Mark Rotella

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March 23, 2019
Rotella moderates The Cost of Survival at the Montclair Literary Festival

Two extraordinary true stories examine foreign policy, rescue missions, and the will to survive. The Desert and the Sea: 977 Days Captive on the Somali Pirate Coast, is Michael Scott Moore’s memoir of his three years of captivity by Somali pirates, while Stephan Talty’s Saving Bravo: The Greatest Rescue Mission in Navy SEAL History tells the untold story of the most important rescue mission of the cold war. Mark Rotella moderates a conversation between the authors at the Montclair Library Auditorium, 5:15 to 6:15 pm.

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Stolen Figs and Other Adventures in Calabria

Stolen Figs



Listen to Enrico Caruso, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Dion, Bobby Darin, or any of the songs in the book by clicking on the iTunes playlist link below.

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book description


The Story of Italian American Song

Amore is Mark Rotella’s celebration of the “Italian decade”—the years after the war and before the Beatles when Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Dean Martin, and Tony Bennett, among others, won the hearts of the American public with a smooth, stylish, classy brand of pop. In Rotella’s vivid telling, the stories behind forty Italian American classics (from “O Sole Mio,” “Night and Day,” and “Mack the Knife” to “Volare” and “I Wonder Why”) show how a glorious musical tradition became the sound track of postwar America and the expression of a sense of style that we still cherish.

Rotella follows the music from the opera houses and piazzas of southern Italy, to the barrooms of the Bronx and Hoboken, to the Copacabana, the Paramount Theatre, and the Vegas Strip. He shows us the hardworking musicians whose voices were to become ubiquitous on jukeboxes and the radio and whose names—some anglicized, some not—have become bywords for Italian American success, even as they were dogged by stereotypes and prejudice.

Amore is the personal Top 40 of one proud son of Italy; it is also a love song to Italian American culture and an evocation of an age that belongs to us all.