1939 · Indianapolis
Pietro Di Donato (1911-1992), son of an Italian immigrant from the Abruzzi, wrote this acclaimed novel depicting the immigrant experience in American before the Second World War. Di Donato used concrete as a metaphor for the modern world, a building material that supplanted the traditional Abruzzese reliance on stone. In the novel he chronicles the compromises made by an Italian immigrant in order to survive in a world which prized efficiency over craftsmanship. An excerpt of the novel appeared in Esquire Magazine in 1937 and it was adapted into a movie in England in 1949 entitled Give us this Day (U.S. release Christ in Concrete), directed by Edward Dmytryk. It won an award at the Venice Film Festival of that year.
Di Donato wrote five novels in addition to Christ in Concrete, including This Woman (1958), The Immigrant Saint: Life of Mother Cabrini (1960), The Penitent (1962) and the American Gospel (2000). In 1970 an edition of his collected works was published under the title, Naked Author, which includes some of his published articles and reviews. (Inventory #: 6)