Qty:1
  • List Price: $16.00
  • Save: $4.08 (26%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 17 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Crisp, attractive copy. FREE SHIPPING w/AMAZON PRIME!
Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Christ in Concrete Paperback – September 7, 2004


See all 23 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$11.92
$5.99 $2.66
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$26.00


Frequently Bought Together

Christ in Concrete + La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian American Experience + The Fortunate Pilgrim
Price for all three: $32.99

Buy the selected items together

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Hero Quick Promo
Browse in Books with Buzz and explore more details on selected titles, including the current pick, "The Bone Clocks" by David Mitchell.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade (September 7, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451214218
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451214218
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #562,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The death of Pietro di Donato's immigrant father sent Pietro to work at twelve as a bricklayer. His acclaimed, semi-autobiographical bestseller, Christ in Concrete (1939), was a seminal novel that influenced a generation of writers.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
11
4 star
4
3 star
1
2 star
1
1 star
0
See all 17 customer reviews
There are many vivid scenes and characters in this novel.
Michael J. Mazza
This is one of the strangest, most original books I have ever read, a lost classic of American modernism.
BD
It also shows how little things really do change as far as the plight of laborers is concerned.
Jane F. Pedler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on September 1, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Christ in Concrete," by Pietro di Donato, is a superb novel of the Italian-American experience. The Signet Classic edition contains a preface by Studs Terkel and a very informative introduction by Fred L. Gardaphe. Terkel notes that the book was first published in 1939, and compares it to John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath."
"Christ" tells the story of an urban, working-class Italian-American family in the early part of the 20th century. Much of the book is focused on Paul, a young man who finds work as a bricklayer.
di Donato writes with a vivid style; he attains a muscular poetry of blood and concrete as he describes the workers' "symphony of struggle." He brings to life both the specifics of Italian-American life as well as the larger multicultural world in which Paul's family lives. The book deals with Italian-American folk beliefs, tenement living, bilingualism, and a young man's sexual awakening. di Donato also writes on the theme of the common person's struggle against uncaring officialdom. He also explores the question of faith in the face of suffering.
There are many vivid scenes and characters in this novel. One account of an Italian-American feast is particularly memorable. There are also some really graphic, horrifying descriptions of workplace death and injury. I believe that this powerful novel belongs on the shelf with all those great books that sympathetically look at the oppressed and the overworked in the United States. And for another author who has written eloquently on the Italian-American experience, I recommend the fiction of John Fante.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By BD on June 4, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
You have seen those photos from the thirties- construction workers sitting on a girder hundreds of feet above Manhatten, lunch pail next to them, seemingly unaware that their legs are dangling over an abyss. Christ in Concrete is about those workers and that abyss.
This is one of the strangest, most original books I have ever read, a lost classic of American modernism. I cannot think of an author to compare Di Donato to- the mundane and fobidding ironies of Celine come to mind, but so do the mythic qualities of Brecht. It is sort of a reverse image of The Fountainhead- here are brilliant and passionate people literally being crushed by architechture.
Di Donato's style is loud, blunt and operatic. He rushes through cinematic images and superdramatic tragedies, almost as though he fears he is going to bore you. The events are fairly autobiographical. It's rather like meeting a charming but slightly frightening stranger who tells you thier life story: you are entranced and sympatheic, but fully unnerved.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. Valverde on June 26, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This tale of the Italian-American experience told through the voice of a young man whose father is killed in a bizarre construction accident is overwhelming.
It is perhaps the most overlooked American classic.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Chiarito Jr. on March 22, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the finest book I have ever read about Immigrants. As an Italian American it is especially rewarding. If made into a real film (not like the cheesy 1949 version)it could be a masterpiece -- it could be to Scorsese what Schindler's list is to Spielberg.

One note -- wait to read Fred Gardaphe's introduction until after you read the novel as he gives away a lot of the story.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chris Donato on May 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
While from a literary perspective, this is no masterpiece, it nonetheless captures a unique portrait of early twentieth-century Italian immigrant life. My great-grandfather, Nicolo, worked with tile in Philadelphia around the same time of the setting in this book. Many of the stories I've heard growing up make more sense now having read di Donato's novel.

The writing is stilted at times (di Donato's attempt to make the English sound Italian), and he allows his characters to go on angst-ridden rants for far too long. But there are numerous gems in this piece. I wholeheartedly recommend it -- to Italian-Americans to learn a little more about their heritage and to all others to catch a glimpse of early Italian immigrant life in America.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bill Slocum VINE VOICE on March 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
Discovering that America's streets were not paved with gold is a hard reality found in nearly every immigrant story. That America was a cheat designed to exploit and destroy is a more unique construct, one which forms the thesis of this 1939 novel.

"Christ In Concrete" begins with its most memorable section, one which casts a pall over all that follows. In it, we see a man named Geremio work on a New York construction site, circa 1924. It's an unstable structure, but the cruel, drunken bossman keeps Geremio and the other Italian immigrants working under threat of dismissal. Inevitably, the structure falls, and Geremio dies horribly in a descriptive passage where author Pietro di Donato gives you all the awful details. After that, the rest of the novel follows Geremio's young son Paul, who is forced to pick up his father's trowel to feed his large and poor family.

The dissatisfaction with capitalism is presented early, in the form of the nasty bossman Mr. Murdin and some words here and there ("The full gut sees not the hungry face," one woman observes sadly). The message of savage capitalist exploitation is not ever-present, but it does undergird the narrative.

"Christ In Concrete" is even bolder as a critique on the emptiness di Donato perceived in religious faith, akin to Marx's "opium of the people." We see it early on, in the pain-wracked unheard cries to God from the dying Geremio, and even more definitively at the end, where di Donato pushes the point with savage force. In the middle, except for a scene with a spiritual medium which actually provides some welcome laughs in an otherwise dead-serious book, the atheism at the heart of "Christ In Concrete" is very much a background element, too.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?