The Italian American Reader has been seven decades in the making. It could simply and accurately be described as a dazzlingly smart and lively collection of superb works by some of America's most gifted writers. All their surnames happen to end in vowels, true, but that need not affect your enjoyment of this volume one way or the other. America, too, is an Italian name ending in a vowel. Inside, there are nearly seventy excellent things for you to read -- excerpts from novels and memoirs, short stories, essays, and poems -- by the living and the dead, the famous and the obscure. This is a gathering of voices old and new, some speaking in the accents of another age, some completely contemporary and assured, all together for the first time. To stand with all the other popular media images we represent, now, at last, one exists in written form, the literature of Italian American life the past, present, and future, which is also America's future.