Author of the Month with J. Michael Niotta, Ph.D.

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The Fight Abroad & the Fear Back Home 

While Italian Americans served bravely in WWII, their relatives and loved ones back home endured hardships along the California coast—property seizure, curfew and travel restrictions, forced relocation, shame, and selective internment. They too had become enemy aliens. And after Proclamation 4 called for the Japanese exodus in March of 1942, the Italians were slated to follow. Come for the talk; stay for the discussion. October is Italian-American Heritage Month. 

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About the Author: Italian-American Dr. J. Michael Niotta is the author of three nonfiction titles—The Los Angeles Sugar Ring (2017), The Fight Abroad & the Fear Back Home (2019), and Los Angeles Underworld (2021). As the eldest great grandson of Los Angeles Godfather Jack Dragna—“perhaps the only classic ‘Godfather’ the city has ever known” (LA Times, 1987)—organized crime in Southern California has long been his specialized field of study. The Iraqi Freedom veteran with twenty years of military service has lectured at the Las Vegas Mob Museum and appeared as a crime SME on NatGeo and the Travel Channel. Niotta is also a mixed media artist and President of the El Rey Beer Club.


This program is part of the series The Rebellious Miss Breed: San Diego Public Library and the Japanese American IncarcerationThis project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a partner of the NEH. Visit


Information and program content can be made available in alternative formats upon request. To request disability-related modifications or accommodations, please email

Author of the Month is a project of the Friends of Central Library and is held on the 2nd Saturday of the month. Help the Friends to support the Library and become a member.