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Una Storia Segreta : The Secret History of Italian American Evacuation and Internment During World War II Paperback – June 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Heyday Books; First edition. edition (June 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1890771406
  • ISBN-13: 978-1890771409
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Una Storia Segreta: The Secret History of Italian American Evacuation and Internment during World War II looks at "both the secret shame of those who suffered the wartime restrictions, and the dirty little secret of those who imposed them." These words, from Lawrence DiStasi's (Dream Streets: The Big Book of Italian American Culture) introduction to his seminal book on the internment of Italian-Americans during WWII (with a foreword by Sandra M. Gilbert), reveal what Japanese-American detainees and their descendants already know too well about the wartime experience. DiStasi has marshaled a group of potent and moving essays personal narratives of ancestors and others who were detained, arrested, evacuated or who just disappeared and some more scholarly examinations of our government's treatment of the more than half a million Italian immigrants many of them naturalized U.S. citizens whose lives were turned upside down. B&w illus.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Lawrence DiStasi is an editor, writer, and instructor at UC Berkeley Extension’s Fall Freshman Program and has been the Project Director of the traveling exhibit, Una Storia Segreta: When Italian Americans Were ‘Enemy Aliens,’ since 1994. He is author of Mal Occhio: The Underside of Vision (North Point Press, 1981) and Dream Streets: The Big Book of Italian American Culture (Harper & Row, 1989). He is president of the American Italian Historical Association’s Western Regional Chapter.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
Not only does this book recover a missing piece of American history, it also helps to explain the dark side of rapid "assimilation" of Italian-Americans after WWII -- as well as the corresponding decline of spoken Italian and the exodus from close-knit Italian neighborhoods to the suburbs. A focus on the entire U.S., rather than primarily on California, could have made this book even stronger. Una Storia Segreta nevertheless bridges the gap between third-generation and younger Italian-Americans and their older relatives, revealing the history that grandparents wished to forget. The voices in this volume provoke nostalgic smiles and outraged tears.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
Una Storia Segreta: The Secret History Of Italian American Evacuation And Internment During World War II by researcher and historian Lawrence DiStasi is a shocking and revealing look into a little-known incident of 20th Century American history: Italian-American internments during World War II. Wartime law restricted the freedoms and demanded identity cards of 600,000 Italian "resident aliens"; some 10,000 of these along the West Coast were forcibly relocated; and 250 were imprisoned in military camps for up to two years. Even some naturalized Italian-American citizens were required to abandon their homes and businesses because the military deemed them too dangerous to reside in "strategic areas." Worst of all, these offenses were entirely ignored after the war's end, completely eclipsed by the similarly reprehensible internment that the government forced upon a much greater number of Japanese-Americans. Una Storia Segreta is an important and long overdue contribution to American World War II history shelves, for it sheds light on a topic chronically overlooked in traditional American history education and reading lists.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mary Della-Vedova on January 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thank you it was interesting to read on the american perspective having read the australian perspective and having relatives in Australia interned and others not interned with similar scenarios (one brother serving in the army whils't the other interned).

It saddened me to read about the number of industries/business/s closing as a result of internment.
Livelyhoods lost, relocation exploitation and the need to push aside traditions/culture as a result of their war time experiences.
It is wonderful to see that archives are preserved and history is acknowledging the contributions of Italians in America.
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I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It gave me a lot of information on things I had never read about and I am glad that I read this book.
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