This is a story of one branch of the Pepe family in America. Starting with its roots in Italy, the narrative tracks the family from 1800, through the years if the Risorgimento, to the hilltop village in Ferrandina in Southern Italy, then to Little Italy in New York, and finally, to the (then) bucolic suburban area of Gravesend in Brooklyn.
Along the way the family intersects with a number of historical figures and events, including Guglielmo Pepe, the George Washington of Italy, Maria Barbella, the first woman ever to be sentenced to the electric chair, Calhoun Washington, who was born a slave, Heavyweight Champion Bob Fitzsimmons, General George Armstrong Custer, John Philip Sousa, General Pershing and Pancho Villa.
The story is told in three parts. Part one details the history of Michele Pepe and his family, from Ferrandina to America, with stops in Little Italy and the Gravesend section of Brooklyn. Part two tells the true history of the family, from 1800 to the present.
Part Three is a memoir of Old Gravesend in the late thirties and early forties, a remembrance of the time, the place and the people.