The Anarchist Bastard

ebook Growing Up Italian in America · SUNY series in Italian/American Culture

By Joanna Clapps Herman

cover image of The Anarchist Bastard

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Finalist for the 2011 ForeWord Book of the Year in the Autobiography/Memoir Category
"I was born in 1944, but raised in the twelfth century." With that, Joanna Clapps Herman neatly describes the two worlds she inhabited while growing up as the child of Italian American immigrants in Waterbury, Connecticut, a place embedded with values closer to Homer's Greece than to Anglo-American New England, where the ethic of hospitality was and still is more Middle Eastern and North African than Anglo-European, and where the pageantry and ritual were more pagan Mediterranean than Western Christian. It was also a place where a stuffed monkey wearing a fedora sat and continues to sit on her grandmother's piano, and a place where, when the donkey got stubborn and wouldn't plow the field, her grandfather bit the animal in a fury. In essays filled with wry humor and affectionate yet probing insights, Herman maps and makes palpable the very particular details of this culture—its pride and its shame, its profound loyalty and its Byzantine betrayals.
The Anarchist Bastard