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Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite
Stories about first-generation immigrants fill entire books. However, it is rare to find out what happened to the second, third, and fourth generations unless people achieve fame. This is a pity because the descendants’ stories can be interesting from many points of view. They can be a good way to understand what is going on in a specific city or region and how people thrive in their new country. Stephanie Longo’s illustrated book, Images of Modern America: Italians of Lackawanna County, revolves around one of the largest Italian American communities in the United States. We are in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. Here, immigrants’ descendants have preserved their Italian heritage to this day, and they proudly show it during processions and the popular “Corsa dei Ceri” (“Race of the Saints”). This book is a tribute to Italian American stories and culture.
Italians of Lackawanna County literally illustrates every aspect of this lively and close group of people. This book presents the inhabitants’ lives through many beautiful and colorful images. The pictures show the most distinguished people of Lackawanna County, but also less famous persons with their businesses, activities, and entertainments. A small part of the book is dedicated to significant monuments. “La Corsa dei Ceri” and the processions offer many vibrant images, where joy and colors dominate the scene. On the whole, Italians of Lackawanna County aims at fighting stereotypes. It shows Italian Americans as an industrious and well-integrated group of people. I recommend Images of Modern America: Italians of Lackawanna County not only to locals but also to readers who like to discover local history.