In 1910, nearly half of Italian immigrants in the United States lived in cities and towns with fewer than 100,000 residents. Immigrants in these relatively small metropolitan areas developed ethnic communities like those that existed in larger cities, but they were sometimes also able to attain greater influence in the political, social, and commercial life. It is this class of communities, often neglected by scholars whose attention is drawn to the large metropolitan areas, that Bean explores in The Urban Colonists, a richly detailed history of Italian Americans in Utica, New York. Charting the rise of Utica's ""colonia"" in the mid-nineteenth century to its contemporary identity at the beginning of the twenty-first century, Bean probes the multiple facets of this ethnic community-the settlement of new neighborhoods, an often complex relationship with religion, briefly powerful labor organizations, active ethnic and political organizations, and tenacious ethnic nationalism. Drawing on archival materials, the immigrant and mainstream press, and interviews, the author also examines the evolution of Italian identity, tracing the process by which many Italians' identity, initially shaped by native loyalties, gave way to a more complex Italian American identity. The author deftly identifies the push and pull forces of both the Italian ethnic nationalist movement and the rich economic and political opportunities of the new country, illustrating how fierce loyalties and unfettered ambition helped make many Italian immigrants powerful political leaders in the community.