- Series: Pantheon Village
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Pantheon (December 12, 1981)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0394749383
- ISBN-13: 978-0394749389
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,973,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sicilian Lives (Pantheon Village) Paperback – December 12, 1981
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“Mr. Dolci also listens, which is why he is called the Oscar Lewis and Studs Terkel of Sicily. For 30 years, he has written down what he hears and read it back to the teller. A story—a connection—is made; lives are rescued from silence. . . . Only the grave robbers know anything of Sicily's ancient history; only Mr. Dolci seems unbroken, nonviolent, among the children, listening, an architect of muscle and tongue. We ought to be grateful.”—The New York Times
“Danilo Dolci is a wonderful man, one of those who, in purity of spirit, has cast his lot with the insulted and the injured. He is utterly free of rancor or righteousness; he is better than a saint—he is a good human being. And it all comes out in his writing.”—Irving Howe
“Danilo Dolci, in living a Sicilian life, offers us, in wisdom and innocence, the hearts, minds, and dreams of his neighbors. With their own words he has painted an indelible portrait of a society.”—Studs Terkel
“Danilo Dolci is not only the world’s foremost advocate of nonviolent revolution, but also a poet and a sensitive interviewer. He is often called Sicily’s Gandhi, but he has also been Sicily’s Stud Terkel and Oscar Lewis. . . .Beautifully written, Sicilian Lives is a course in the sociology, anthropology, economics, and politics of Sicily, and a moving portrait of its people.”—Herbert Gans
About the Author
Danilo Dolci (1924–1997) was an Italian author, educator, political activist, and poet. Dolci rallied the Sicilian people to fight for change by teaching, campaigning for public works, and organizing sit-ins, fasts, and ''strikes-in-reverse.'' He was one of the only figures to shed light on the Sicilian mafia’s abuse after World War II and was known as the Studs Terkel of Sicily. Dolci was the author of several works, including Sicilian Lives, a collection of locals’ stories told in their own voices.
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We may not like what we read, but each interviewee is truthful in sharing his life story and his/her life challenges.
An excellent translation from Italian to English.
While this sort of book does not spoonfeed readers---you have to consider for yourself what the implications of the statements are, as Dolci offers no lecture, no guiding commentary--what you do get is a wonderful picture of Sicilian society at that time, and a sense that even though people may be uneducated and unsophisticated, given a chance, they can express their thoughts about their lives as well as anyone amd perhaps more poetically than many. You also realize that in a society where nobody trusts anyone else, building institutions which would help lift the people out of their misery is extremely difficult. A gangster-ridden society may take generations to clean itself up. Sill, this is an interesting, beautifully-written book for anyone interested in Italy, Sicily, or the human condition in general.
Many of the stories are simply amazing: the orphan who is trained to be a pickpocket and then grows to be a respectable trained worker, the man who gets his revenge on women by seducing them and purposefully infecting them with syphilis, the healer who specializes in extracting intestinal parasites and other worms. The overall message of the book seems to be how miserable society can become when there is a complete lack of trust and honesty. Perhaps this was Dolci's goal- -to get people to begin to build a community for themselves by starting with a little trust. The stories of this book will help you understand just how far behind Southern Italy was from Northern Italy and the rest of Europe only a generation or two ago, and perhaps the reasons behind the differences, as well.