Italian-Americans

Books by and about Italian-Americans

Baseball Italian Style: Great Stories Told by Italian American Major Leaguers from Crosetti to Piazza

by Lawrence Baldassaro

Baseball Italian Style brings together the memories of major leaguers of Italian heritage whose collective careers span almost a century, from the 1930s up to today. In these first-person accounts, baseball fans will meet at an intimate level the players they cheered as heroes or jeered as adversaries, as well as coaches, managers, front-office executives, and umpires. The men who speak in this collection, which includes eight Hall of Famers (Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, Ron Santo, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Tom Lasorda, Tony La Russa, and Joe Torre) go beyond facts and figures to provide an inside look at life in the big leagues. Their stories provide a time capsule that documents not only the evolution of Italian American participation in the national pastime, but also the continuity of the game and the many changes that have taken place, on and off the field. At a time when statistical analysis plays an increasingly prominent role in the sport, the monologues in this book are a reminder that the history of baseball is passed on to future generations more eloquently, and with much greater passion, through the words of those who lived it than it is by numerical data.

Stella Mia

by Rosanna Chiofalo

Rosanna Chiofalo’s poignant, beautifully written novel evokes the stunning scenery of Sicily and the Aeolian Islands and tells of mothers and daughters, love and sacrifice–and the choices that resound across continents and through generations. Julia Parlatone doesn’t have much to remember her Italian mother by. A grapevine that Sarina planted still flourishes in the backyard of Julia’s childhood home in Astoria, Queens. And there’s a song, “Stella Mia,” she recalls her mother singing–my star, my star, you are the most beautiful star–until the day she left three-year-old Julia behind and returned to Italy for good. Now a happily married schoolteacher, Julia tries not to dwell on a past she can’t change or on a mother who chose to leave. But in an old trunk in the family basement, she discovers items that belonged to her mother–a song book, Tarot cards, a Sicilian folk costume–and a diary. Sarina writes unflinchingly of her harsh childhood and of a first, passionate love affair; of blissful months spent living in the enchanting coastal resort town of Taormina and the unspoiled Aeolian Islands north of Sicily as well as the reasons she came to New York. By the diary’s end, Julia knows she must track down her mother in Italy and piece together the rest of the complex, bittersweet truth–a journey that, for better or worse, will change her own life forever.

Household Saints: A Novel

by Francine Prose

On a September night so hot that the good Catholics of New York wonder if their city has slipped into hell, the butcher Joseph Santangelo invites his friends to play pinochle. At the end of a long, sweaty, boozy evening, his friend Lino Falconetti, addled by wine and heat, bets the hand of his daughter, Catherine—and Santangelo wins. Santangelo’s modern new wife clashes immediately with his superstitious, half-mad mother—and Catherine is horrified when the daughter they raise turns out to have more in common with the old world than the new. As the years slide past, the city changes around them, but Little Italy’s household saints hold their world together.

Finding Your Italian Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide

by Suzanne Russo Adams

For millions of Americans, home means Italy, where their roots started years ago. In Finding Your Italian Ancestors, you’ll discover the tools you need to trace your ancestors back to the homeland. Learn how and where to find records in the United States and Italy, get practical advice on deciphering those hard-to-read documents, and explore valuable online resources. The guide also includes maps, multiple glossaries, and an extensive bibliography.

Vita: A Novel

by Melania G. Mazzucco, Virginia Jewiss (Translator)

In April 1903, the steamship Republic spills more than 2000 immigrants onto Ellis Island. Among them are Diamante, age 12, and Vita, nine, sent by their poor families in southern Italy to make their way in America. Amid the chaos and splendor of New York, the misery and criminality of Little Italy, and the shady tenants of Vita’s father’s decrepit Prince Street boarding house, Diamante and Vita struggle to survive, to create a new life, and to become American. From journeys west in search of work to journeys back to Italy in search of their roots, to Vita’s son’s encounter with his mother’s home town while serving as an army captain in World War II, Vita touches on every aspect of the heartbreaking and inspiring immigrant story. The award-winning Italian author Melania G. Mazzucco weaves her own family history into a great American novel of the immigrant experience. A sweeping tale of discovery, love, and loss, Vita is a passionate blend of biography and autobiography, of fantasy and fiction.