BEYOND THE GODFATHER

ITALIAN AMERICAN WRITERS ON THE REAL ITALIAN AMERICAN EXPERIENCE

A wide-ranging collection of essays that attempts to define ``the Italian American experience,'' in reaction to the ``too successful'' Godfather films, which ``have held up an image that has obliterated the reality.'' Divided into three sections encompassing personal memoir, Italian-American literature, and ``identity politics,'' the anthology is put together by novelist and critic Parini (Benjamin's Crossing, p. 410, etc.) and Ciongoli, a neurologist and president of the National Italian American Foundation. Several of the contributors are familiar names, such as Gay Talese, whose ``Origins of a Nonfiction Writer'' looks at the fascinating precincts of his mother's dress shop, where what he ``heard and witnessed . . . was much more interesting and educational than what [he] learned from the black-robed censors'' in parochial school. Dana Gioia chips in with an examination of Italian-American poetry, while Fred GardaphÇ looks at his ``life's reading'' of such writers as Pietro di Donato, John Fante, and Mario Puzo. Edvige Giunta echoes GardaphÇ in her lengthy paean to Tina De Rosa's Paper Fish, ``a landmark in Italian American literature.'' In another arena, Richard Gambino posits that ``wildly . . . inauthentic myths . . . have come to serve as a substitute among Italian Americans for an authentic, developed identity.'' Linda Hutcheon writes of ``crypto- Italians'' such as herself, Cathy Davidson, Sandra Gilbert, and Marianna Torgovnick, who, through marriage, become ``a silenced marker of Italian heritage.'' Parini describes his quest to learn if his ``emotional connections'' to the Old Country were ``real, or just a piece of trumped-up sentimentality.'' Occasionally, the personal reflections become intensely uncomfortable, as in Louise DeSalvo's recollections of vicious fights between her mother and her step-grandmother. Informative and engaging, but perhaps too evenhanded. Too many of the essays lack the passion and the lusty good humor that are trademarks of Italian-American culture.

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 1997

ISBN: 0-87451-845-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1997

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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