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Sicily: An Illustrated History (Illustrated Histories (Hippocrene)) Paperback – June 1, 2002
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I've read a lot of histories of Sicily and of individual aspects of Sicily, and this one was excellent. It read like a novel. I literally could not put it down...even though at times it was really sad and it made me furious to see how many people thought they could "own" Sicily.
Dr. Privitera took us through the different periods in the history, always keeping clear that the Sicilian people were the real occupants of the island and the others were there temporarily. And these others were often oppressors, opportunists, and thieves. I didn't know about how horrible the Spanish empire was or how the inquisition in Sicily decimated the Island. In my view the oppression includes the current state of affairs in modern Italy. Viva la Sicilia libera!
I think this is a "must read" for everyone who has Sicilian roots.
Yes, Dr. Privitera could have spent more time on the Phonencians and the Catagenians, and even the Romans, but I thought too much detail would have been overwhelming. So even though there were gaps, I though the book, overall, was an excellent read, insightful, and well-written narrative.
Situated on the toe of Italy in the mid -Mediterranean,the author traces how Sicilian history inevitably become the history of the rivalry of the great powers around it like Athens, Rome, Carthage then the Saracens in North Africa,the Normans then the Spanish. On the way, he describes in some detail the quite unique Sicilian contribution to modern food,classics and Italian dialect language. Privitera presents his work in a methodical,cryptic style as we read the short paragraphs with many subheadings.
But the publishers somehow get it wrong in using such poor quality black and white photographs; some look like old photocopies when colour plates would have been so much better for so little extra cost for what,after all,is called an illustrated history. The almost complete absence of commentary on architecture is a glaring weakness given the outstanding examples of classical temples at Agrigento and Byzantine mosaics at Monreale. Another strange feature is the absence of a reference list.
The book is best used as a quick guide for the general public rather than a scholar's library addition or use as a coffee table book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great summary and beginners book for those interested in the fascinating and complex history of Sicily. Highly recommended and very light, easy enjoyable read!Published 4 months ago by JMG
What adds richness to this quick overview of Sicilian history is the author's ability to trace the impact of various conquerors through their contributions to the Sicilian... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
Pretty good history of Sicily. I am impressed and enjoy taking it out and reviewing it once in a while even thought I read through it already.Published 16 months ago by Fred
This is a boring laundry list of Sicilian history. As an example, the author' only comments about the Mafia are included in one paragraph. Huh? Read morePublished on November 7, 2013 by J. R. Stauffer