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  • "Many of the peasants were driven to join the brigand-led bands, at least on a part-time basis, to keep their families from starving; but brigandaggio, as it was euphemistically branded, also became a visceral response to forces that were pressing them beyond the limits of their patience. Wondering why so many of the southern poor were attracted to it, a parliamentary report of 1863 pointed out that the peasantry respected and emulated the brigand, 'not as the thief, assassin, the man of sack and rapine, but as the person whose own powers sufficed to get for himself and for others the justice which the law fails to give.'"

    —Jerre Mangione and Ben Morreale, La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian American Experience (New York: HarperPerennial, 1992), 61

    December 17, 2009