Begetters of Children


Fiction - Historical - Personage
208 Pages
Reviewed on 03/04/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite

Begetters of Children: The Story of Our Stories by Michael Pedretti is book three of a twelve-part series. This book chronicles a family as they embark on new lives in a valley called San Bernardo which offers them protection from war, plagues, and other threats. As the story weaves through the generations of this family, an inside look is presented of their history and their struggles as they built their lives. The book also includes a poignant perspective on the role of a hero in epics which is highlighted more vocally in the addendum. The book also includes lovely black and white photos of the area and documents that were found in San Bernardo, the genealogical story of Stefano Pedretti, and The Heroic Epic: An Essay.

Michael Pedretti provides a thorough and well-rounded insight into the history, culture, and generational history that is based in San Bernardo. The book is divided into two parts with two primary foci, the town and the family. The stories and history are framed in the tone and style of a heroic epic which brings to life the central perspective of kindness and women. The book begins with a lovely introduction that flips the idea of the epic hero being a male warrior that often uses violence to achieve victories and instead chooses to explore the epic hero as a planter. The hero at the center of this epic is someone that has no desire to do harm unto others or take anything from anyone.

The story opens with a poignant scene of Nico as he tells seventeen followers of a place safe from war, pestilence, and thievery, a place with descriptions that set up an image that is peaceful and idealistic. The stunning history of San Bernardo weaves through generations of a family that give peeks at various instances in their lives. You also learn the importance of water, livestock, religion, fuel, and housekeeping in the area which, along with primary documents, allows you to feel fully immersed. Begetters of Children is a stunning epic brought to life with history, photos, and stories of a family framed through the lens and commentary of the epic hero.

Kathryn Bennett

Begetters of Children by Michael Pedretti spins a tale of a family’s journey from Northern Italy to Wisconsin. A fictional account of a family that not only survives sickness, war, poor quality land but thrives. After developing a village in Northern Italy, the family makes the choice to move to the United States, and once in Wisconsin they set out to do as they did in Italy; thrive.

I was attracted to this book because it starts in Italy. I had the pleasure of going to Italy for the first time two years ago, and I am truly in love with the place. The second reason is that I am from Minnesota and the family heads to Wisconsin, the fun neighbor. I am glad I was attracted to this book because it did not disappoint. This might be a fictional account of a family but the characters have been written so well with such depth that I felt like I was reading a family memoir. This realism could be because author Michael Pedretti deftly weaves true history into the story he is telling.

My only complaint about this book is that I wish it was longer, I wanted more! If you are a reader who loves stories that could be real, that delve into the history of a place, this book is for you. The wonderful little tucked-away village that managed to find a way. Much like life in general, it finds a way. When the family makes the move to chilly Wisconsin, they continue in that same spirit. They find a way. They work hard and thrive. You’ll probably end up reading this great book from cover to cover in one sitting as I did.

K.C. Finn

Begetters of Children is a work of historical fiction written for adults by author Michael Pedretti. This work continues the author’s theme of researching the genealogy and the history of his own family line, and it tells the story of the emigration of a gentle Italian family who traversed the globe to settle in what would later be known as Genoa, Wisconsin. The novel takes on the history of the original people who lived high on a mountainside to avoid war and disease, and how they came to leave this difficult existence and embark on an even more daunting task. What results is a heartfelt take of survival through generations and a lasting spirit of kindness throughout.

Having read author Michael Pedretti’s Time To Journey Home recently, I was still fresh on information about the people of the San Bernardo mountain and keen to learn more about their struggles. This fictionalized account of what they went through over several generations brings a new layer to the tale by drawing us closer to the characters and imagining their physical, social, economic and political hardships as different moments in history impact them. The parts where the tale focuses on the role of women and their kindnesses were especially interesting, and it’s clear to see that Pedretti has done enormous amounts of research to give atmosphere, depth, and accuracy to the tale as a whole. Overall, Begetters of Children will be of immense interest to readers seeking tales that are well researched and expressive of our heritage and history.