The Humble and the Heroic: Wartime Italian Americans

by Salvatore LaGumina

Table of Contents


Chapter I

Italian Americana 1920-30s

Overview; Nativists; Prohibition; Increased influx; Labor struggles; Education; The Church; The block; German background; Growing up Italian; A transplanted village; Brooklyn’s Little Italies; The Feasts; Sicilian predominance; Living with Poverty; At home in Little Italy; Italian identity; Military matters; Sabelli; Depression hits home; 1939 Diversions; Radio; Music.

Chapter II

Fascism and Anti-Fascism

Ideology; American Reaction to Fascism; Italian Americans react to hostility; Nostalgia; Early Italian American Fascists Generoso Pope; Anti-Fascism; Role of Exiles; Ethiopian War; Italian Americans respond to Ethiopian War;African Americans vs. Italian American; Carnera V Louis; Repercussions; The gathering storm; Political scene; Little Italy; 1940 reaction to invasion of France; Italian American Political Spectrum; Deteriorating international situation; Pacifism

Chapter III

The War Begins to Impact Italian American Neighborhood

Pearl Harbor; Ubiquitous uniforms; Women in uniforms; Manufacturing uniforms; Draft and volunteers; Family plural servicemen; A second war; The two-ness dilemma; Swelling patriotic fervor; The Supreme Sacrifice; Full employment; “Going Away Parties;” Music; Coney Island; Movies; Pastimes; Alien Registration --My mother was one of them; West Coast; Trauma and Tragedy; Pinza; Rationing; Shortages; Collecting scrap and Victory Gardens.

Chapter IV

Demonstrating Loyalty Amidst Atmosphere of Suspicion

Suspicion; Discrimination;Italian language radio under siege; World War I veterans; Italian American organizations; Italian American political leaders; Non-Italian politicians; Alien registration and detention; Internment; Joining the armed services; Catholic military chaplains; Unequivocal loyalty; New York responds to Pearl Harbor attack; Melting Pot; Working for Victory; Inventions and creativity; Unfeigned patriotism; War bond drives; Termination of “enemy alien” policy.

Chapter V

Italian American Response: 1941-43

The first two years of war; Letter writing on the home front; In recognition of military service; Dealing with lingering denigration; Capra; A Bell for Adano; Promoting citizenship; Sicilian American home front spawns intelligence operations; Racial and ethnic problems; Juvenile delinquency.

Chapter VI

In Search of Heroes

The liberation of Italy; Messages from home front to Italy; Italy Invaded; Vindication pursuit; Home front reaction to fall of Italy; Battlefield roles: Don Gentile The Nation’s Highest Honor; John Basilone; Anthony Casamento; DiMaggio and Sinatra.

Chapter VII

Home Front Response to Transition in Italy

Political transition period; Politics; Brooklyn political progress; Coming of age; Exiles and competing political philosophies; Solidarity to defeat Mussolini; Division within political spectrum; The politics of aid to Italy ;Italian American Allied Military Governors; Charles Poletti; Michael Musmanno; Remembering the old country; Marchisio and American Relief for Italy; Messages from home front to Italy;

Chapter VIII

Italy as Associated Power

Progress of war; Welcome & reunion in Italy; Americans first of all; Italy’s status after liberation;The 1944 election; Resuming contact; Post office Saturday mornings; Prisoners of war; Family reunions; Athletes serve: baseball; football; boxing.

Chapter IX

The End of Testing Time

The mettle of this generation; The course of the war; Serving with distinction; Henry Mucci; Ordinary men, extraordinary deeds; Louis Zamperini; Jack Valenti; Sam Mauriello; Peter Brescia.; John Caputo Jr.; Vincent Puglise; Mario Gabrielli; Frank Fuoto; De Vitto family; Sam Bertuzzi; Nick Nudo; Frank Fazio; The Faraones; Prianti brothers; Frank Faranda; Shielded home front perspective?; VJ Day; What about the future?



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