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50 Main Street: The Face of America Hardcover – July 4, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review


“This is a wonderful documentary portrait, a personal cross section of the country in a post-industrial, complicated moment in time.”
—Ken Burns, documentary filmmaker (The Civil War, Baseball, Prohibition)

“You want authentic? Look at the guy on the cover. He’s the real deal, just like everyone else in 50 Main Street. This book matters. Not because it’ll make you smile, and not because it’s filled with pretty pictures. It matters because it’s authentic. 50 Main Street is a genuine tribute to strangers you’ve always known, and old friends you’ve never met. It’s a journey back home, no matter where you come from, or what your address might be.”
—Mike Rowe, Dirty Jobs

“As a lover of people, places and pictures, I get a wonderful, warm feeling looking at this book and it was fun seeing my name mentioned in it.”
—Dolly Parton

“This book shows that the success of one man’s dream is a reason for us all to dream.”
—John Mellencamp

“This work is not a style manifesto, it is not radical in brand new photographic strategies . . . it does not have to be…as it follow she path of deep experience within all of human history . . . the experience of deep optimism and kindness. Each picture rests in the belly of the soul of generosity . . . in doing so they give one a view of America which has been diminished and needs to be revisited . . . Piero is a visualist of profound moral worth. His pictures allow one to hope and smile . . .”
—Larry Fink, photographer

50 Main Street is an epic achievement. It gives me a real sense of who we are in this country, as individuals and as a whole. Whether we are from the East, the West or the heart of America we are all different yet similar. I really appreciate the sense of commonality and community expressed in this book.”
—Wayne Wang, film director (The Joy Luck Club, Smoke, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan)

50 Main Street is a big, wide-open window into the heart and soul of America. Insightful, gorgeous, and deeply moving.”
—Larry Samuel, author of The American Dream: A Cultural History

For his ambitious and uplifting book of photos, Ribelli (Jah Pickney: Children of Jamaica), an Italian émigré, embarked on a six-year mission “to fight discord,” argues historian Douglas Brinkley in his foreword. Visiting 50 towns in 50 states, and one address—50 Main Street—he tells the stories of 50 Americans and their families. In California, George Sylva escapes a violent childhood in East L.A., joins the Navy as a combat cameraman, then builds a career in Hollywood before opening a boxing gym, where he helps teens troubled by gang violence. In Westfield, Mass., a doctor, Angel Morales, one of nine children sent to orphanages after his mother’s illness, becomes the first person in his family to go to college. Pearl Harbor has no such address (it was destroyed in the 1941 attack), so Ribelli meets Robin Tupa at her office at 174 Main St.—the lowest of the remaining addresses. Ribelli’s subjects are posed at home, work, and play, and he includes many supplementary photos to capture the essence of a place, usually with success, such as his shot of a nearly empty Jersey Shore. Some photos approach postcard cliché, though, such as a misty shot of the Oregon coastline. Ribelli’s experiences and perceptions are interwoven with his written profiles, and while at times distracting, they reveal an enthusiastic storyteller.
Publishers Weekly

About the Author

At age 27, Piero Ribelli left Italy, moved to the United States, taught himself English, and started a new life as a professional photographer. Ranging from travel, portraiture and photojournalism, his photographs have appeared in magazines around the world He lives in New York City. Douglas Brinkley lives in Austin, TX. Mike Rowe lives in San Francisco.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Cameron + Company (July 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937359158
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937359157
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 9.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By -H on July 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
How many of us have read "On The Road" but have never had the courage or time to explore America - our own back yard? This book is a journey, a quest to experience America as a vast and varied culture. I found the concept quite clever and well executed - a narrated pictorial glimpse into each of the 50 states, the author's quest to engage 1 resident of every state at 50 Main St. The first person account brings a personal glimpse into every story. I found myself fascinated how each state can very so wildly from one another (ex: California to Colorado, alphabetically sequential, but truly unique from one another). The book conveys a fascinating cross section of the various cultural differences that abound across this large nation. It's hard to flip through and not want to take an epic road trip....who's with me?
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Okay, it's a big book, but it's the tiny details that make it so great. The author goes beyond the wonderful photographs to paint vibrant verbal portraits of the subjects. For a quality, beautiful photographic book with the addition of such wonderful stories, this is a bargain.
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Format: Hardcover
Piero Ribelli, an Italian-born American citizen has done what elected officials, pundits, and armchair politicians have not: he has found the heart of America, through Americans. By a clever and poignant method -- finding a resident at 50 Main Street in each of the fifty states -- he has visited a cross section of the nation and shown its differences and its similarities. In the act of boldly introducing himself to each subject of the 50 portraits, he has taken to the stump not for gain, votes, etc., but to learn more about this country he adopted as his home a quarter century ago, and to give something: a voice to Main Street devoid of rhetoric and position. The narrative alone would be a worthwhile read, but in the way of the best art, the photography -- portraits and landscapes -- tell a deeper story of the magnificence of this diverse collection of people called Americans, touches us, and gives us a sense of being truly patriotic.
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50 Main Street is a journey across America that is wonderfully written, and beautifully captured in photography. The stories are so well written, and he captures people and places that you leave feeling as though you've been there and met these people. This book reminds me of a quilt, with bits and pieces of this country and when put together gives you a wonderful, warm, keepsake! Congratulations Piero. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
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Bought it used on the basis of a review on Mike (Dirty Jobs) Rowe's facebook page - Great to look through while enjoying the spring afternoons - quaity photos, printing and binding - so-so editorially but better than most travel books.
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Format: Hardcover
50 Main Street is a cross generational masterpiece! Piero Ribelli takes us on an exotic journey in our own back yard and through his marvelous writing and extraordinary photographs conveys the truth and beauty behind each of his subjects. He writes with both empathy and objectivity in equal measure and the outcome is magical. If you have a modicum of a soul and are between the ages of 5 and 105 this book is a must have!
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Format: Hardcover
This book of photography and narrative is varied in its subjects and landscapes, but singular in its message: more unites us than divides us. With beautiful imagery telling the story of the real America, Piero Ribelli captures the heart of our nation beautifully. I purchased this book after I saw it featured on the TODAY show, and was so impressed I've decided to gift it to many a friend and family members for the holidays!
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Format: Hardcover
What an intriguing concept and what a wonderful execution of said concept. The kind of book I would like to write, if I had the talent and imagination. Time, too. The author, Italian by birth, seems to have captured the essence of the many types of Americans that can be found outside the limelight who never get their fifteen minutes of fame, although with the publication of this book that has changed. Fun to read about these people and their circumstances. All too often we end up getting so wrapped up in our own lives and realities that we fail to see or acknowledge those that are not like us, but do have very interesting stories of their own. I would heartily recommend this book. Great photos, too. Fun, interesting read.
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