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Ciao, America!: An Italian Discovers the U.S. Paperback – May 13 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (May 13 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767912365
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767912365
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.5 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #372,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover
As usual some italians never miss a chance to complain and bash about things they either don't have or don't understand. Clearly the author has been living in the stone age far too long. What does he mean with "How many people have actually ever bought an airline ticket over the internet?". Probably every single person I know! Or "How many people have actually ever sent data over the internet?". Practically the entire US population! His observations are not only shallow and over analyzed, most of them are just not accurate. Further, he fails to capture the true underlying issues embedded in the American way of life. The social and cultural issues that are ripping this country apart. A very poor analysis of non-issues that are, for the most part, just a result of his ignorance. His arrogance. Money NOT well spent I must say. P.S. I am an Italian living in the US.
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By pma on Feb. 5 2004
Format: Paperback
I picked up "Ciao America!" as one of my flatmates is from Italy, and I was thinking it was going to be a great satirical, sarcastic view of a foreigner living in America. Instead, for the most part, it was over-simplistic and too general in its writing and over-exaggerated in its complaints (even though I'm far from being an apologist of American social behavior). Mostly it was fairly shallow observations from someone who I heard was an extremely introspective and intelligent author. My flatmate assured me that he writes much better in Italian as he's less confident in translating his witticisms into English, so I guess his works in English will always leave something lacking. There were some chuckles in this book, but as far as satirical social observations go, I wouldn't put this near the front of the pack.
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Format: Paperback
I ran across this book while looking in the travel section of a local bookstore, and after flipping through it, decided I had to have it - I was curious what a foreigner might have to say about us. I read the first few pages, and couldn't put it down until I was through. Beppe writes about our way of life, experienced firsthand when he and his wife moved to America for a year. He writes about things we take for granted and might never make any observations about, such as obtaining credit cards, our use of air conditioning, mobile homes, malls and even his new neighbors. He writes about "us". It's written with a healthy dose of humor, and I found myself frequently laughing out loud. But he does more than relate stories and anecdotes - he has theories (for lack of a better word) about why we are the way we are. I initially thought I would read this for its entertainment value, but I realized I actually learned something in the process. Read this with an open mind, a sense of humor, and you'll be surprised what you learn from this relatively short, but very entertaining book. Can't recommend it enough if you're interested at all in learning more about our way of life from a different perspective.
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Format: Paperback
First of all, the author's name is BEPPE SEVERGNINI. Not Beppe Severgnia, Bepe Vergnini or Betty Sevegnini, as some American utility and credit card companies would have it. The imperviousness of Americans to correct spelling is one of the things that drove Severgnini nuts during his year in Washington, D.C. as a correspondent for the Milanese newspaper Corriere della Sera. Among the other things were peanut butter; the hostility of American drivers toward other drivers who want to enter their lane of traffic; the inability of king-size American mattresses to fit minuscule Georgetown townhouses; and waiters who are anxious to tell you their first names. "Ciao, America!" is Severgnini's witty, appreciative but far from uncritical assessment of America and the American national character, following up on a similar book he wrote about the English. Though he does get some things wrong--for example, Americans don't obey speed limits as faithfully as he thinks, and he doesn't understand that the Spam memorabilia craze is an ironic kitsch phenomenon, rather than a straightforward tribute to a beloved food--he gets a great deal startlingly right. And he's honest enough to write the following: "Italians don't copy the important things about America, such as patriotism, optimism, and a sense of personal responsibility. Our passion, which is shared by three-quarters of the world's population, is to imitate the superficial aspects of American life, which include vocabulary, soft drinks, jeans, hairstyles, films, and songs." Tart, charming and at times unexpectedly poignant--particularly in the "Five Years Later" postscript chapter that demonstrates you can't revisit the past--"Ciao, America!" makes piquant and fascinating reading for any American. It would be great fun to read it right after finishing "Under the Tuscan Sun"!
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By A Customer on Dec 14 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is full of interesting snapshots of what we Americans are like from the point of view of a European. Of course, living in D.C. is not going to give a perfect picture of American life style or Americans, but the whole book is interesting and funny. For Americans who have traveled in Europe a lot, maybe there is not much here that is new, but seeing America through the eyes of a European, written in such a humorous style, was for me really entertaining. It is great "light" reading - easy to pick up for a few minutes at a time.
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