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Sicily: An Illustrated History (Illustrated Histories): Joseph Privitera: 9780781809092: Books

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Sicily: An Illustrated History (Illustrated Histories) Paperback – June 1, 2002

by Joseph Privitera (Author) 18 customer reviews
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    18 customer reviews

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    Chris Martin 3.0 out of 5 starsA Handy work for readers but the illustrations let it down February 11, 2014Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase This is another small but handy, historical country overview produced by the New York based Hippocrene Publishers which focuses on European country histories and,more recently,European city histories. The publishers have selected an American academic (and Sicilian son) Joseph Privitera to present us readers with a delectable brief story and list of interesting facts relating to that special Mediterranean island which the ancient Greeks called Trinacria or three-sided.

    Situated on the toe of Italy in the mid -Mediterranean,the author traces how Sicilian history inevitably become the history of the rivalry of the great powers around it like Athens, Rome, Carthage then the Saracens in North Africa,the Normans then the Spanish. On the way, he describes in some detail the quite unique Sicilian contribution to modern food,classics and Italian dialect language. Privitera presents his work in a methodical,cryptic style as we read the short paragraphs with many subheadings.

    But the publishers somehow get it wrong in using such poor quality black and white photographs; some look like old photocopies when colour plates would have been so much better for so little extra cost for what,after all,is called an illustrated history. The almost complete absence of commentary on architecture is a glaring weakness given the outstanding examples of classical temples at Agrigento and Byzantine mosaics at Monreale. Another strange feature is the absence of a reference list.

    The book is best used as a quick guide for the general public rather than a scholar's library addition or use as a coffee table book. 6 people found this helpful Helpful Comment Report abuse Dr. James E. Purpura 5.0 out of 5 starsExcellent overview of Sicilian History July 9, 2012Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase OK the book is mistitled--the illustrated part is terrible. Now on with the book.

    I've read a lot of histories of Sicily and of individual aspects of Sicily, and this one was excellent. It read like a novel. I literally could not put it down...even though at times it was really sad and it made me furious to see how many people thought they could "own" Sicily.

    Dr. Privitera took us through the different periods in the history, always keeping clear that the Sicilian people were the real occupants of the island and the others were there temporarily. And these others were often oppressors, opportunists, and thieves. I didn't know about how horrible the Spanish empire was or how the inquisition in Sicily decimated the Island. In my view the oppression includes the current state of affairs in modern Italy. Viva la Sicilia libera!

    I think this is a "must read" for everyone who has Sicilian roots.

    Yes, Dr. Privitera could have spent more time on the Phonencians and the Catagenians, and even the Romans, but I thought too much detail would have been overwhelming. So even though there were gaps, I though the book, overall, was an excellent read, insightful, and well-written narrative. 8 people found this helpful Helpful Comment Report abuse Amazon Customer 3.0 out of 5 starsBook not what I expected. June 15, 2016Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase Book was not what I pictured; small (approx. 4" x 6") and maybe 70 pages with small print. Brief (not detailed) history of Siciliy. All my grandparents came from Sicily & I was expecting this to be a much more detailed history than it was so I am somewhat disappointed. One person found this helpful Helpful Comment Report abuse Freddy 5.0 out of 5 starsPichiddu sentame! April 29, 2015Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase Pretty good history of Sicily. I am impressed and enjoy taking it out and reviewing it once in a while even thought I read through it already. Helpful Comment Report abuse Juliette 4.0 out of 5 starsThe restless culture August 9, 2010Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase Even though this book is short and not very illustrated, it does give the reader a good start in the exploration of the most invaded culture in Western Civilzation. Reading it prompted me to continue a more in depth research. It also opened my eyes to the reason for the restlessness of my ancestors that migrated from this land to America. Their love for the homeland is even more clear to me now. One person found this helpful Helpful Comment Report abuse JG 5.0 out of 5 starsA great summary and beginners book for those interested in the ... April 25, 2016Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase A great summary and beginners book for those interested in the fascinating and complex history of Sicily. Highly recommended and very light, easy enjoyable read! Helpful Comment Report abuse Walk talk eat 3.0 out of 5 starsMinimally illustrated. May 18, 2015Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase "Illustrated" seems an overstatement in this case. Helpful Comment Report abuse CP 4.0 out of 5 starsSicilian History April 24, 2010Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase This book is great for the person who wants to find out more about their Sicilian history. A good look at the actions that took place on the island. Helpful Comment Report abuse See all 18 reviews Write a customer review

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