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Zucchi, John E.

1875-1935. Montreal. McGill-Queen's University Press. 1988. 256pp. cloth. $29.95. ISBN 0-7735-0653-5. CIP

Grades 11 and up / Ages 16 and up
Reviewed by John D. Crawford

Volume 17 Number 3
1989 May

This is a detailed survey of the development of the Italian community in Toronto before 1935. This development shows the transformation of the original home-town-oriented groups of immigrants in Toronto into a larger community with a national identity.

Before World War I the overseas communities were in many respects colonies of their original home towns in Italy, and these groups brought with them the skills and trades for which their home towns had been famous. As time went on the connections with the home localities weakened, and it was then that the immigrants changed their allegiances. Given the political back ground of the interwar period, it is not surprising that Italian nationalism gained many adherents among Italian immigrants in Toronto.

A major strength of this book lies in its considerable detail. Many of the individual features included are not of striking interest in themselves, but in total they provide an interesting impression of Italian immigrant society. Collecting this detail suggests assiduous research on the part of Zucchi, and this is confirmed by the copious end-notes and bibliography. The seven chapters of the text represent social divisions within the immigrant community, with some chronological development also apparent. Perhaps a little more could have been written about opposition to southern European immigration, which existed at the time, and also about the links between Italian communities in Canada and the United States. However, the overall picture presented is both complete and rich.

This is a very valuable addition to immigrant literature, one which can be recommended to those students, particularly at the university level, who seek analysis in depth of an immigrant community.

John D. Crawford, Marigold School, Victoria, B.C.
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