"One of the best books yet published in its field—a book in which you will learn more about the making of an American than in the most solemn or fictional volumes that purport to tell you all about the subject."—San Francisco Chronicle
"Jerre Mangione, who was born in Mount Allegro in 1909, takes you into the heart of these Little Italys and describes its people and their thoughts and ways. He does it with nostalgic warmth and has somehow recaptured all the freshness of the original color."—The New York Times
Mount Allegro is an extraordinary memoir, a celebration of Sicilian life, an engaging sociological portrait, a moving reminiscence of a fledgling writer’s escape from the restrictive culture in which he grew up. Jerre Mangione’s autobiographical chronicle of his youth in a Sicilian community in Rochester is one of the truly enduring books about the immigrant experience in this country. Family squabbles, soul-nourishing food, and the casting of evil eyes are only some of the ingredients of this richly textured book, although they must all take second place to its unforgettable characters. As Eugene Paul Nassar writes in the book’s Foreword, “Mount Allegro . . . gave a literary visibility and identity, amiable and appealing, to a poorly understood ethnic group in America, and did so at a very high level of artistry.”
Jerre Mangione was the former coordinating editor of the Federal Writers’ Project and professor emeritus of English at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of ten books, including The Dream and the Deal: The Federal Writers’ Project, 1935–1943 (reprinted by Syracuse University Press) and An Ethnic at Large.
5.5 x 8, 336 pages