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posted Nov 13, 2010, 5:50 PM by Tom Layton   [ updated Nov 13, 2010, 6:35 PM ]
November/December 2009

The Journey of the Italians in America
  
Reviewed by Dominic Candeloro    all rights reserved 
   
This hefty book deserves a place next to “The Italian American Experience: An Encyclopedia.” Scarpaci has gone far beyond the usual Italian American communities like New York, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia to bring us the stories of Italians in Denver, Portland, and San Francisco. The book goes beyond the usual stereotyping of Italians as urban workers in the section “The Italians and the Land”. Here Scarpaci talks about Italian migrant workers and the agricultural ventures of Italians in Portland, Oregon; and the vintners of California.  

The book effectively uses some color photographs and the enamel paper stock enables good reproduction on most of the black and white pictures. However, I was disappointed in the low quality of some of the older photographs and sometimes the quantity of the caption text overpowered the images. Most challenging are the sections on “Italian American Issues” and “Where is out Heritage?” Here Scarpaci explores the meaning of Columbus, negative stereotypes, the mafia stereotype, and the future of Italianita in America. As more scholars and families preserve and research the Italian experience, future generations will gain an appreciation for how their ancestors’ journeys in North America continue to shape their lives. This photographic encyclopedia that Scarpaci has given us will aid us on that journey.

Dominic Candeloro is Library Curator at the Casa Italia Chicago
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