Italian Americans reveals how the unique and distinctive qualities of one immigrant groupGÇÖs experience have shaped and challenged America. After working to earn money to support their families, nearly half of the first generation Italian immigrants returned to Italy. For those that made America their home, the struggle to maintain a distinct Italian culture was guided by the powerful ideals of family in which the needs of the collective came before the individualGÇöa value system often at odds with American ideals of freedom and personal choice. This clash of culture echoes through generations of Italian Americans, and as they have entered positions of political, social, and cultural influence, it has left its mark on the American landscape.
The Italian Americans