3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2010
E.L. Krause has crafted a beautiful book that sheds light on the question why populations wax and wane. With a focus on pre- and post-WWII Italy and its remarkable drop in birthrates, Krause brings the imagination of a paleontologist to the field of cultural anthropology. Through careful primary research with Italians of many generations, Krause has unearthed enough "bones" to piece together a model of 20th century Italian culture. Instead of delivering her insights in standard academic drivel, Krause's stroke of /brilliance/ is to provide her cultural lens as novella first, narrative second. This approach uses the power of fiction to breath life into A Weaver's Tale of Life Gone Modern. In so doing, Krause taught me about the fascinating interdependence of women weavers and wet-nurses in post-WWII Italy. Without giving away Krause's punchline, I can say that this is a touching story of women working together to try to empower themselves in an increasingly industrialized world, where having large families was considered antiquated. I reckon the impact of Krause's work will be far reaching, not only in terms of her novel methodology, but also viz. her insights regarding coupled populations. For example, while the American immigration discussion dwells on national security, the economic interdependence of immigrants and the American economy echoes Krause's conclusions about weavers and wet-nurses. I encourage you to read this book if you have any interest in cultural transformations.