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Living the Revolution: Italian Women's Resistance and Radicalism in New York City, 1880-1945

Living the Revolution: Italian Women's Resistance and Radicalism in New York City, 1880-1945 (Paperback)

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Italians were the largest group of immigrants to the United States at the turn of the twentieth century, and hundreds of thousands led and participated in some of the period's most volatile labour strikes. Yet until now, Italian women's political activism and cultures of resistance have been largely invisible. In Living the Revolution, Jennifer Guglielmo brings to life the Italian working-class women who helped shape the vibrant, transnational, radical political culture that expanded into the emerging industrial union movement. Guglielmo imaginatively documents the activism of two generations of New York and New Jersey women who worked in the needle and textile trades. She explores the complex and distinctive ways immigrant women and their American-born daughters drew on Italian traditions of protest to form new urban female networks of everyday resistance and political activism. And she shows how their commitment to revolutionary and transnational social movements diminished as they became white working-class Americans. The rise of fascism, the Red Scare, and the deprivations of the Great Depression led many to embrace nationalism and racism, ironically to try to meet the same desires for economic justice and dignity that had inspired their enthusiasm for anarchism, socialism, and communism.

Jennifer Guglielmo is associate professor of history at Smith College. She is coeditor of Are Italians White?: How Race Is Made in America.

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