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The Abruzzo Trilogy: v. 1-3: Fontamara, Bread and Wine, The Seed Beneath the Snow Paperback – 10 Feb 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 927 pages
  • Publisher: Steerforth Press; First printing of this edition edition (10 Feb. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586420062
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586420062
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 4.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 116,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A. Reynolds on 7 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This volume consists of Ignazio Silone's three most well-known novels: Fontamara, Bread and Wine, and The Seed Beneath the Snow, and includes a foreword which provides a helpful introduction to the author and his works. Written between 1931 and 1940 these books, recounting the harsh lives of the Abruzzo peasants in their struggle against poverty, injustice and the bleak mountain territory they inhabit, are towering achievements and to my mind stand alongside the greatest literature. Written with scathing wit and with remarkable insight into the realities of life in the mountain villages of Italy in the fascist Mussolini years, they also reflect Silone's own struggles with both politics and his faith. Remarkable writing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paraducks on 4 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone who has asked me for a book to understand Italy and Italians, has been referenced to The Italians by Luigi Barzini. Now I will have to add The Abruzzo Trilogy. If you want to understand the soul of an Italian and why Italy is what it is today, this is a must read. If you want to understand the basis of "familismo amorale," the cultural moray that explains everything from perceived government corruption to why someone will park in a crosswalk at an intersection and create a hazard to pedestrians and drivers alike, genuinely without a thought about it, then this book is your read. Modern Italians may appear to have little in common with the "cafone" of Fontamara but almost all are only a generation or two removed from them and the attitudes of modern Italians are only dressed up in new clothes rather than changed. Wonder why most Italians first goal in life is to have a paid for home? Read this book. Wonder why moral and ethical behavior is only practiced to members of the extended family? Read this book. Wonder why patronage drives an entire nation and culture, when most of European civilization has moved beyond it? Read this book. If you are not an Italian, Italians will not tell you about the history that Fontamara represents; even many Italians are ignorant because their family wants to ignore that they were ever part of this culture. A must read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Blue in Washington TOP 500 REVIEWERTOP 1000 REVIEWER on 28 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
This massive work by Ignazio Silone aka Secondino Tranquilli is actually three novels set in the rural and mountainous region of the Abruzzo where much of the population of farm peasants (calfoni) lived in continuous poverty for centuries and from where many of the Italian immigrants to the U.S., Canada and elsewhere came. The first book of the trilogy, "Fontamara", is the story of a particular village of calfoni and how its residents continuously suffer from exploitation not just by the landed gentry of the area but also by the new Fascist government that preaches egalitarianism but practices a rapacious state corporatism. When a champion of the poor rises out of frustration in their defense, he is quickly isolated and brought down, sometimes with the collaboration of the people he is trying to help.

"Bread and Wine" is the second part of the book, taking place some years after "Fontamara" and centered on the return of a native son, Pietro Spina, who has been living in political exile outside the country. Spina returns with hope of provoking political resistance to the increasingly oppressive national government led by Mussolini (but always referred to as "the leader".) Spina's arrival coincides with the Italian invasion of Ethiopia which brings new misery to the calfoni. Constantly moving through the Abruzzi landscape, but with little success to show for his organizing efforts, Spina eventually must flee (into Book Three).

The last part of the trilogy, "The Seed Beneath the Snow", is the author's subtle denunciation the stifling, corrupt and treacherous social structure of petit bourgeois living in the region's villages and small towns.
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