One of my particular topics of interest is immigration to Argentina, particularly Eastern European, Jewish or Italian immigration but also from other countries (Irish, British, or I guess just about anywhere). I’m always interested in reading personal stories of immigration to Argentina.
As I was browsing the bookstores on Corrientes yesterday, I came across a book that is a fascinating history of Italians in Argentina, appropriately named Historia de los italianos en la Argentina.
The book (almost 500 pages) is a scholarly study of the topic by Fernando Devoto, a history professor at the University of Buenos Aires who for more than 25 years has been researching Italian immigration to Argentina. Yet, the book is still very readable and informative for anyone interested in this topic.
The book starts with the early migration under Rosas but focuses on the height of Italian immigration to Argentina in the late 1800s and early 1900s. An entire chapter is devoted to the institutions of the Italians in Argentina, e.g, the mutual associations, hospitals, and clubs. There are numerous short profiles of Italian-Argentine intellectuals, scientists, and professionals that contributed to the development of Argentina. Also, a section covers the role of Italians in the Argentine left, the workers movement, and anarchism. Later chapters cover the period between the two world wars (which includes a section on fascism and Italian communities in Argentina), and the last chapter is from 1945 to the present.
Last night I only had time to browse through the book and read a few sections but I’m really looking forward to reading more of it. As I progress through the book, I’ll post a few bits of relevant commentary to the blog. But if you’re Argentine-Italian or interested in Argentine history, then this is a good book for your collection.