Carlo Levi is perhaps best known to North Americans for Christ Stopped at Eboli, a memoir of the time he spent in political exile (for anti-Fascist activities) in the Basilicata region of southern Italy, between 1935 and 1936 (the memoir was made into a movie in 1979). Words Are Stones: Impressions of Sicily (Hesperus Press) collects three extended essays Levi wrote chronicling his travels in Sicily between 1951 and 1955, and here again Levi makes his political sympathies clear. Anita Desai writes in her foreword that Levi depicts “an antique world in collision with a modern state”; Levi himself is more restrained: his aim, he says, is simply to show “the way things are down there, as they appear to the open eyes of an unprejudiced traveler.” This is not travelogue but vivid reportage, which takes the reader directly into the life of a region as it was more than fifty years ago. Whenever Levi places himself in the narrative, it is as an equal with those he observes. In Words Are Stones you read about injustices committed by the powerful against the powerless in a distant place and time, and because the writing is so alive you want to find out what, if anything, has changed since then, and whether the injustices remain. This is what travel writing should be, and why it is a good thing to have this book once again in print. Levi makes you care about a specific place, even though you may never see it for yourself; he compels you to learn more.