The Boston Italians
A Story of Pride, Perseverance, and Paesani, from Theyears of the Great Immigration to the Present Day
By Stephen Puleo
Beacon Press (MA), Paperback, 9780807050378, 323pp.
Publication Date: May 2008
List Price: $19.00*
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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. Focusing on this first and crucial Italian enclave in Boston, Puleo describes the experience of Italian immigrants as they battled poverty, illiteracy, and prejudice; explains their transformation into Italian Americans during the Depression and World War II; and chronicles their rich history in Boston up to the present day.
Drawing extensively on the files of La Gazzetta as well as the personal papers of its legendary editor and publisher, James V. Donnaruma, and on his own family's memories, Puleo has crafted an unsparing, but mostly admiring, account of a colorful and vibrant community as it battled for social acceptance and political recognition.—Michael Kenney, Boston Sunday Globe
"As you flip the pages of The Boston Italians, you can practically smell the sauce simmering on the stove. It's not a dull history lesson but a narrative underdog tale of what Puleo calls the 'real story' of those early southern Italian immigrants."—Dana Barbuto, Patriot Ledger
"At long last, a historically accurate and well-crafted history of the Italian community that flourished in Boston’s North End. Drawing upon original documents, as well as anecdotes from the lives of his own family, Stephen Puleo has produced a work that is a great read for the generalist and a gold mine of information for the specialist."—Thomas H. O’Connor, university historian at Boston College and author of The Boston Irish
"An inspiring contribution not only to the history of the city, but to the story of America. Part elegy, part paean, The Boston Italians is a compelling document that honors the generations of immigrants who inspired it."—Christopher Castellani, author of The Saint of Lost Things
"[Puleo] has written a book that moves along like a fast-paced novel . . . Truly a magnificent work." —Primo Magazine