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An Unlikely Union : The Love-Hate Story of New York's Irish and Italians
by Paul Moses


Overview - They came from the poorest parts of Ireland and Italy and met as rivals on the sidewalks of New York. Beginning in the nineteenth century, the Irish and Italians clashed in the Catholic Church, on the waterfront, at construction sites, and in the streets.  Read more...

 
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    An Unlikely Union (Paperback)
    Published: 2017-03-01
    Publisher: New York University Press
    $16.95
     
     
 
 

More About An Unlikely Union by Paul Moses
 
 
 
Overview
They came from the poorest parts of Ireland and Italy and met as rivals on the sidewalks of New York. Beginning in the nineteenth century, the Irish and Italians clashed in the Catholic Church, on the waterfront, at construction sites, and in the streets. Then they made peace through romance, marrying each other on a large scale in the years after World War II. An Unlikely Union tells the dramatic story of how two of America s largest ethnic groups learned to love and laugh with each other after decades of animosity.

The vibrant cast of characters features saints such as Mother Frances X. Cabrini, who stood up to the Irish American archbishop of New York when he tried to send her back to Italy, and sinners like Al Capone, who left his Irish wife home the night he shot it out with Brooklyn s Irish mob. The book also highlights the torrid love affair between radical labor organizers Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and Carlo Tresca; the alliance between Italian American gangster Paul Kelly and Tammany s Big Tim Sullivan; heroic detective Joseph Petrosino s struggle to be accepted in the Irish-run NYPD; and the competition between Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby to become the country s top male vocalist.

In this engaging history of the Irish and Italians, veteran New York City journalist and professor Paul Moses offers a classic American story of competition, cooperation, and resilience. At a time of renewed fear of immigrants, An Unlikely Union reminds us that Americans are able to absorb tremendous social change and conflict and come out the better for it."

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781479871308
  • ISBN-10: 1479871303
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publish Date: July 2015
  • Page Count: 368


Related Categories

Books > History > United States - State & Local - Middle Atlantic
Books > Social Science > Ethnic Studies - General
Books > History > Social History

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-04-20
  • Reviewer: Staff

The Irish arrived in the U.S. in large numbers first during the 1840s and ’50s. Then, between 1880 and 1920, came the Italians. For decades, their frequently “nasty and intense” competition touched virtually every aspect of Irish and Italian lives in New York: churches, workplaces, the waterfront, the stage, police stations, and union offices. In this enlightening and entertaining history, Pulitzer-winning journalist Moses (The Saint and the Sultan) relates how the two groups “learned to love each other after decades of hostility and ethnic rivalry.” With a cast of saints (Mother Cabrini), sinners (Al Capone), politicians, and ordinary people, Moses offers emblematic, often fascinating tales, including the “Irish-Italian love story” of Elisabeth Gurley Flynn and Carlo Tesca, the “spectacular achievements” of NYPD officer Joseph (Guiseppe) Petrosino, and Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby’s relationship. Alongside deep archival digging, Moses tells a personal story (growing up Italian-American, marrying an Irish-American) that’s symbolic in its own way of the “common ground” attained, as he wittily puts it, when “Irish eyes smiled—on Italian food.” Secure as Moses’s focus is, the work also has a more universal application, foreshadowing the often “nasty and intense” experiences of African-Americans and Latinos in those same historically contested arenas. Agent: Steve Hanselman, LevelFiveMedia. (July)

 
BAM Customer Reviews