Italian Americans review: Fascinating look at epic struggles

Feb 15, 2015 1792

by David Wiegand

There is a kind of template for the immigrant experience, dating back to the 19th century: People come to the United States seeking better lives, often band together with their own kind for a while and eventually assimilate into the storied melting pot of American culture. Older generations are generally slower to adapt, often leaving it to their children and grandchildren to become fully Americanized, to the frequent dismay of their elders.

In some cases, though, the old ways die especially hard, and that was true for the Italian Americans, subjects of a fascinating four-hour documentary airing over the next two weeks on PBS. Written and produced by John Maggio and narrated by actor Stanley Tucci, "The Italian Americans" begins, of course, in Italy before it was Italy. 

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