In This Review

Ciao, America! An Italian Discovers the U.S
Ciao, America! An Italian Discovers the U.S
By Beppe Severgnini
Broadway Books, 2002, 272 pp

One of the most delightful books in many years, Ciao, America! describes the author's experiences during a year in the United States. Literate, quirky, and wise, Severgnini reminds the reader that the European discovery of America is a continuing and often unsettling process. But like other European discoverers, he confines his attention mostly to the coastlands. A year in the Washington, D.C., neighborhood of Georgetown (along with Cambridge and Manhattan, one of the most Europeanized settlements in the country) is not yet l'Amerique profonde, even if it involves him in such American adventures as participating in a park cleanup and "talking politics with a neighbor named Greg." For a more complete picture, he would be advised to go deeper -- Shreveport, Louisiana, maybe, or Lincoln, Nebraska. Alas, Europeans seem as unwilling as the inhabitants of Georgetown to penetrate too deeply into the American core.