ITALIAN IMMIGRANT RADICAL CULTURE - The Idealism of the Sovversivi in the United States, 1890-1940

"A welcome introduction to the poorly understood immigrant sovversivi, whose ideological commitments to revolution and emancipation as often found expression in poetry, theater, and the arts as on the picket line and in the radical press."

-DONNA GABACCIA, University of Minnesota

"Italian Immigrant Radical Culture not only makes an important contribution to the history of the Italian American left but, more broadly, reminds us of the importance of the cultural and literary dimension of radical politics in the United States during the first half of the twentieth century."

-FRASER OTTANELLI, University of South Florida

"Utilizing a broad spectrum of materials from Italian archives and American repositories, Bencivenni penetrates deeply into a hitherto unexplored dimension of the lost world of Italian immigrant radicalism—its culture. With acute insight and intellectual sophistication, she provides a superb analysis of radical working-class poetry, drama, and art, together with vivid biographical portraits of principal contributors, both men and women, and their struggles against capitalist exploitation and fascist domination. Her book is a must for any scholar or general reader drawn to these fascinating subjects."

-NUNZIO PERNICONE, Drexel University, author of Italian Anarchism, 1864-1892

"Anyone interested in the topic will benefit from Bencivenni's deep understanding of her subject, her exhaustive research, and her clear organization and writing."

-R. J. GOLDSTEIN, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Choice

"Bencivenni has written an impressive book that nicely complements existing studies on Italian immigrants. It deserves a wide audience."read more >

-MIKE ROSENOW, H-Net Reviews (March 2012)

"Marcella Bencivenni's book rigorously documents and vividly recounts the astonishing range and productivity of two generations of radical Italian culture in the United States."

-STANISLAO G. PUGLIESE, Hofstra University. American Historical Review (April 2012)

"Bencivenni's superb analysis of the importance of the cultural and literary dimension of radical politics and her biographical portraits of its stars ensure that the works of these men and women will have a lasting legacy in American radical history."

-DIANE C. VECCHIO, Furman University. The Journal of American History (June 2012)

"This book is destined to become a standard work on Italian immigrant labor and radicalism, and rightly so. As a cultural history of the Italian American Left, or of Italian Americans in general, it is unparalleled. Never has the "lost world of Italian American radicalism" seemed as alive as it does within these pages. Bencivenni also succeeds in making a compelling case for the restoration of Italian American radicals and the subculture they created "to their rightful roles in both Italian American studies and the history of the American Left in the twentieth century."

-KENYON ZIMMER, University of Texas, Arlington. Altreitalie (January-June 2012)

"Overall, the originality of Italian Immigrant Culture, both in terms of new evidence and noteworthy perspective on familiar topics, makes this a great book that will benefit well-established scholars, newly minted Ph.D.'s and graduate students thinking about distinctive avenues of research."

-CAROLINE MERITHEW, University of Dayton. Italian American Review (Summer 2012)

"In this impressive book Bencivenni provides a magnificent glimpse into the world of Italian immigrant radicals, or sovversivi... The book's contribution is in the notion that politics and culture cannot be so neatly separated, but must be examined in 'terms of reciprocal interactions between cultural values and political ideologies'... By examining Italian American radicalism through the lens of culture, the author forces us to expand our own conceptions of activism, working class movements, and the ideologies that inform these revolutionary struggles."

-PETER G. VELLON, Queens College/The City University of New York. Socialism and Democracy, 60 (November 2012)

"Bencivenni has produced an engaging book with much to offer historians of the U.S., Italian, and Immigrant Left. She presents a stimulating and complex portrait of the shared idealism of the sovversivi, and their emotional, ideological, and material contributions to their working-class immigrant communities."

-ELIZABETH ZANONI, Old Dominion University. Journal of Modern Italian Studies, (December 2012)

"Sheds illuminating light on a part of that history that is often overlooked, and in doing so revitalizes a radical tradition."

-STEFAN BOSWORTH, Hostos Community College/The City University of New York. Science & Society (April 2013)

"Italian Immigrant Radical Culture is a well-documented, finely argued, and nicely written addition to more than a decade of studies on the "lost world" of Italian American radicalism. Bencivenni's cultural focus is very effective in drawing attention to gender issues and the role of women in radical arts as well as politics, and reminds us that one cannot separate politics from culture without oversimplifying the historical record. The world of Italian American radicalism may be lost; but the work of scholars like Marcella Bencivenni assures that it will not be forgotten."

-CHARLES A. ZAPPIA, San Diego Mesa College. Journal of American Ethnic History (Winter 2013)