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Comment: Used - Very Good - Paperback. Covers, corners & edges are slightly worn. No markings/writing found on pages. Tight binding, spine not creased. All pages intact. Not ex-library.
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Sicily: An Illustrated History (Illustrated Histories (Hippocrene)) Paperback – June 1, 2002

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Sicily: An Illustrated History (Illustrated Histories (Hippocrene)) + Seeking Sicily: A Cultural Journey Through Myth and Reality in the Heart of the Mediterranean + Midnight in Sicily: On Art, Food, History, Travel and la Cosa Nostra
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Product Details

  • Series: Illustrated Histories (Hippocrene)
  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Hippocrene Books (June 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0781809096
  • ISBN-13: 978-0781809092
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #258,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Wallace V. French III on August 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
I'm surprised this book is not getting more attention. It is a great introduction to the confusing history of Sicily. Sicily has been occupied and conquered so many times it is hard to keep track. Privitera does a great job of sorting through all of this and explaining the history of Sicily with ease. His motivation for writing this book was researching the history of his name and in so doing discovered so much about the history of this island. The title says it is an "illustrated history." However, the illustrations are not very good. This should not discourage you from purchasing this book because the text is what counts. I enjoyed this read and it did not take long to finish the book. Recommended for the Italian history buff.
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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on September 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
Black-and-white photographs and artworks add a visual touch to Joseph F. Privitera's Sicily: An Illustrated History. This very direct and straightforward accounting of a world-famous portion of Italy ranges from the era of the Greeks down to the modern day. Historical figures, the role of the Church, war, colonial powers and much more all figure prominently in this compelling, highly recommended capsule-digest version of the impressively legacy and promising future of a distinguished land and its impressive people.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Bunny Bunsen, PhD on May 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
Privitera's concise and compact history of Sicily is an amazing undertaking and excellent overview of the complex history of this important island. He supplements the text with illustrations that accentuate or expand upon the text, and he discusses the influences of various groups (spanning over two milennia) on the agricultural, industrial, and cultural aspects of Sicily. Overall, this is an excellent and straight-forward work on a fascinating place!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dr. James E. Purpura on July 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
OK the book is mistitled--the illustrated part is terrible. Now on with the book.

I've read a lot of histories of Sicily and of individual aspects of Sicily, and this one was excellent. It read like a novel. I literally could not put it down...even though at times it was really sad and it made me furious to see how many people thought they could "own" Sicily.

Dr. Privitera took us through the different periods in the history, always keeping clear that the Sicilian people were the real occupants of the island and the others were there temporarily. And these others were often oppressors, opportunists, and thieves. I didn't know about how horrible the Spanish empire was or how the inquisition in Sicily decimated the Island. In my view the oppression includes the current state of affairs in modern Italy. Viva la Sicilia libera!

I think this is a "must read" for everyone who has Sicilian roots.

Yes, Dr. Privitera could have spent more time on the Phonencians and the Catagenians, and even the Romans, but I thought too much detail would have been overwhelming. So even though there were gaps, I though the book, overall, was an excellent read, insightful, and well-written narrative.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Chris Martin on February 11, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is another small but handy, historical country overview produced by the New York based Hippocrene Publishers which focuses on European country histories and,more recently,European city histories. The publishers have selected an American academic (and Sicilian son) Joseph Privitera to present us readers with a delectable brief story and list of interesting facts relating to that special Mediterranean island which the ancient Greeks called Trinacria or three-sided.

Situated on the toe of Italy in the mid -Mediterranean,the author traces how Sicilian history inevitably become the history of the rivalry of the great powers around it like Athens, Rome, Carthage then the Saracens in North Africa,the Normans then the Spanish. On the way, he describes in some detail the quite unique Sicilian contribution to modern food,classics and Italian dialect language. Privitera presents his work in a methodical,cryptic style as we read the short paragraphs with many subheadings.

But the publishers somehow get it wrong in using such poor quality black and white photographs; some look like old photocopies when colour plates would have been so much better for so little extra cost for what,after all,is called an illustrated history. The almost complete absence of commentary on architecture is a glaring weakness given the outstanding examples of classical temples at Agrigento and Byzantine mosaics at Monreale. Another strange feature is the absence of a reference list.

The book is best used as a quick guide for the general public rather than a scholar's library addition or use as a coffee table book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Suz T. on June 6, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Didn't do much to simplify or clarify Sicily's history. It felt like an amateurish high school history report - long on listing dates and characters but short on cause and effect analysis/commentary. Though it's structure is generally chronological, it sometimes went forward and doubled back before advancing again which was confusing. It also felt like the author lost interest toward the end - whole chapters being reduced to a single paragraph where he had previously belabored the earlier history with unhelpful minutia.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. R. Stauffer on November 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a boring laundry list of Sicilian history. As an example, the author' only comments about the Mafia are included in one paragraph. Huh? As a very high level overview, it has a small value, which is why its two, rather than one star
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