When Danilo Dolci, peace worker, organizer, educator, first arrived in 1952 in Trappeto, a village of peasants and fishermen in western Sicily, there were no streets, just mud and dust, not a single drugstore, not even a sewer. (In fact, the local dialect didn’t even have a word for sewer.) Like other Sicilians, the villagers, seen by many Italians as “bandits,” “dirt-eaters,” and “savages,” had, in effect, been mute for centuries.
Dolci’s years of work broke this silence. The result is Sicilian Lives, a book which reveals the intimate experiences and perceptions of a wide range of Sicilians, rural and urban, through voices that are sometimes frightening, but always fascinating and unexpected.
Danilo Dolci has collected a rich panorama of voices—the eloquent testimony of Sicilians who, at last, are speaking out to penetrate the most profound dilemmas of an impoverished land.