Related to This Book

Other Sites

The Italian Americans

A History

Maria Laurino (Author)


This richly researched, beautifully illustrated volume illuminates an important, overlooked part of American history.

From extensive archival materials and interviews with well-known Italian Americans, Maria Laurino strips away stereotypes and nostalgia to tell the complicated, centuries-long story of the true Italian-American experience.

Looking beyond the familiar Little Italys and stereotypes fostered by The Godfather and The Sopranos, Laurino reveals surprising, fascinating lives: Italian-Americans working on sugar-cane plantations in Louisiana to those who were lynched in New Orleans; the banker who helped rebuild San Francisco after the great earthquake; families interned as “enemy aliens” in World War II. From anarchist radicals to “Rosie the Riveter” to Nancy Pelosi, Andrew Cuomo, and Bill de Blasio; from traditional artisans to rebel songsters like Frank Sinatra, Dion, Madonna, and Lady Gaga, this book is both exploration and celebration of the rich legacy of Italian-American life.

Readers can discover the history chronologically, chapter by chapter, or serendipitously by exploring the trove of supplemental materials. These include interviews, newspaper clippings, period documents, and photographs that bring the history to life.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • December 2014
  • ISBN 978-0-393-24129-7
  • 8.5 × 10.3 in / 320 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“A first-rate, cliché-killing, and insightful exploration of the Italian-American journey. I couldn’t put it down. Essential.” — John Turturro

Rich and satisfying, loaded with fascinating interviews, glorious photographs and fresh insights, this compilation is a keeper. With her trademark literary elegance and journalistic integrity, Maria Laurino pulls disparate threads together creating one lush tapestry that shows us who we are.” — Adriana Trigiani

The Italian Americans is clear, fresh and vivid. It answers a thousand questions about where we came from, how and why our ancestors got here, and why we think and act as we do.” — Russell Shorto

The Italian Americans is a revelation—a rich and truthful history, full of little-known information, insight, and narrative color, giving full dimension to people far too often reduced to stereotype.” — Gay Talese

Also by Maria Laurino All

  1. Book CoverOld World Daughter, New World Mother: An Education in Love and Freedom


  2. Book CoverWere You Always an Italian?: Ancestors and Other Icons of Italian America


All Subjects