The Irish and Italians: A Love-Hate Story (Or a Hate Story that Became a Love Story)

Growing up in Brooklyn, I belonged to a predominantly Sicilian parish headed by a priest with silvery hair and wooly white eyebrows, whose surname was Riley. The pastor’s homilies often involved itemizations of parish expenses, and some say that on one occasion he held up a few fronds of the kind distributed freely on Palm Sunday and declared, “Do you think these grow on trees?” When he was not preaching about money, the Irish priest was, more subtly, admonishing the Italians.

Review of an engrossing history crafted by Paul Moses …

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