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   -- CIAO AMERICA IS AN INDEPENDENT NEWS MAGAZINE FOR ITALIAN AMERICANS
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Italian America Books Published in 2011

These books published in 2011 by authors of Italian heritage or about Italian history, culture, cooking, entertainment, current events, and other categories, are sure to be of interest to Italian American and Italics.

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Rome: A Cultural, Visual, and Personal History

by Robert Hughes

From Robert Hughes, one of the greatest art and cultural critics of our time, comes a sprawling, comprehensive, and deeply personal history of Rome—as city, as empire, and, crucially, as an origin of Western art and civilization, two subjects about which Hughes has spent his life writing and thinking. Starting on a personal note, Hughes takes us to the Rome he first encountered as a hungry twenty-one-year-old fresh from Australia in 1959. From that exhilarating portrait, he takes us back more than two thousand years to the city's foundation, one mired in mythologies and superstitions that would inform Rome's development for centuries. From the beginning, Rome was a hotbed of power, overweening ambition, desire, political genius, and corruption. Hughes details the turbulent years that saw the formation of empire and the establishment of the sociopolitical system, along the way providing colorful portraits of all the major figures, both political (Julius Caesar, Marcus Aurelius, Nero, Caligula) and cultural (Cicero, Martial, Virgil), to name just a few. For almost a thousand years, Rome would remain the most politically important, richest, and largest city in the Western world.

 

 

Mondo Agnelli: Fiat, Chrysler, and the Power of a Dynasty
by Jennifer Clark

Fiat is one of the world's largest automakers, but when it made headlines by grabbing control of a bankrupt Chrysler in 2009 it was unknown in the U.S. Fiat's against-all-odds swoop on Chrysler---masterminded by Sergio Marchionne, the Houdini-like manager who saved Fiat from its own near-collapse in 2005 – has made the automaker one of the most unlikely winners of the financial crisis. Mondo Agnelli is a new book that looks at the chain of unpredictable events triggered by the death of Gianni Agnelli in 2003. Gianni, the charismatic, silver-haired power broker and style icon, was the patriarch who had lead the company founded by his grandfather in 1899. But Gianni's own son had committed suicide. Without a mature heir, the dynasty and Fiat were rudderless. Backed by Gianni's closest advisors, his serious, shy, and determined grandson John plucked Marchionne from obscurity. Together, they saved the family company and, inadvertently, positioned Fiat as a global trailblazer when the global storm hit.

 

Finding Justice in Perugia: a follow-up to Injustice in Perugia: a book detailing the wrongful conviction of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito

by Bruce Fisher

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were wrongfully convicted for the murder of Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, becoming trapped in a nightmare that would drag on for 1427 days. During that time a movie was made, books were written, Wikipedia went haywire, online blog wars raged on, journalists were harassed, a rogue prosecutor remained on the job, an Anti-Knox hate group was formed, a grass roots effort became a force to reckon with, a retired FBI Agent raised eyebrows, even Italian politicians chimed in, all while Amanda and Raffaele sat in a prison cell never losing faith that their nightmare would eventually end. Discover the truth about the grass roots movement that helped to free Amanda and Raffaele. Read heartfelt messages from contributors that gave selflessly to help two complete strangers that had been wronged by many. "Finding Justice in Perugia" picks up where "Injustice in Perugia" left off, following the case throughout the appeal, detailing the side shows along the way, leading up to the day that Amanda and Raffaele finally found justice in Perugia.

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Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil

by Tom Mueller

For millennia, fresh olive oil has been one of life's necessities-not just as food but also as medicine, a beauty aid, and a vital element of religious ritual. Today's researchers are continuing to confirm the remarkable, life-giving properties of true extra-virgin, and "extra-virgin Italian" has become the highest standard of quality. But what if this symbol of purity has become deeply corrupt? Starting with an explosive article in The New Yorker, Tom Mueller has become the world's expert on olive oil and olive oil fraud-a story of globalization, deception, and crime in the food industry from ancient times to the present, and a powerful indictment of today's lax protections against fake and even toxic food products in the United States. A rich and deliciously readable narrative, Extra Virginity is also an inspiring account of the artisanal producers, chemical analysts, chefs, and food activists who are defending the extraordinary oils that truly deserve the name "extra-virgin." 25 black-and-white illustrations

 
Molto Batali: Simple Family Meals from My Home to Yours
by Mario Batali

The bestselling author of Molto Italiano and Molto Gusto shares 120 of his favorite seasonal recipes in month-by-month menus perfect for celebrating with family and friends For Mario Batali, privilege is also a responsibility. Dedicated to giving back, the renowned chef believes that sharing is crucial to leading a fulfilling life—especially at the table. That spirit of togetherness is at the heart of Molto Batali, a collection of festive and delicious recipes meant for sharing with friends and family throughout the year. From lush summer salads to hearty winter braises, the seasonal dishes in Molto Batali—all easy to prepare and made with simple ingredients—enliven any dinner table, from a weeknight meal to a holiday celebration. Better yet, the recipes are organized into perfectly paired combinations for stellar meals. Each month features a sumptuous main course such as Leg of Lamb in a Clementine Crust; three toothsome pastas such as Wine-Stained Gemelli with Sausage "Meatballs" and Eggplant; four delectable veggie sides such as SautÉed Rutabagas with Chile, Mint, and Maple; a rustic, flavorful soup such as Green Garlic Soup; and an indulgent dessert such as Nectarine and Black Pepper Cheesecake. The tantalizing recipes in Molto Batali reflect Mario's passion for food and family, his belief in the importance of eating together, and the joy that comes when we share lovingly made meals. This same spirit of community and family informs the charitable work of the Mario Batali Foundation, the mission of which is to feed, protect, educate, and empower children—encouraging them to dream big while providing them with the necessary tools to become an active force for change in today's world.
 

Italy on the Pacific: San Francisco's Italian Americans (Italian and Italian American Studies

by Sebastian Fichera

This book details the Italian immigrant experience in San Francisco from the Gold Rush to the Mayoralty of George Moscone—which is to say the entire life cycle of the Italian community. The concept of community is central and is defined in a way never seen before. The work portrays this immigrant experience within the context of such larger issues as the process of creating Americans in America versus the parallel process of creating Italians in Italy. It concludes that America in general and San Francisco in particular did a better job at creating Americans (out of an Italian emigrant human resource base) than did Italy at creating Italians out of that same type of base. San Francisco's Italian immigrant experience is shown to be the polar opposite of Chicago's. San Francisco's Italian immigrants are shown as reintegrating into the host society fairly smoothly, whereas the Chicago group's assimilation process broke down in dramatic ways. Most Italian immigrant experience falls somewhere in between these two polarities. Another important level of comparison is between the United States as a receiving country and Italy as a sending country and attempts to explain why there was this difference. Overall, this book uses the San Francisco Italian experience as a microcosm of the universal immigrant experience, addressing such questions as what constitutes "community," " national identity", and "assimilation" for any immigrant group, not just Italians.

 
Seeking Sicily: A Cultural Journey Through Myth and Reality in the Heart of the Mediterranean

by John Keahey

Sicily is the Mediterranean's largest and most mysterious island. Its people, for three thousand years under the thumb of one invader after another, hold tightly onto a culture so unique that they remain emotionally and culturally distinct, viewing themselves first as Sicilians, not Italians. Many of these islanders, carrying considerable DNA from Arab and Muslim ancestors who ruled for 250 years and integrated vast numbers of settlers from the continent just ninety miles to the south, say proudly that Sicily is located north of Africa, not south of Italy. Seeking Sicily explores what lies behind the soul of the island's inhabitants. It touches on history, archaeology, food, the Mafia, and politics and looks to nineteenth- and twentieth-century Sicilian authors to plumb the islanders' so-called Sicilitudine. This "culture apart" is best exemplified by the writings of one of Sicily's greatest writers, Leonardo Sciascia. Seeking Sicily also looks to contemporary Sicilians who have never shaken off the influences of their forbearers, who believed in the ancient gods and goddesses.
 

Mafia Inc.: The Long, Bloody Reign of Canada's Sicilian Clan

by Andre Cedilot and, Andre Noel

Queens, New York, 1981. When Alphonse "Sonny Red" Indelicato and two others are found dead in a vacant lot, police fail to solve their murders. For their killer and his Montréal family, their deaths mark the beginning of an epic rise to criminal power that will last over thirty years. But in the mid-2000s, having escaped justice for decades, father and son Nicolo and Vito Rizzuto are finally arrested and convicted, one in Montréal and one in the United States. Meanwhile, deep inside the heart of their family, struck hard by a series of carefully plotted executions, the epic continues. Updated and available for the first time in English, Mafia Inc.--a major bestseller even before the 2010 assassination of Nicolo Rizzuto--reveals how the Rizzuto clan built their Canadian empire through force and corruption, alliances and compromises, and turned it into one of the most powerful criminal organizations in North America. Relying on extensive court documents, police sources and sources in the family's home village in Sicily, Montréal journalists André Cédilot and André Noël reconstruct the history of the Rizzuto clan, and expose how its business extends throughout Canada and the world, shaping the criminal underworld, influencing politicians and bending the will of business leaders to their own self-satisfying ends.

 

Voices of Italian America: A History of Early Italian American Literature with a Critical Anthology

by Martino Marazzi (Editor), Ann Goldstein (Translator)

Voices of Italian America presents the first authoritative study and anthology of the largely Italian-language literature written and published in the U.S. from the heydays of the Great Migration (1880-1920) to the almost definitive demise of the cultural world of the first generation soon before and after WWII. The volume resurrects the neglected and even forgotten territory of a nation-wide "Little Italy" where people wrote, talked, read, and consumed the various forms of entertainment mostly in their native Italian language, in a complex interplay with native dialects and surrounding American English. In the anthological sections we read, among others, excerpts from the ethnically-tinged thrillers by Tuscan-born first-comer Bernardino Ciambelli, as well as the first short-stories by Italian American women, set in the Gilded Age. The fiction of political activists such as Carlo Tresca coexists with the hard-boiled autobiography of Italian American cop Mike Fiaschetti, fighting against the Mafia. Voices presents new material by English-speaking classics such as Pietro di Donato and John Fante, and a selection of poetry by a great bilingual voice, the champion of the masses and IWW poet Arturo Giovannitti, and by a lesser-known, self-taught, satyrical versifier, Riccardo Cordiferro/Ironheart. Controversial documents on the difficult interracial relations between Italian- and African Americans live side by side with the first poignant chronicles from Ellis Island. The goal of this study is to shed light on the "fabrication" of a new culture of immigrant origins pliable, dynamic, constantly shifting and transforming itself and to do that focusing on stories, genres, rhythms, the"human touch" contributed by literature in its wider sense. Ultimately, through a rich sample of significant texts covering various aspects of the immigrant experience, Voices offers the reader a literary history of Italian American culture. It lets American readers be acquainted with a history very ideologically and artistically diverse, issued from a collective experience full, at the same time, with tragedy and fun. Such a literature is an eye-opening testimony of what happens to a culture when it migrates, and of how, in what form, both linguistically and rhetorically, it expresses itself, in the long and often unnoticed way toward assimilation.

   
 

 

   

 

 

 
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