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Waiting for Yesterday: Pages from a Street Kid's Life


Waiting For Yesterday

On these pages, fans of Michael Parenti’s insightful political and historical writings are given a revealing picture of his early years as a youth in New York's East Harlem, along with some of the influences that helped shape his lifelong commitment to activism and social justice. Written with style and dash, Waiting for Yesterday is devilishly enjoyable and sometimes very touching. It provides delightful vignettes about growing up in a three-generation, working-class, Italian family, along with the amusing predicaments of a street kid's life. The book offers a cast of diverse and colorful characters, brought to life on the gritty streets where Parenti played as a boy, set against a backdrop of impoverished tenements, stoops, punitive classrooms, and a neighborhood church with its ornate celestial offerings. This book is graced with both vivid imagery and sharp political observation. Parenti challenges many of the stereotypes faced by Italian Americans and other ethnic groups. Here is a story that is both personal and broad-ranging, often sweet and occasionally bitter, the human comedy at its best.

What others are saying about Waiting for Yesterday:

"Michael Parenti's poignant and wonderfully written memoir proves that nostalgia---in the right hands such as his--can be a liberating force."—Stanislao Pugliese, Distinguished Professor of Italian and Italian-American Studies

"I loved Parenti’s Waiting for Yesterday! It was like watching a great movie. Everyone should read this poignant and funny memoir. It’s about all of us."—Robert Zagone, Film Maker

"Parenti masterfully tells his story of growing up in Italian Harlem with wit, rich detail, and lucid literary style."—Jennifer Brouse, Artist and Illustrator

"This book is a remarkable combination of the personal and political, a brave, honest memoir and a provocative social analysis presented in a captivating way."—Milina Jovanovic, Ethnic Studies Scholar

Table of Contents of WAITING FOR YESTERDAY: Pages from a Street Kid's Life by Michael Parenti

  1. Dear Reader (Yes, I’m Talking To You)

  2. Part 1: The Family
  3. I Am Born Under Perilous Circumstances
  4. When Haarlem Became Harlem
  5. Grandma Marietta, Magic Healer
  6. Grandma Concetta, Midwife Healer
  7. Grandma Doesn’t Always Have to Be Italian
  8. The Old Men
  9. Grandfather Captivity
  10. Discovering Italy in America
  11. Why My Name is Not Joseph
  12. “La Famiglia, La Famiglia”

  13. Part 2: Community and Friends
  14. “What’s a Slum?”
  15. “We Built This Country”
  16. The Struggle for Survival
  17. All Sorts of People

  18. Part 3: The School
  19. “Eyes Glued to the Head in Front of You”
  20. The Teacher Creature
  21. School for Patriots
  22. Producing Proper Citizens

  23. Part 4: Coming of Age Stuff
  24. The Natural Superiority of Girls
  25. Another Japanese War Atrocity
  26. Loving Miss Lynch
  27. The Undertaker’s Wife

  28. Part 5: The Street
  29. Inventing Space
  30. Fighting with Friends
  31. Italian Names, American Games
  32. Bulls and Other Hustlers
  33. Casanova’s Descendants and Satchel Too

  34. Part 6: Priests and Politicos
  35. Jesus Was a Roman Catholic
  36. Denunciation and Deliverance
  37. My First Protestant
  38. Someone Else to Remember

  39. Part 7 Benito and the Old Country
  40. Living with Mussolini
  41. On the Trail of Benito’s “Shadow”
  42. How Italy “Won” World War I
  43. How Italy Also “Won” World War II

  44. Part 8: Moving Along
  45. Outrunning the Dogs
  46. Bread Story
  47. Tony Faces the Irish
  48. From Tammany to Television

  49. Part 9: The Media Mess
  50. Italian Stereotypes
  51. Gangsters and Banksters
  52. “Ah Mafioso”

  53. Part 10: Goodbye Italian Harlem
  54. Italy Discovers Pizza
  55. “It’s in the Blood”
  56. Homage to Puglia
  57. Coming Home to Both Worlds


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