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University of Manitoba Press
The following review appeared in the September 2015 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social & Behavioral Sciences
History, Geography & Area Studies - North America
Canadian public historian Tomchuk's approach to a study of the North American Italian anarchist movement is reasonable: a transnational focus yields insights otherwise obscured by traditional state-centered studies. Unfortunately, the discussion, limited to evidence from only six cities (Sault Ste. Marie, Toronto, Windsor, Detroit, New York City, and Newark), somewhat attenuates the benefits of this approach. This aside, no previous monograph has focused on Italian migrant anarchists, and Tomchuk has made a valuable contribution to both labor history and sociology. After an introduction in which he skillfully (and evenhandedly) surveys the varieties of Italian anarchism, he makes a solid argument that Italian anarchism in its North American home mobilized resources (for declaring strikes, fleeing persecution, or combating deportations), forged an identity, and created a vibrant (but male-dominated) subculture, primarily because of its members’ ability to move across intellectual (through newspapers and journals) or physical borders. The narrative regarding the struggle for the “hearts and minds” of the urban community within so many of the “little Italies,” waged between the pro-Fascist Italian consulate (after 1922) and its left-wing opponents (including anarchists), is fascinating. Hopefully, subsequent studies will build upon the solid foundation established here.--R. T. Ingoglia, Caldwell University