An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York’s Irish and Italians, by Paul Moses, Brooklyn College, CUNY
Starting in the nineteenth century, Irish Americans and Italian Americans found themselves at odds: in the Catholic Church, on the waterfront, at construction sites, and in the streets. But after World War II the two communities made peace, via intermarriage on a large scale. In his book An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York’s Irish and Italians (New York University Press, 2015), veteran New York City journalist Paul Moses unfolds this story of how two of America’s largest ethnic groups learned to live with each other in the wake of decades of animosity. Illustrative examples include the love affair between radical labor organizers Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and Carlo Tresca; hero detective Joseph Petrosino’s struggle to be accepted in the Irish-run NYPD; and Frank Sinatra’s competition with Bing Crosby to be the country’s top male vocalist. With this engaging history, Moses demonstrates that Americans are able to absorb and be transformed by social change and conflict.