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CANNISTRARO, Philip V. and Gerald MEYER, eds., The Lost World of Italian-American Radicalism: Politics, Labor, and Culture
Article published on 4 April 2011

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Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2003), 346 pages. ISBN: 0-27597-892-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-27597-892-1.

The entire range of radical thought and activity of Italian immigrants and their descendants in the United States is explored.

Publisher’s presentation

Radicalism had a powerful but largely unacknowledged influence in the Italian-American community. This study brings together 16 selections that restore to Italian-American history the radical experience that has long remained suppressed, but that nevertheless helped shape both the Italian-American community and the American left. The detailed introduction by the volume editors interprets the overall history of Italian-American radicalism and offers extensive bibliographical references on the topic, which the volume editors organize into three sections: labor, politics, and culture. A concluding selection relates the radicalism of Italian Americans to that in other Italian immigrant communities.

In the section on labor, Rudolph Vecoli, among others, traces the rise and decline of radicalism within the Italian-American working class, and Jennifer Guglielmo breaks new ground in uncovering the involvement of Italian American women in the radical movements. In politics, Paul Avrich unveils the violent reaction of anarchists in the United States to the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti, and Jackie DiSalvo identifies Father James Groppi as the most important white leader in the Civil Rights movement. On culture, Julia Lisella, Mary Jo Bono, and Edvige Guinta present pioneering interpretive studies on the work of Italian-American women in literature.

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