- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Trinacria Editions LLC (Nov. 10 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 061579694X
- ISBN-13: 978-0615796949
- Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.6 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 431 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #500,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Peoples of Sicily: A Multicultural Legacy Paperback – Nov 14 2014
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About the Author
Louis Mendola is one of Sicily’s foremost medievalists, and one of the very few whose work is known beyond Italian borders. His first scholarly paper (on the Battle of Benevento of 1266) was published in 1985; others consider such topics as the history of the medieval Normans in Sicily. He wrote the first book covering the entire seven-century history of the Kingdom of Sicily, and the first English translations of two chronicles of the thirteenth century. Having researched in Italy, Britain, Spain, Germany, France and the Vatican, he has been consulted by The History Channel, the BBC and The New York Times. Read by millions internationally, his online articles have made him one of the most popular Sicilian historians of the present century.
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A Brief Review by David Brooks, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
***** Five Stars
This highly recommended book, The Peoples of Sicily: A Multicultural Legacy, brings together useful information and remarkable original research, stretching from pre-Christian days to modern times. It is a little over 300 pages, and includes a series of appendices for time lines, lists of sources, a list of related literature, a list of places to visit, and even an index. Don’t think of it as a travel guide (Lonely Planet – Sicily is better for that purpose), but rather as a history and culture advisor for travellers. For that reason, I found it useful to take the book with me on my visit to Sicily because it presents the island in four dimensions, where the fourth is time. No other small area that I can recollect has been subject to so many waves of invasion or of traders or of refugees, many of which have overlapped in time, and most of which have left some legacy, to use the authors’ own wording.
As a result, after visiting some site or hearing about the effects of some group that played a role in the Island’s government or trade or culture for a while, I often found myself looking back to see what Mendola and Alio said about that same period or location. Such reading, or re-reading, is enhanced by the author’s use of short chapters that that focus on individuals or sites that they review with an historical perspective.
Travelling with The Peoples of Sicily in your shoulder bag is like having a thoughtful guide to read whenever you want it, and who, thanks to the index and the short chapters, can make linkages from one time to another, and from one place to another. If you are going to Sicily, or are just interested in this very special island that is politically attached to Italy, but different from Italy in so many ways--and if you have time to read just one book, it should be Mendola and Alio’s "The Peoples of Sicily." Nowhere else will you get so good a feel for the peoples, the places, and the politics that collectively make the island work, even as many complain about the inefficiency of its government and a frequent resistance to change.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
My wife and I are planning a Mediterranean trip and found this book more useful and informative than any travel guide. When visiting historical sites, we now have a framework in which to place the major historical events from the Tarxien Temples of Malta to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V- King of Spain, King of Sicily and ruler of Western Europe.
Some of the interesting nuggets in this book:
-Jews forced to convert or emigrate often took the name of their town as their last name
-Marsala comes from Mars el' Allah or "Port of God"
-The Arab conquest brought a lot of financial innovation to Sicily such as letters of credits and checks
-At the time of the Norman conquest, Palermo alone generated more revenue than all of England
-To this day, Sicilians refer to red haired people as "Normans"
-During the Vespers rebellion, people were asked to say "ceci" or chickpea in Sicilian to see if they had a French accent
I just wish the book did not end at the Spanish Inquisition. There has been a lot more history over the past 500 years.