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Un Italiano in America

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3.39  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,233 Ratings  ·  150 Reviews
Il libro è il diario di un anno trascorso a Georgetown, il vecchio quartiere di Washington. Beppe Severgnini guida il lettore attraverso i primi dubbi (perché non abbassano l'aria condizionata?) e le prime risposte (perché gli piace così?), descrivendo le molte sorprese della vita quotidiana: le scaramucce...
Paperback, 268 pages
Published 2003 by Rizzoli (first published 1995)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,967)
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Laura
Oct 15, 2012 Laura rated it liked it
This is the first adult-level book I’ve ever completed in Italian, so I’m sure I missed some of the subtleties and the humor, but I chose to read it because 1) an Italian friend gave it to me and 2) because I’ve just completed the inverse of Severgnini’s premise: my first year as an American in Italy.

The book is light and episodic. Italians will find it funny that Americans keep their buildings as cold as a refrigerator in the summer, and that Italians like to complain about it. Severgnini is fa
...more
Jennifer Moore
Apr 22, 2011 Jennifer Moore rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
After living in Naples for three years, the first couple of chapters of this book made me laugh out loud, read parts aloud to my husband, and then laugh again with him. As Joe put it "It's like the inverse of every conversation we had moving there." He's amazed at how easy it is to set up a phone line - only funny if you've waited months and eventually bribed somebody to get yours hooked up. He comments that watching Americans stay in their lanes and drive the speed limit on the highway is "surr ...more
Anne
Jul 22, 2013 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recommend this book for anyone who wants some insight into how someone from another culture views some aspects of our everyday life. It is a very funny book. However, it is a bit dated, since it was written in 1995.
Eccentrika
Oct 27, 2014 Eccentrika rated it liked it
Shelves: adult, non-fiction, humor
Un libro molto carino e divertente, adatto a tutti coloro che vorrebbero andare negli Stati Uniti e che sognano davanti ai loro telefilm. Certo, il libro è del '95 e le parti riguardanti la tecnologia informatica sono ormai superatissime anche qui in Italia e non si può fare a meno di sorridere di fronte (ad esempio) all'incredulità di Severgnini davanti a chi fa shopping online (io ne fatto ormai così tanto che mi è venuto a noia...) e a chi scrive sui Social Network (abitudine quotidiana della ...more
Liz
The concept of this book -- an Italian and his wife move to America for a year to study the culture -- is the reverse of the ever-popular situation in which the American goes to Italy and does the same thing, which is why it interested me. I was reminded of I'm A Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson, which is an awesome book and provided lots of laughs and witty observations about American culture from an outsider. Unfortunately, I think Bill Bryson did a far better job of it. This book started o ...more
Callie S.
Sep 26, 2013 Callie S. rated it really liked it
Leggere Severgnini è, per me, l’occasione di ricordare ogni volta come possa intrattenersi con intelligenza un lettore e conquistarlo grazie a una penna agile, arguta, mai eccessiva e prossima, anzi, alla precisione chirurgica del bisturi.
Severgnini racconta, ma soprattutto interpreta, l’America degli anni Novanta; lo fa con l’arguzia irriverente del terzo osservatore, senza presunzioni di stampo sociologico. Ne viene una cronaca di vita appassionante e anche un godibile documentario letterario,
...more
Becca Darling
After graduation my love affair with Italy continues. This is not the Italian version, as I don't think I could make heads or tails... But I'm loving it so far!
Larry Hostetler
Jun 28, 2016 Larry Hostetler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I found this in the travel section of my library. In that regard I was mislead. It is not essentially a travel book.

But it is an enjoyable one. The account of Severgnini's year-long stint in the U.S. (primarily in Washington, D.C.) is more about the American people and how they are different from Italians and the British (where he had previously lived).

Written in the 1990s with a final chapter on what he found five years later on a return visit, the book is an observation on how America lives,
...more
Amy
Nov 01, 2008 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: travellers
Recommended to Amy by: Read It and Eat
So fascinating to see America through the eyes of a foreigner living here. Having lived overseas, I thought I had a broader perspective on life in the States, but I'm still an American, so I apparently can't totally remove myself from the picture. I think the author basically likes American culture, but sometimes it was a little hard to tell. Excellent read, if you can handle having our great country's lesser points highlighted at times.

Stories
Sep 22, 2014 Stories rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Blog Stories Review: http://storiesbooksandmovies.blogspot...


La scoperta dell’America – che resta una faccenda complicata, come fu quella originale – non dipende dalle miglia percorse in automobile, o dal numero degli Stati visitati. L’America si scopre attraverso i dettagli.”


"Hai scoperto l'America!" voi direte ora. Eh sì, solo ora scopro questo titolo. L'importante, però, è non lasciarselo sfuggire. Dopotutto gli Stati Uniti rimarranno sempre interessanti, avvolti in quell'alone di mistero e d
...more
Antonia
Jul 28, 2015 Antonia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I gave this book to mom before she went to Italy, and now read it myself before, during and after my trip there. It was so interesting to be experiencing the perspectives of the author as I read the book. His observations and thoughts on things like air conditioning, and the way people drive or go to a garage sale, are things that we may not think about directly as Americans. When they are contrasted by the ways people do them in Italy, well, his points seem spot on. I enjoyed this book very muc ...more
Christy
This book is fun to read if you've just come back from Italy and people are asking you "what's different over there?" That sounds like a dumb question, but it kind of is one of the best things you can ask someone who's just traveled to another country. It's all the little things you'd never think of, and you almost don't even notice them because sometimes they're quite subtle. The more I've traveled, the more I've realized we're all human and we're all basically the same (yeah, yeah, nothing new ...more
Sara
May 06, 2013 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK, so I'm prejudiced. I read this right after returning from Italy, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's been criticized for being dated - it describes 1994-95 in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., which made me nostalgic since I left that area in 1995 after 5 happy years of prowling around DC on weekends. Sure, a lot has changed since then, but Americans are still obsessed with air-conditioning, ice, recliners, infinite choice when it comes to processed snack foods (although maybe we've gotten a touch ...more
Susan
Jan 30, 2010 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm just about done and probably will eventually finish it, but I have to push myself. I'm just not finding it very humorous or as interesting as I expected it to be. (The author pales in comparison to Bill Bryson.) He just doesn't "sound" like any Italian I've met (warm, funny, charming) and I've been to Italy 5x. What I found annoying were the obscure, rarely used English words ie perfidious ferrago. I often look up words I don't know the meaning of but I didn't bother this time, thinking i'll ...more
Gwen
Sep 18, 2012 Gwen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gwen by: browsing at the library
Shelves: biography-memoir
My biggest complaint with this book is the title--An Italian Discovers Georgetown might be better, as the book very rarely ventures outside that neighborhood and the bizarre idiosyncrasies of Washingtonian life. (Although when it does, the author's experience of non-elite American life is fascinating, if sobering.) Also, his knowledge of Washingtonian life outside the Georgetown bubble was lacking; a previous reader of my library copy assiduously crossed out every reference to "North Virginia," ...more
Agatha
Jan 04, 2012 Agatha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd say this book would be more aptly called CIAO, WASHINGTON DC or even more pertinently CIAO, GEORGETOWN b/c it's written by an Italian journalist who lives in G'town from '93-'94. His observations and insights about what he sees and the people whom he meets are hilarious, but I'm just not sure they can be extended to represent all of America. It was a pretty narrowly defined experience, mostly in DC, the suburbs, and a few other areas nearby on Eastern seaboard (such as Ocean City, MD) (verrr ...more
Michael
Aug 27, 2007 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. The comments he provides about his time in the U.S. are priceless. The book is a classic example of someone from another culture entering a foreign country and providing keen insight into both his native and host cultures. Here are a couple of fun observations/comments:

The Weather: “[In Britain] talking about the weather is a way of looking forward to the discomforts it will bring. In the logical United States, it’s a damage-limitation strategy.”

On Waiters: [American wa
...more
Nadia
Jan 29, 2015 Nadia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading it in 2015, this book has the disadvantage of being rather outdated as it is from 1995. I still enjoyed reading it to see what an Italian thought about the U.S. culture at the time, but the world has changed a lot since then.
Another issue that I have with this non-fiction book is that I don't really see what it's trying to achieve. Each chapter focuses more or less on one topic - such as the topic of camper vans or shopping in Safeway or the differences between British and American Engl
...more
Valentino Spataro
Dec 14, 2011 Valentino Spataro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dovendo provare la lettura su ipad e kindle di qualcosa di leggero mi sono lanciato su questo testo, che sembra un classico.
Un po' annoiato ho iniziato a gustarlo sul kindle, abbandonando l'ipad dopo pochissimo. E mi sono trovato ad andare al bar con il Kindle per leggerlo ancora.
Ti aiuta a guardare dentro. Ti fa sorridere. Ti tiene compagnia. Ti sembra di essere accanto a lui quando la sera, accanto al camino, ti racconto cosa gli e' successo quel mese.
Mese dopo mese. Dall'innamoramento all'ins
...more
Samantha
I loved the observations that Severgnini made of Americans and believe that, for the most part, he did a good job to keep from making gross generalizations. I read this book while in Italy and made for a great comparison/conversation point with Italians. Although the audience is clearly Italians, I did my fair share of laughing at how incredibly normal some of the sketches were.

I only have a few notes/complains. The first is with the translation. I didn't read the Italian version, but Giles Wat
...more
Frank Inserra
Dec 07, 2014 Frank Inserra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this book enormously. Although some critics have lamented the author's fascination with the mundane dimension of American day-to-day and street life, that is really what enlivens the book and makes it real. I think It is a much broader commentary on the perils and joys of America than its plot summary would reveal.
Dani
Feb 27, 2014 Dani rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Second time through this book. Lots of fun insights into American way of life. This time through it felt much more dated and irrelevant but that is the fault of technology taking off and leaving the 90's and early 2000s in its dust. But when he talks about people and observations between cultures, that is quite interesting.
Cindy May
Figured if we're going to Italy later this year, it's probably good to know ahead of time what the Italians think of us (Americans).

It's certainly an interesting, and very true, but not surprising look at Americans. Still, an easy read and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.
Ensiform
Dec 23, 2011 Ensiform rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Translated by Giles Watson. A light-hearted look at American mores and foibles from an Italian journalist. He finds himself amazed by the efficiency of American bureaucracy and telephones, encouraged by shop clerks’ smiling helpfulness, and bemused by such American institutions as the pancake house, political correctness, and love of pointless gadgetry.

It’s not exactly hilarious stuff, but it’s intelligent and informed, and Severgnini obviously has a lot of affection for the New World, despite o
...more
Sunny
Jan 01, 2015 Sunny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: living-abroad
He mostly writes about the DC area, which, given the number of internationals living there (diplomats, military, etc) is not entirely representative of the us. Still, amusing, especially if read in concert with a book on an American living in Italy!
Peter
Jan 17, 2015 Peter rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book definitely has its amusing moments, but it becomes somewhat repetitive, craving the strong pen of a good editor. Additionally, while the humor may have been spot on in 1995 (pre mainstream Internet), it is a bit dated.
Andrea Patrick
This was written in the late 90s, so it's very dated, and that colored my opinion of it. I expected to like this book and laugh a lot, but I was disappointed. Severgnini spent a year in the Georgetown neighborhood of D.C. and extrapolates that this is what Americans are like. As someone who grew up in South Dakota, moved to Colorado for college, and then to Texas, I learned that regional differences can be very large. Not very many things rang true for me.

Severgnini also seems to write for an I
...more
Brian
This had been sitting on my shelf for years due to my wife’s reading it years ago. An amusing if disposable account of an Italian living in mid ‘90’s America for one year. Interesting from the perspective of a European finding the u.s. private industry more impressive that European bureaucracy. This of course seems dated as it was written before cell phones were available in wide use, and when internet usage was still in it’s infancy.

Some funny asides on the ridiculousness of freezing air condi
...more
Howard Mansfield
May 20, 2013 Howard Mansfield rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Howard by: howard@howardmansfield.com
In the early 1990s, Italian journalist Beppe Severgnini lived in Georgetown for a year. His account is frothy and funny. He is amused by our over-consumption, our obsession with ice and air conditioning, and America’s “sheer predictability.” While he is not on the hunt for inequality and the great failure of the American Dream, he has the visitor’s keen eye for what we might miss. Observing a poor family at the shore, he writes, “The mere fact of being American – even when America has given you ...more
Bia
Oct 08, 2015 Bia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
This is a quick read and kind of funny. It picks on several American costumes which are quite different to foreigners. Only read this is you need something very light. It is really not that great.
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Giuseppe "Beppe" Severgnini (born December 26, 1956) is an Italian journalist, writer and columnist.

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