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Ciao, America!: An Italian Discovers the U.S. Paperback – May 13, 2003
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Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Which isn't to say this book is always easy to get. Lots of passages leave Americans saying "As opposed to what?" Will everyone who reads this book understand why Severgnini lists the cost of things like hooking up his telephone and getting a social security card? And I admit to being totally mystified about the reasons Severgnini's mattress-buying experience was so traumatic. He went to a mattress store, inspected his options, picked one (without thinking to measure it first, unfortunately), and bought it. This seems natural to me. How do they buy mattresses in Italy? This book should have a second writer for the American edition - someone who can explain what other options there are.
The Italian edition should have a second writer, too - one to explain where Severgnini went wrong. Every American reader of the book will cringe extravagantly when the author pays sticker price for an automobile - there should be a footnote in the book explaining why you don't do that. The Italian edition also needs to explain why you never rent a house when the ad says "grace and charm.Read more ›
My only criticism is that the book is based on experiences from more than 7 years ago, and so while we have been enthusiastically exporting the many objects of his humorous observations to the rest of the world, we have been busy creating material for another book. Come 'on back Beppe, you need to check out vanity license plates, rap music, cappuccino with your Big Mac, and, of course, Dr. Phil.
Severgnini's impressions of America are interesting if not profound. Not a lot of detail really. At least a couple of his observations I now see are typical of the Italian world-view, things I thought were specific to people I know personally. For example, he mentions that the native Americans (Washingtonians) are quick to shed their winter clothes in the middle of a winter warm spell, but he and other Italians would never think to wear spring clothing out of season. He is appalled that Americans cannot spell, and lists two pages of mispellings of his own name, which most Americans will not find remarkable. Nor will Americans be surprised that journalists in the USA don't know Italian.
The book suffers a little bit from a narrow view of the U.S. based on living for one year in Washington, D.C. A lot of what he describes as typical american life will strike Americans as "inside the beltway" stuff. He even overestimates the significance of the National Spelling Bee, which most Americans think of as a kind of camp event, presumably because (as we all know) it is held in Washington.
But the wrong impressions, of which there are few, make for fun reading. There really isn't a cult of people who like to eat Spam, nor is it really an integral part of American cuisine.
On the other hand, his observations are often right on, for example he truly understands what sort of people gorge themselves (and smoke) at a house of pancakes.
Being a Foreigner in a foreign land myself, I was able to relate to the Author and his observations of America and its inhabitants 100%. It is interesting to me that no matter where the foreigners come from, be it from Italy, Germany or England, they all tell the same story. It is still a country I am glad to be living in and am grateful for it's opportunities it has given me.
There are more of these "types" of books from this Author, observing characteristics of the English and Germans. I hope that Amazon.com has them on offer on the website so that Americans may enjoy a chuckle about the people on the other side of the pond!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The thoughts of the author about the United States can be very useful for foreign people as well as for United States citizens who want to take a look to their own culture from... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Mercedes Ontoria
Ciao, America, An Italian Discovers the U.S., Beppe (Giuseppe) Severgnini (Broadway Books 2002; paperback)
Buy the book. See attached comments. Thank you!
What fun! You will see our country more clearly and happily in this bookPublished 20 months ago by Jean H. Lowe
Recommended, especially if you're going to Italy. Also good for book clubs !Published 22 months ago by iluvcats
Severgnini's best book so far! His observations of American life will make you laugh out loud and will give you a little insight into how the world views us. Read morePublished on August 23, 2014 by Andrea Matthews Clark
This was on my reading list for a couple of years. I enjoy books about culture clashes, as I used to travel internationally quite a bit and I used to live in Washington, DC (the... Read morePublished on August 8, 2014 by S. Meade
I have friends who are Italian/American and they suggested that I read this. It is a delightful charming book. ITjust makes you laugh and feel good. Read morePublished on June 2, 2014 by colleen anderson
Only a foreigner living in the US can tell an american how they really live. Americans don't know how they live in comparison to other countries, some things are better others... Read morePublished on January 31, 2014 by F. J. Caceres