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Publisher's Summary

An adventure of the heart in the mold of literature's classic spiritual journeys.

It began with a girl. Then it was Italian food. After that it was books and discovering that even Mark Twain had fallen for Italy. E. M. Forster was smitten too: :Love and understand the Italians, for the people are more marvelous than the land."

What is it about Italy and Italians?

Italian movies immortalize the mystique. Fellini called it La Dolce Vita. Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso took James Shaw back to the sweet memories of his childhood and the Italian family who operated the hometown theater. And just like in the movie, young James had an Alfredo who, by example, taught him about serving people.

James learned that Italians don't feel they're special. Luigi Barzini, author of The Italians, repeatedly asked, "Why are we the way we are?" and found no conclusive answer.

But James was convinced there was a reason why the Renaissance was born in Tuscany and Italy has given the world Saint Francis, Michelangelo, da Vinci, Galileo, and now Benigni, whose film, Life Is Beautiful, showed the world that the Italian zest for living can even make a heaven of a hell.

And so, after a lifetime of thinking about Italy, James became convinced that the way to find out why Italians are the way they are would be to eat with them at their kitchen tables. Day after day he picked their olives, and the Italians began treating him like family. And James began seeing their unique human quality that attracts people to Italy and keeps pulling them back again and again.

But the story doesn't end in the olive groves of Tuscany. To discover the heart of Italian life, James had to travel back to World War II Italy.

An Italian Journey will inspire you to follow your passions, your enthusiasms, to your own beautiful discoveries.

Bella Scoperta!

©2012 James Ernest Shaw (P)2015 James Ernest Shaw

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Carla
  • Helotes, TX, United States
  • 05-18-16

Not my cup of tea

Too much preaching and not enough about the country or the people. Would not recommend it. Narration was not good. Was expecting another Under The Tuscan Sun and was very disappointed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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unfortunate choice

I am confident that this book has wonderful appeal, as I can concur that Italy is a magnificent destination.
The problem I had was with the 'reader'. He exhibited no particular emotion and, for me, read the text as if he was on a time constraint......he raced through the book and I found his performance listless and uninspiring. I even fell asleep. Really disappointed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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AN ITALIAN JOURNEY ~ MY CONSTANT COMPANION!

If you could sum up An Italian Journey in three words, what would they be?

Inspiring! Fascinating! Personal!

What was one of the most memorable moments of An Italian Journey?

Listening to James Ernest Shaw, through audio, was as though he was sitting with me in my living room, sharing his experiences with me, capturing my attention to every word, waiting for his next story.

Which scene was your favorite?

Each chapter, with the inspirational quotes as the lead-in, has given me so much pleasure and insight into Italy - the life, culture, and characteristics of the people and their relationship to their heritage and land with a spiritual connection to life and stewardship of all we are given in life.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

An Italian Journey - My awakening to the heart of Italy!

Any additional comments?

I can't say enough about James Ernest Shaw and his revelations of his experiences in Italy! The book is my constant companion. As a reader who loves to hold copy in hand, turning every page, I must say I enjoyed the audio version immensely, as it was a "personal" experience with the author, likened to a friend relating their experience to me in friendly conversation. Well read, easily followed, pleasant voice that the listener could be drawn into the experience and feel it was their own! I would love to sit down at "table" and enjoy conversation with Mr. Shaw! I'm sure he has much more he can reveal!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Audio version is so difficult to listen to!

I’m not quite sure who encouraged this author to read aloud for the audio version of his novel. It was so difficult to listen to due to the fact he sounded like he needed to clear his throat the entire time. It was also hard to hear the end of his sentences....he would be understandable at the beginning but then run out of breath or something that made him fade away to nothing at the end. So bummed to have spent my money on something I can’t use...ugh!

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Loved it!

For not being Italian, the author has a beautiful grasp on the Italian heritage. As a Italian U recommend this book to all people who want a glimpse of Italian life.

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Not for me

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

If you've always been curious about Italy but never been, you might have a better shot at enjoying this book. I've been to Italy several times and go back every year experiencing it for myself. I think the author trails off a lot and the narration is hard to get used to. It might be better as a physical read.

What do you think your next listen will be?

The Medici

What didn’t you like about James Ernest Shaw’s performance?

The way he distinguished other characters in the book.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from An Italian Journey?

The story about James farting. I understand why he put it in there but it added nothing for me and I stopped listening after that.

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Not really about Italy

Would you try another book from James Ernest Shaw and/or James Ernest Shaw?

No

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

This book was simply a platform for him to preach his religious beliefs, which is fine but he should be upfront about that. I was looking for an audible book to paint.a visual picture of Italy for me but the fact that this took place in Italy was secondary to the narrative. Unless you are a Catholic who does not believe in divorce and believes that single mothers {regardless of how they ended up as single mothers} deserve no assistance or compassion, then I would not recommend this book.

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Don't bother with this book

Stopped listening after 4 chapters. Hates the narrator his voice was not pleasing. It was too scratchy and grates on the ears. Hated the politics that came into the story so often. I hadn't planned to read a book on international politics Waste of my money and my time.

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Very Disappointing

Wow, what an aggravating, depressing listen this was, I listen to books while commuting and I thought it might be funny, but it ended up being mostly frustrating! I'm planning the journey of my life to Italy, and this book makes me want to stay away! Almost Nothing pleased her, makes Italy seem not worth going to, let alone with a disabled, hard to please mother! Sorry, but can I get my money back??

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This book was inspiring

I loved hearing James tales of his experiences with the Italian people in his own words. He shares stories as well as his faith and I was very inspired by his journey and views. I even listened to some parts twice!!