The Boston Italians

A Story of Pride, Perseverance and Paesani, from the Years of the Great Immigration to the Present Day

This story of the Boston Italians begins with their earliest years, when a largely illiterate and impoverished people in a strange land recreated the bonds of village and region in the cramped quarters of the North End.

Focusing on this first and crucial Italian enclave, The Boston Italians describes the experience of Boston’s Italian immigrants as they battled poverty, illiteracy, and prejudice (Italians were lynched more often than members of any other ethnic group except African Americans); explains their transformation into Italian Americans during the Depression and World War II; and chronicles their rich history in Boston up to the present day.

Much of the story is told from the perspective of the Italian leaders who guided and fought for their people’s progress, reacquainting readers with pivotal historical figures like James V. Donnaruma, founder of the key North End newspaper La Gazzetta del Massachusetts, now the English-language Post Gazette, and politician George A. Scigliano.

The book’s final section is devoted to interviews with today’s influential Boston Italian Americans, including Thomas M. Menino, the city’s first Italian American mayor. The story of the Boston Italians is among America’s most important, vibrant, and colorful sagas, and necessary reading for anyone seeking to understand the heritage of this ethnic group.

Steve Puleo donates a portion of his book proceeds to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. JDRF is the leading charitable funder and advocate of juvenile (type 1) diabetes research worldwide. To learn more, visit