
by Jack Sacco

This biography of Joe Sacco, written by his son Jack, reveals his life as a soldier during World War II, and includes the liberation of the infamous Dachau concentration camp. Sacco's story is accompanied by historic photographs of what he saw. [$24.95*; hardcover; 336 pages; Regan Books]

Spring 2004 Selections

Storia Segreta Edited
by Lawrence DiStasi

An authoritative review that documents the restrictions, searches and other civil rights violations that occurred during World War II to people in the U.S. because they had Italian last names and were not citizens. [$21.95; soft cover; 327 pages; Heyday Books]

A Kiss from Maddalena
by Christopher Castellani

A haunting novel about family duty and love that survive even in the worst of times. Inspired by the author's own family's experience, the book captures life in a small, war-torn Italian village whose people held strong to their values. [$23.95; hardcover; 338 pages; Algonquin Books]

Clay Creatures
by Mark Ciabattari

This slim volume gives the reader "two for the price of one "-two intriguing short stories set in Sicily whose characters face an absurd dilemma The Jar (La Giara) by the Nobel-prize winning author Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936) and The Urn by acclaimed contemporary writer Mark Ciabattari. [$10.00; soft cover; 94 pages; Canio's Books]

Summer 2004 Selections

Killer Smile
by Lisa Scottoline

Find out why this book has been making the New York Times best-seller list since its debut in early June. A young lawyer tries to uncover the truth behind the death of an Italian American in an internment camp during World War II in this riveting mystery novel. [$25.95; hard cover; 368 pages; HarperCollins]

Rosa: The Life of an Italian Immigrant
by Marie Hall Ets

An authentic tale about coming to America told from the experiences of Rosa Cassettari, from her childhood in Italy to her immigration to America in 1884. It is one of the rare books describing what Italian women faced coming to America. [$16.95; paperback; 256 pages; University of Wisconsin Press]

Heritage: Italian American Style
by Leon J. Radomile

In his second edition author Radomile has expanded his 1492 questions to 1776 about Italian and Italian American contributions. This bilingual edition, in Italian and English, covers everything from food, music and entertainment to science, literature, including Ancient Rome. [$19.95; paperback; 480 pages; Vincero Publisher]

Fall 2004 Selections

The Enemies of Christopher Columbus
by Thomas A. Bowden.

Who are the enemies of Columbus and why do they want to destroy his reputation? This book provides this answer and others in a clear and direct question-and-answer format. Also includes passages about the "Indian question" from legendary writers such as Mark Twain, Thomas Jefferson, and Charles Dickens. [$29.95; hard cover; 133 pages; The Paper Tiger]

Seasons in Basilicata
by David Yeadon.

Inspired by Carlo Levi's masterpiece, Christ Stopped at Eboli (see "Also Worth Reading"), David Yeadon spent a year in Aliano, the same village where Levi was exiled to nearly 70 years earlier. The story follows Yeadon and his wife as they rent a house and live among the 1,000 inhabitants of this little town in Basilicata, creating a vivid portrayal of a place that few outsiders know. [$25.95; hard cover; 480 pages; HarperCollins]

Blue Collar Roots, White-Collar Dreams
by Alfred Lubrano.

In his work of narrative nonfiction, award-winning reporter Alfred Lubrano describes the experiences of over a hundred "straddlers," who represent the 13 million Americans stuck in a class-dictated limbo marked by resentment, jealousy and racism. "They face the daunting task of fitting into a middle-class life without losing touch with their blue collar families. [$27.95; hard cover; 272 pages; Wiley]

Winter 2006 Selections

I Love You Like a Tomato
by Marie Giordano

It's 1950 and ChiChi Maggiordino lives in Minneapolis with her fatherless family. Her grandmother teaches her how to use the Evil Eye, which ChiChi plans to use to help her family. When her grandmother passes away, ChiChi searches for her own happiness and meets two Italian circus performers, who introduce her to commedia dell'arte, Italy's famed improvised theater. Through them she learns the secret to happiness. [$6.99; paperback; 400 pages; Forge Books]

Italy, A Love Story: Women Write about the Italian Experience Edited
by Camille Cusumano

This collection of 28 essays explores various women's encounters with all that Italy has to offer. More than travel articles, they delve deep into the history and culture of a land that is both complicated by and adored for its rich traditions. Among the authors are Barbara Grizzuti Harrison, Frances Mayes and Mary Simetti Taylor. [$15.95; paperback; 342 pages; Seal Press]

Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles
by Raymond Arroyo

In 1981, with only $200, Mother Angelica launched the Eternal World Television (EWT) network, the first Catholic cable network. Today it is the world's largest religious media empire, reaching over a hundred million viewers all over the world with religious and cultural programs. Author and EWT News anchor, Raymond Arroyo traces her life, based on exclusive interviews with Mother Angelica. [$23.95; hardcover; 400 pages; Doubleday]

Also Worth Reading

The King of Mulberry Street
by Donna Jo Napoli

New York City in 1892 was no place for a child with no family, but that was the fate of nine-year old Dom, whose mother sent him across the Atlantic from Naples so he could have a better life. A Junior Library Guild Selection aimed at children ages 7-12, The King of Mulberry Street follows a young immigrant as he fights to overcome the odds and live the American dream. [$15.95; hardcover; 245 pages; Wendy Lamb Books]

Giovanna's 86 Circles
by Paola Corso

These ten short stories are set in working-class river towns near Pittsburgh and have as their main characters Italian American women and girls. All begin ordinary stories that take an unpredictable twist, making every one truly original. A high school girl discovers she can see the future while in the title story, a developer finds his wrecking ball is no match for Giovanna's green thumb. [$21.95; hardcover; 144 pages; University of Wisconsin Press]

Salone Italiano
by Kay Niemann

Historical detail and rich drama are found in the story of the Sartore family, who immigrated to Colorado at the turn of the last century. Based almost entirely on about 150 letters written by family members to their relatives in Piedmont, the author follows the family from their arrival in 1903 to 1940. Includes historic photographs of these Colorado pioneers. [$16.95; paperback; 264 pages; Western Reflections Publishing Company]

Spring 2006 Selections

On the Road with Francis of Assisi: A timeless journey through Umbria and Tuscany, and Beyond
by Linda Bird Francke

For more than 20 years, Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) crisscrossed Italy and the Mid-East on his way to sainthood. Now you can follow in his footsteps with this travelogue that combines medieval history and contemporary Italy. The spoiled son of a rich merchant, Francis wasted his youth, was captured in a war with Pisa and finally undergoes a religious conversion, embracing poverty. Author Francke visits all the towns and villages where the Saint performed his miracles and recounts the many stories about this extraordinary man and his times. [$25.95; hardcover; 288 pages; Random House]

History on the Road: The Painted Carts of Sicily
by Marcella Croce and Miora F. Harris

The first book ever published in English about the painted carts of Sicily, History on the Road explores the history, art and cultural significance of these decorated carretti that once traveled Sicily's country roads by the thousands, carrying passengers, food, wine and other cargo.

In the two centuries since their creation, Sicilian carts have been decorated with everything from images of the saints, Charlemagne and his knights to opera scenes, Napoleon, Columbus and even Mussolini. The book also features which museums have the best examples and where to buy the carts. Richly illustrated with more than 100 photographs and designs. [$19.95; paperback; 140 pages; Pogo Press]

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Italian History and Culture
by Gabrille Euvino with Michael San Filippo

Did you know that in Italy today more women than men are in college and in the workforce? Or that the structure of the Electoral College used to elect the U.S. president can be traced to the Roman republic? These and other interesting facts are in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Italian History and Culture. It begins with the Romans and Etruscans and ends with inspiring stories of Italian immigrants and their cultural impact on America. A good reference book for all things Italian. [$18.95; paperback; 408 pages; Alpha]

Also Worth Reading

The Spear of Lepanto: The Papal Prize
by Leon J. Radomile

This adventure novel, set in Italy, presents Leonardo Radolowick, a 16th century "Indiana Jones," searching for the spear that pierced the crucified Christ-a sacred relic that Pope Pius V believes will decide the fate of Christian Europe fighting the Ottoman Turks in 1570. [$19.95; paperback; 335 pages; Vincero Enterprises: 415-883-1545]

Home to Italy
by Peter Pezzelli

In this novel of loss and renewal set in Abruzzo, Peppi leaves the home he made in Rhode Island after losing his wife and heads back to Italy and his childhood village. There he's reunited with his best friend, meets a fiery new woman and, with help from family, friends and Italy's legendary zest for life, gets a second chance at happiness. [$14.00; paperback; 274 pages; Kensington Publishing Corporation]

Beyond Bagheria
by E.P. Vallone

In 1918, the deadly Spanish flu swept through the Sicilian town of Bagheria, leaving young Isabella an orphan. In desperate straits, she accepts a marriage proposal that brings her to New Orleans and involves her in a whirlpool of greed, power and prejudice. Based on a true story, this young immigrant learns her dreams are very different from the reality of life in America. [$19.95; paperback; 206 pages; PublishAmerica]

Summer 2006 Selections

Falling Palace: A Romance of Naples
by Dan Hofstadter

It was founded 2,500 years ago by the Ancient Greeks, was once the culture capital of Europe and became a battleground during World War II, when its citizens drove the Nazis out. Small wonder that Naples and its charming, eccentric people have thoroughly captivated writer and New Yorker contributor Dan Hofstadter. Through his stories and vivid descriptions, Hofstadter captures both the allure and sorrow of Naples and the Neapolitans. [$24.00; hardcover; 247 pages; Knopf]

The Stonecutter's Aria
by Carol Faenzi

The true story of Aristide Giovannoni, a stone carver from Carrara with a passion for opera, is the basis for this novel, which, like an opera, is divided into three acts that span over 100 years. It begins with Aristide's 30-day crossing to America in the early 1900s on a ship where "disease, exhaustion and fear clung to us like our wrinkled and filthy clothes," and ends in the present with his great-granddaughter, the author of the novel. [$16.95; paperback; 314 pages; Aperto Books. To order: 800/345-6665]

Sometimes I Dream in Italian
by Rita Ciresi

Angelina ("Angel") and Lina Lupo rebel against the rigid Old World values of their immigrant Italian parents as they seek their own road to happiness and success in this series of inter-connected short stories about second-generation immigrant children and their conflicts.In her honest, vivid and often funny description of life in a traditional working class Italian family, Ciresi examines what it means to be an Italian American woman in America with its paralyzing freedom and disturbing lack of moral guidelines. [$23.95; hardcover; 209 pages; Delacorte Press]

Also Worth Reading

The Innocent
by Magdalen Nabb

Salvatore Guarnaccia, a Sicilian detective living in Florence, attempts to solve the murder of a Japanese woman, mysteriously found floating in a fountain in the Boboli Gardens. After identifying the victim, he uncovers her dramatic escape from her homeland while suspicion of guilt falls on one of his colleagues in this novel that is both a social commentary on modern Italy and an entertaining crime story. [$22.00; hardcover; 240 pages; Soho Crime]

Penny From Heaven
by Jennifer L. Holm

Inspired by Newbery Honor winner Jennifer Holm's own Italian American family, Penny from Heaven is a heartwarming book for pre-teens age 9-12 that reveals a lot about what keeps families together or tears them apart. It's the summer of 1953. Penny Falucci, 11 going on 12, lives with her American mother and grandparents, but she has an open invitation to visit her father's Italian family, who refuse to talk about his death. [$14.00; hardcover; 288 pages; Random House]

Sebastiano: A Sicilian Legacy
by Connie Mandracchia DeCaro

Both an historical novel and a love story, the saga of Sebastiano, an iron worker, and Costanza, an aristocrat, is set against the background of the historical events that led to Sicily unifying with Italy in 1860. [$14.95; paperback; 232 pages; Legas]

Fall 2006 Selections

By Beppe Severgnini

Italian newspaper columnist and author of the memoir Ciao, America! Beppo Severgnini, delights readers once again with his funny observances on Italy and her people in this his latest book which roughly translates as "Making a Good Impression."

Organized as a tour of both Italy and its lifestyle, his "guide" includes such insights as, "An Italian red light doesn't warn or order as much as provide an invitation for reflection."

Ten days, thirty places. From north to south and from food to politics, Severgnini's guide will help you understand why Italy "can have you fuming and then purring all in the space of hundred meters or ten minutes." [$23.95; hardcover; 240 pages; Broadway]

Alive on the Andrea Doria! The Greatest Sea Rescue in History
by Pierette Domenica Simpson

It's been 50 years since Pierette Domenica Simpson was one of 1,660 passengers who survived the wreck of the Andrea Doria. Forty-six were not so lucky the night of July 25, 1956 when the MS Stockholm mysteriously rammed into the Italian luxury liner, which sank 11 hours later.

Simpson, who was 9 at the time, is the first to publish an eyewitness account of the collision and sea rescue. Through interviews with other survivors and nautical experts she reveals who was to blame for the collision of two huge ships on a clear summer night off the shore of Nantucket. [$18.00; paperback; 312 pages; Purple Mountain Press]

Road to Robes: A Federal Judge Recollects Young Years & Early Times
by Ruggero J. Aldisert

This autobiography tells the fascinating journey through life taken by Federal Judge Ruggero Aldisert. The son of an Italian immigrant who, as a teenager, made his own way to America, Aldisert begins with a first- person account of life as an Italian boy during the 1920's in Western Pennsylvania.

It is chock-full of must-read chapters, including a childhood experience with the KKK (who would have thought they went after Italian immigrants in Pennsylvania?!). He survives and goes on to law school and a legal career at a time when relatively few Italian Americans even went to college. His narrative includes exciting accounts of criminal trials and insights into high level corporate legal issues. [22.95; paperback; 444 pages; Authorhouse]

Also Worth Reading

The Lonesome Cobbler
by Anelio F. Conti

World War II was hard on Italian civilians�especially those in rural Italy. In this moving novel, we see the wartime struggles of the peasants in Montelieto, a fictitious town in central Italy. As Mussolini's Fascist regime gains control over Italy and their own town, the people turn to both the local cobbler and parish priest for leadership and survival. [$22.95; hardcover; 342 pages; Vantage Press]

In the Gathering Woods
by Adria Bernardi

This prize-winning collection of short stories studies the Italian experience from the Renaissance to the present. It opens in 20th century Italy as a child learns from his grandfather how to pick edible mushrooms and how his family has survived over time. It then skips back to the 15th century to a shepherd who longs to be an artist and then across the ocean to America as it explores how human nature finds the tools to survive life's challenges-with an Italian flair. [$14.00; paperback; 256 pages; University of Pittsburg Press]

Spring 2003 Selections

Under the Southern Sun

"Under the Southern Sun"
by Paul Paolicelli (St. Martin's Press; $24.95*; hardcover)

A non-fiction work about the southern Italian values brought here by the early immigrants that help shape today's Italian Americans.

The Italian American

"The Italian American Reader"
Ed. Bill Tonelli (Wm. Morrow; $27.95*; hardcover)

The first mainstream hardcover anthology of 68 contemporary Italian American writers of fiction and non-fiction.

Big Stone Gap

"Big Stone Gap"
by Adriana Trigiani (Ballantine Books; $12.95*; paperback)

A novel about Ave Maria Mulligan, an Italian American woman in a Virginia mining town in the 1970s, who discovers a family secret about her Italian roots.

Street Boys

"Street Boys"
by Lorenzo Carcaterra (Ballantine Books; $25.95*; hardcover)

A fictionalized version of a true episode during World War II when the people of Naples, including the street urchins or scugnizzi, drove the Nazis out of their city.

Summer 2003 Selections

Bread and Respect

BREAD AND RESPECT: THE ITALIANS OF LOUISIANA
By A. V. Margavio & Jerome J. Salomone

Nearly 100,000 Sicilian immigrants settled in New Orleans between 1898 and 1929. The eight chapters in this well-documented history each tackles one yearning, hunger or hope that these immigrants felt as they struggled in the new world and explains the historical and social circumstances connected to those feelings. Includes biographical sketches, personal stories, and fact-based fictional vignettes. [$25; hardcover; 320 pages; Pelican Publishing Co.]

Italian Women

ITALIAN WOMEN IN BLACK DRESSES
By Maria Mazziotti Gillan

The 68 poems and prose vignettes in this slim book capture in simple, powerful and unforgettable language life's delights, disappointments and "little moments." In "After School on Ordinary Days," for example, Gillan remembers her family playing cards by a warm stove as the wind rattled the windows. "...we, inside, tucked in, warm and together on ordinary days that we didn't know until we looked back across a distance of forty years would glow and shimmer in memory's flickering light."

Poet Gillan founded and directs the respected Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College in her native New Jersey. This is her seventh collection of poetry. [$13; softcover; 142 pages; Guernica Editions.]

DiMaggio

DIMAGGIO: SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
By Morris Engelberg & Marv Schneider

A hero to millions of boys and men in life, after his death in 1999 at age 84, at least one unflattering and unauthorized biography appeared on the best-seller list. Now DiMaggio's attorney and close friend Morris Engelberg and sportswriter Marv Schneider share their recollections of this complex legend and capture the strengths and frailties of the man America called "the Yankee Clipper." [$24.95; hardcover; 420 pages; MBI Publishing]

Fall 2003 Selections

LIVING LA DOLCE VITA
by Raeleen D'Agostino Mautner, Ph.D.

A self-help book about how living like an Italian can lead to a more balanced life. Mautner offers suggestions through personal stories, anecdotes and the history of Italian culture, including a chapter on the Mediterranean diet. [$14.95; soft cover; 245 pages; Sourcebooks, Inc.]

FIGS AND OTHER ADVENTURES IN CALABRIA
by Mark Rotella.

Tracing his family's roots back to Calabria, Rotella visits his homeland and learns of its rich history, charming customs and deepest secrets. [$25; soft cover; 303 pages; North Point Press]

UMBERTINA
by Helen Barolini.

This classic novel, first published 20 years ago, spans four generations, beginning with the Italian peasant girl, Umbertina in the 1860s and ending with her great-granddaughter in New York City, almost 100 years later. [$18.95; soft cover; 453 pages; The Feminist Press]