Stephen Puleo's latest book is The Boston Italians: A Story of Pride, Perseverance and Paesani, from the Years of the Great Immigration to the Present Day. His previous books include Due to Enemy Action: The True World War II Story of the USS Eagle 56, and Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919, a critically-acclaimed Boston-area bestseller.
As the paperback edition of The Boston Italians is released this month, I wanted to make a few observations about readers' reactions to the book since the hardcover’s debut a year ago. I have received hundreds of e-mails and spoken to nearly two thousand people at presentations throughout the Boston area; the response has been overwhelmingly positive and heartwarming – from Italian-Americans and others – and has fallen into two main categories.
First, there is the resounding opinion that the book was long overdue; that it's simply about time Boston’s second largest ethnic group was the subject of a "non-Mob" book. That the real story – one of Italian immigrants overcoming enormous odds and paving the way for their children and grandchildren to achieve remarkable success – needed to be told.