Portelli offers a new and challenging approach to oral history, with an interdisciplinary and multicultural perspective. Examining cultural conflict and communication between social groups and classes in industrial societies, he identifies the way individuals strive to create memories in order to make sense of their lives, and evaluates the impact of the fieldwork experience on the consciousness of the researcher. By recovering the value of the story-telling experience, Portelli's work makes delightful reading for the specialist and non-specialist alike.
Alessandro Portelli is Professor of American Literature at the University of Rome "La Sapienza. "
"The essays that Alessandro Portelli has produced on the meaning of oral history are incredibly insightful. The book is a real breakthrough in the analysis of oral history and will stimulate work in the field for years to come. " — John Bodnar, Oral History Research Center, and Department of History, Indiana University
"I can think of nothing which is so closely tied to actual fieldwork, and which brings such sophisticated theoretical understanding to that fieldwork. " — Ronald J. Grele, Director, Oral History Project, Columbia University
"This is a simply dazzling collection of essays, some dealing with the methodology of oral history, others giving its results. The insights of the author into the historian's craft and, more specifically, the dynamic between oral historians and their subjects are exceptional. Overall, the essays are beautifully crafted and very well written. The author's erudition is impressive but never overpowering. " — Donald Quataert, State University of New York, Binghamton