Amalia's Tale by David I. Kertzer
A Poor Peasant, an Ambitious Attorney, and a Fight for Justice

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This quintessential David-and-Goliath saga tells the story of a wholly unexpected triumph of the poor against the rich and of a crusading city attorney who fought on behalf of an impoverished peasant.
Amalia Bagnacavalli, an illiterate young peasant from the mountains near Bologna, is forced by poverty to take in a child from the city’s foundling home to wet-nurse. When Amalia contracts syphilis from the sickly and malformed baby given to her, the city fathers callously dismiss her pleas for treatment and restitution.
Bewildered and frightened, she seeks out Augusto Barbieri, an ambitious attorney looking to make a name for himself. He takes up Amalia’s cause, fighting the case for years through the Italian courts before winning an unprecedented and stunning victory for his by now broken client. The unforgettable story of a landmark struggle for basic human rights, Amalia’s Tale is the moving drama of a rural woman whose life was ruined and the man from the city who would not stop -- or so it seemed -- until he had seen justice done.

About David I. Kertzer

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David I. Kertzer was born in 1948 in New York City. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1986, he has twice been awarded, in 1985 and 1990, the Marraro Prize from the Society for Italian Historical Studies for the best work on Italian history. He is currently Paul Dupee, Jr. University Professor of Social Science and a professor of anthropology and history at Brown University. He and his family live in Providence.
Published March 6, 2008 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 257 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Travel, Law & Philosophy, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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Augusto Barbieri, an energetic lawyer from this reforming younger generation, was recommended to Amalia by an indignant doctor aware of the foundling home’s careless treatment of its wet nurses.

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Deseret News

In a nutshell: This is a David-and-Goliath story from late 19th-century Italy about a poor woman from Bologna who earns a little money as a wet nurse for abandoned babies obtained from a foundling home.

Mar 09 2008 | Read Full Review of Amalia's Tale: A Poor Peasant...

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