Dennis Barone is Professor of English and American Studies at the University of Saint Joseph. He is the author or editor of many books of poetry, prose, and criticism, including Sound/Hammer; On the Bus: Selected Stories; and Essays on Italian American Literature and Culture (with Peter Covino).
Italy's enormous contributions to western civilization continue to make it a cultural and economic powerhouse and a top tourist destination. The Regions of Italy succinctly conveys the formidable richness of the whole through its parts, with a user-friendly format that makes it easy to glean the important information on the area of interest. A chronology, glossary, and wide selection of photos accompany the text.
Naturally, the lynching of Italian nationals in the US produced wide public outrage in Italy. Italian domestic outcries presented the Italian government with a serious dilemma. Emigrant savings and financial transfers to family members remaining in Italy were an important economic asset. Italian diplomats launched investigations and protested vigorously, but ended up accepting federal financial compensation for the victims’ families. The consistent pragmatism and restraint of the Italian government through these episodes of violence is the unifying theme of the entire work.
Italian Cultural Lineages is primarily concerned with factors that unify Italians, however geographically dispersed they may be. Drawing on extensive archival and historical research, White shows how oftentimes Italian cultural traditions that appear to be extinct are, in fact, enduring – pushed out of the mainstream or submerged at some given point in history, only to re-surface and take on new meanings at a later date. Other, more marginal currents might disrupt and fragment Italian identity, politically and socially. However, White proposes that the challenge to Italy in these new and difficult lessons in tolerance has the potential to produce a much stronger culture, primed to welcome the marginal into an expanded spirit of all that counts as Italian. Ideally suited to course use, and written with great lucidity, Italian Cultural Lineages will prove fascinating to students, academics, and general readers alike.