For the past 25 years, on my first day of an introductory history course, I ask students why they hate history. At first, they are surprised and even astonished by my question. But they soon lose their reticence and offer all the usual answers: “history keeps repeating itself;” “we never learn from history;” “history has no importance in our contemporary world or my life.”
As professional historians, we have perhaps failed in our duty to fully engage the public with the past. I can’t help thinking of this failure as we witness hour-by-hour the fate of 630 human beings literally adrift at sea in the Mediterranean. Their lives hang in the balance because of the political choices and poisoned culture of contemporary Italy.
Frank Serpico behind the scenes with Antonino D’Ambrosio.
Photo: Trevor Tweeten
For the first part of his life, Frank Serpico had to deal with the corruption of the New York City Police Department. Once he agreed to testify at the Knapp Commission in 1971 and then after the Peter Maas book and Sidney Lumet film (1973) starring Al Pacino, he had to deal with the mythical figure of Serpico.
We are delighted to re-publish an article by Stanislao Pugliese in memory of the renowned singer-songwriter Pino Daniele. Daniele passed away two years ago, but during the course of his career, he brilliantly combined rock, African-American blues, and Neapolitan music.
Documenting the stories of Italian Jews in the Americas.
On Monday, March 28, the Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò will present Gianna Pontecorboli's book, "Americordo": The Italian Jewish Exiles in America
Based on his novel Il trono vuoto (The Vacant Throne), Roberto Andò’s film Viva la libertà appeared last year in Italy at a propitious moment, just as Florence mayor Matteo Renzi stormed to national political prominence and assumed the office of prime minister (the youngest in Italian history) in early 2014. Both the film and the reality deal with a moment of crisis of the left; but perhaps that is where the similarities end.
The competition is fierce: Torino, Venice, Bergamo, Ravenna, Urbino, Siena, PerugiAssisi (as they style themselves for this), Terni, L’Aquila, Amalfi, Bari, Brindisi, Catanzaro and Palermo. Against these “pezzi grossi” the city of Matera in Basilicata has put itself forward as a candidate for the title of European Capital of Culture for 2019.
I am honored to participate in this very important dialogue with my distinguished colleagues, who have already weighed in with profound and even provocative observations. While all the posts have been interesting, I especially like George DeStefano’s commentary.