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Ciao America's Books for Your Italian-American Bookcase

The new CiaoAmerica! Book Club is dedicated to bringing you the best works of interest to Italian Americans--books by authors of Italian heritage or about Italian history, culture, cooking, entertainment, current events, and other categories.

  • To order, click on the "Buy from amazon.com" button next to each book.

  • CiaoAmerica is an Amazon.com Associate. When you purchase any of our choices from amazon.com, CiaoAmerica! gets a small percentage of the sale price. This revenue (we have not seen, yet) helps build the CiaoAmerica! website.

  • Favorite books published in 2011


Green, White, Red: The Italian-American Success Story

by Dominic J. Pulera

With a wealth of detail and solid facts, author Pulera shows how the Italian immigrants and their descendants in the U.S. overcame poverty and discrimination to achieve success over the last 100 years. Pulera interviewed hundreds of people around the globe to learn about their experiences and perspectives on Italian-American culture. By examining the history of Italian Americans, insights can be drawn that apply to current discussions of immigration. [$29.95; hardcover; 455 pages; L'Italo Americano Press]



American Passage: The History of Ellis Island
by Vincent J. Cannato

Among the many books about immigration written in recent years, this one overlooks nothing in telling the historic tale of Ellis Island, now a national monument. Historian Vincent Cannato, wrote USA Today, is not only “a meticulous researcher and historian, he’s also a lively storyteller. A rare combination.”


The First Family: Terror, Extortion, Revenge, Murder, and the Birth of the American Mafia

by Mike Dash

The First Family introduces us to Giuseppe Morello, an immigrant with a mustache and a claw-like right hand. By 1911, Morello had established himself as the American Mafia’s first “boss of all bosses.” According to the Globe and Mail, the book is worth reading for style alone:“It is a perfect example of literary historical nonfiction.

For Grace Received

by Valeria Parrella

Modern-day Naples is a city teeming with contradictions, a chaotic metropolis in which modernity collides with history, a frenetic port city whose inhabitants are as volatile and as contrary as the city itself. From this rough mix Valeria Parrella has drawn the four exceptional novellas that comprise For Grace Received. Here is a portrait of a Naples spanning past and present: the end of the era of tobacco smuggling and the unrestrained spread of hard drugs; the vivacity of the traditional extended family and the crushing solitude of countless anonymous loners; the fortitude of young men and women forced to make ends meet while their parents serve time, and the long, hard haul of single mothers as they attempt to bring up their kids amidst violence and despair. In Valeria Parrella's Naples, life, love and happiness must all be pursued with passion, or not at all.

The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompei Lost and Found

by Mary Beard

Cambridge University professor Mary Beard sets out to dispel old notions of Pompeii as a city frozen in time, a Roman town waiting to be discovered. Beard argues that over the course of history, Pompeii has been “disrupted and disturbed, evacuated and pillaged,” and that it “bears the marks (and the scars) of all kinds of different histories.” As Beard points out, Pompeii had already been disfigured by an earthquake 17 years before the eruption of Vesuvius. And, over the years, the city has been damaged by looters and crude excavators, not be mention the bombing it received in World War II. This book is a wonderful, detailed tour of the old city, stripped of tourist brochure claims.

How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower

by Adrian Goldsworthy

Starting with the death of Marcus Aurelius in 180 AD, Goldsworthy, who previously wrote an historical biography called Caesar: Life of a Colossus, turns his focus to the forces leading to the destruction of the Roman Empire. The British historian argues that what caused Rome to fall were not its eternal enemies but civil disturbances and a national paranoia that destroyed it from within. But he draws no parallels to modern superpowers, believing that modern dynamics differ greatly from those of ancient times.

La Bella Lingua

by Dianne Hales

The sub-title of this valentine to the Italian language is: My Love Affair with Italian, the World’s Most Enchanting Language. Veteran writer Hales has made it her life’s mission to learn to speak fluent Italian and her passion for the language is infectious and instructional, as she explains the cultural connotations of Italian words

A New Language, A New World
Italian Immigrants in the United States 1890-1945

by Nancy Carnevale
Carnevale, an assistant professor at Montclair State College in N.J., uses language to arrive at a different end: to learn about Italian immigrants in the U.S., how language shaped them and how it structured their encounter with their new homeland. The seed for the book was planted in Carnevale as a young girl on a visit to her parents’ hometown of Pettoranello in Molise as she observed how her parents switched from dialect to Italian to a hybrid combined with English. This book should appeal to many Italian Americans who have had similar experiences.




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