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The Anarchist Bastard: And Other Tales of Italian American Life (Excelsior Editions)
I was born in 1944, but raised in the twelfth century. With that, Joanna Clapps Herman neatly describes the two worlds she inhabited while growing up as the child of Italian American immigrants in Waterbury, Connecticut, a place embedded with values closer to Homer s Greece than to Anglo-American New England, where the ethic of hospitality was and still is more Middle East ...more
Hardcover, 250 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by State University of New York Press
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I felt like I was reading my family's story as I read The Anarchist Bastard. Herman captures the nuances of southern Italian American life in the suburban 50's. She goes beyond the stereotypes to show generations of a loving but, at times, violent family, how events and superstitions shape their lives and what the current generation had to reconcile to live in " 'Merica". I suspect any one from an ethnic background can relate to this memoir of both preserving a heritage and overcoming its "15th ...more
This is a memoir that shakes you--at least it shook me--because of the violence of the men toward their wives and families, and because Herman's family comes from the same part of Italy as mine does--Basilicatta, the part of the country between the heel and the boot. Her journey from being a nice Italian girl from Connecticut to becoming a New York intellectual of considerable ability is a model of the American ethnic success story. It's full of anger, sadness, and humor, and in the end makes yo ...more
brave words. one woman's take on her family, claiming what century she felt she truly grew up in. astute recall of the translation of southern italian cultural ways into American rural life. The narrator witnesses how tin foil changes the family's culture; how the family socializes at night and tries to say goodbye; what the very ancient roots of hospitality are. entertaining. a fun and provocative read.