Italians in America [VHS]

ISBN 13: 9780767012737

Italians in America [VHS]

9780767012737: Italians in America [VHS]
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In 1492 an Italian navigator discovered the New World and for the next five centuries Italians would leave their ancient homeland to begin a new life on these shores. ITALIANS IN AMERICA uncovers this amazing and rich heritage.

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In a broad overview, Italians in America highlights the tragically ironic 100-year struggle for assimilation of the immigrants whose forefathers not only discovered this country, but gave it its name. In this 100-minute documentary, the history of the Italian-American story begins with the migration from southern Italy after unification. The masses of these non-English-speaking immigrants survived and ultimately overcame language barriers, negative stereotypes, and prejudice that first put them at the bottom of the urban pecking order. What is most revealing about this documentary is not necessarily the superficial story of Italian immigrants, in which the basic plot of homeland desertion, poverty, discrimination, and triumph are common elements in other immigrant communities. What it adeptly points out, though, is that the Italians were often the community to do things first, best, and biggest, thus integrating Italian culture inextricably into American culture. It divides Italian-American history into several sociological events including the largest mass exodus into the United States in history, the first successful labor unions, the rise of the largest organized crime families (which is refreshingly downplayed), the importance of the tight Italian family, the rise of Italian movie stars, singers, and athletes, and of course the food. Although too brief to go in depth about any of these phenomena, the film does a lovely job of emphasizing the undeniably profound influence Italian Americans have had in defining American culture. --Elizabeth Massa

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