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The Boston Italians: A Story of Pride, Perseverance, and Paesani, from the Years of the Great Immigration to the Present Day
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The Boston Italians: A Story of Pride, Perseverance, and Paesani, from the Years of the Great Immigration to the Present Day

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  97 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
In this lively and engaging history, Stephen Puleo tells the story of the Boston Italians from their earliest years, when a largely illiterate and impoverished people in a strange land recreated the bonds of village and region in the cramped quarters of the North End: Sicilians lived next to Sicilians, Avellinesi among Avellinesi, and so on.

Focusing on this first and cruci
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Beacon Press (first published 2007)
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Apr 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Good book, relatively slow-paced and filled with excellent research. Sadly, the proud final chapter about Sal DiMasi and Bob Travaglini have been sullied by their subsequent charges of wrongdoing, just the point that Puleo was trying to contradict. But at least Tom Menino has not gone down in flames, and there are many wonderful portraits of noble Italians. I am psyched for our Bocce Bel Canto End Term!
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Italo-philes everywhere...
Shelves: ipad, non-fiction

“The grueling work Italians performed belied a common legend that had traveled from America to Italy, causing one immigrant to remark: “I came to America because I heard the streets were paved with gold. When I got here, I found out three things: first, the streets weren’t paved with gold; second, they weren’t paved at all; and third, I was expected to pave them.’ “—page 93

When I was a boy growing up on the East Coast in the 1950s, the Italians were one of the
Jun 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic historical account peppered with autobiographical vignettes of the author's family's immigration and assimilation experience in Boston's historic North End. I had only read briefly about the case of Sacco and Vanzetti in my high school and college history courses, but Mr. Puleo did a fine job of setting the stage and elucidating on the context of anarchy and the start of the "Red Scare" in the United States. There were many points of interest that I had only heard brief menio ...more
Stephanie Luce
Jan 04, 2016 rated it liked it
A riveting account of the Italian experience in Boston, particularly in the North End. I was a bit disappointed that there was no mention of my great-grandfather, Ignazio Gallo, one of the founders of St. Joseph's Feast Day in the North End. Neither was there any mention of my grandmother's uncle, Salvatore Giambarresi and his wife, Anna Porter Giambarresi and the work they did with and for the Italian immigrants at the turn of the twentieth century.
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
While this book doesn't have a lot of negative things to say about the Boston Italians, and glazes over the subject of Fascism in the North End despite the editor of the Gazette, a main character in his narrative, being a Fascist sympathizer who was investigated by the FBI, this is an otherwise useful local history.
Jul 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
An interesting overview of Italian immigration into the North End of Boston in the early part of the century. It acts as a pretty good microcosm of Italian immigration in a number of other places - I could see a lot of parallels to the stories of my parents from Central NJ. Also brings to light how much discrimination Italians faced in the early part of the last century.
Feb 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, non-fiction
Anyone with Italian ancestors, or immigrant ancestors (I guess that's the majority of Americans), should read this book. It offers a great perspective on the life of an American immigrant and the hardships they endured for a better life!
Sep 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the profiles of the Italian-American community in Boston. However the profiles of prominent Italian Americans, especially the modern ones, were bland, laudatory and avoided mention of any controversy.
Feb 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: boston, nonfiction
I loved the first 2/3 of this book. Really interesting stuff about why Italians immigrated, their lack of assimilation, and Americans' perceptions of Italian culture. The last 1/3 is more about Italian-American success in politics, which was much less interesting to me.
Jan 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book since my ancesters were Boston Italians. I could relate to lots of the anecdotes about the different families.
Pat Baratta
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyable. Well writtem, excellent research and fact finding. Made me wish I had spoken more to my father about his jounry to this country.
Great book!
Aug 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-history
Great story of just what it says - the Italian immigrant generation in Boston. Would be of interest to anyone who enjoys the history and cultures of Boston
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Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
So good I had to pass it along to others.
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Stephen Puleo is an author, historian, university teacher, public speaker, and communications professional. His six narrative nonfiction works include:
• American Treasures: The Secret Efforts to Save the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Gettysburg Address (fall 2016)
The Caning: The Assault That Drove America to Civil War (2012)
• A City So Grand: The Rise of an American Metro
More about Stephen Puleo