A Bell for Adano

A Bell for Adano An Italian American major in World War II wins the love and admiration of the local townspeople when he searches for a replacement for the year old town bell that had been melted down for bullets

  • Title: A Bell for Adano
  • Author: John Hersey
  • ISBN: 9780394756950
  • Page: 335
  • Format: Paperback
  • An Italian American major in World War II wins the love and admiration of the local townspeople when he searches for a replacement for the 700 year old town bell that had been melted down for bullets by the fascists.

    One thought on “A Bell for Adano”

    1. 3.5 stars rounded up. It’s 1943 and Victor Joppolo, an American Major, is assigned to oversee the town of Adano in occupied Italy. Joppolo passionately believes in the American system, and through his idealism—which reminded me a little bit of the movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington—he accomplishes great things for the town.Ironically, the novel’s antagonist is also its force of good: the American military. While trying to deal with an irrational and ridiculous order, Joppolo gets on the [...]

    2. The Pulitzer-prize-winner from 1944, this is the story of the Americans working to win hearts and minds as they drive the fascists out of Italy. I read this at a time when I was feeling pretty down, and it felt good to read a book with a lot of heart, and with a strong clear message against big and little fascisms. You can see why it was so popular in 1944. The great good man at the heart of the book – and we are told he is a good man before the book even starts, in a foreword by the author - [...]

    3. LOVE LOVE LOVE! Why have I not heard more about this classic? Picked it up almost at random and feel forever changed. What a charming, funny, forever enduring look at humanity and leadership. Don’t read the plot description, just go into it blind and enjoy yourself.

    4. (As of July 2012, I am selling a first-edition copy of this book through the rare-book service at my arts organization, the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter/rarebooks]. Here below is the description I wrote for its listing.)Written in the middle of World War Two and the winner of the 1945 Pulitzer Prize, this was just one of the many high points of the fascinating John Hersey's life, over the course of a long and eventful career. A missionary brat who learned to speak C [...]

    5. This book was published in 1944 and won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1945 (I'm working my way through the Pulitzer lists). Knowing the date gives a better appreciation for the book and its setting - a small town in Sicily, occupied by an American unit trying to replace the ousted fascists with a democratic government. The war is in its final days to the north, but here, there is conflict of a different kind.The main character and leader of the American occupation, Major Joppolo, is an Itali [...]

    6. While presidents from all generations and from any and all parties have had an interest in reading, Donald Trump does not happen to fall under this category. While Trump himself is not an enthusiast for reading, his Defense Secretary, Retired General James Mattis is by all means an avid reader. General Mattis has a collection of over 7,000 books and when he was in charge, he would require his privates to read 70 books that he had on his reading list. Many of them had to do with tactics and histo [...]

    7. At first I thought it racist, because the Italians are portrayed as ridiculous, as naive and childish backwards people, and Joppolo as a savior. Then I realized that everyone except Joppolo is denigrated, and he is drawn as just a good guy trying to do a good job and be liked and be not too vulnerable to his foibles. So, I'm getting along on the humorous bits and being moved by some tragic bits. Then I get to the end and find that the horrid American officer who couldn't be troubled to learn the [...]

    8. Decades ago, a high school classmate raved about A Bell for Adano, but for some reason I never got around to reading this novel until recently. It is not only a heart-warming story, but a realistic portrayal of the best of America's soldiers not only in fighting during World War II, but also in carefully rebuilding nations. This well-crafted novel also offers a civics lesson, so desperately needed today, about the wonder of democracy and ethical leadership, especially to the people of the small [...]

    9. I love this book and never tire of rereading it. Hersey won the Pullitzer Prize in 1945 for this story of an American Major who is assigned to oversee a small Italian town after the invasion in the waning days of WWII. There is a wide assortment of colorful characters, but none of them is a caricature - all are very real people and easy to imagine. The story is sweet, but the ending is sad. The fact that it is foreshadowed right at the beginning does not make it any less sad when it happens. But [...]

    10. An interlibrary loan from Fort Vancouver Regional Library in Vancouver, WA.I only knew of this author from the fact that it was required reading to read his book Hiroshima when I was in high school. This book was his first book and he won the Pulitzer Prize with it! I really enjoyed it. It reminded me of those feel good movies of the decent man in an indecent world. A town that has been beaten down and trodden upon, not just by the invaders, but by their leaders both local and national. Then thi [...]

    11. I really enjoyed this book a lot. Much more than I thought I would when I first started it. In honesty, the writing is simple and spare. At first, I thought this a weakness of the book; but by the end, I had come to appreciate the beauty and effectiveness of this simplicity in telling the kind of story that Hersey wanted to tell. It’s actually a touching, beautiful, and moving story - and its simplicity adds to its charms in this regard. I guess some would call it a sweet, innocent story. It s [...]

    12. Review A Bell for Adano by John HerseyEvery so often I feel inadequate writing a review because I fear it cannot express my reverence for the book’s writing. Such is the case now. My words about John Hersey’s A Bell for Adano are a tinkling triangle compared with the deep, full, rich town bell Major Joppolo insisted on for Adano. Hersey’s 1944 novel well deserved the 1945 Pulitzer Prize. When I read this book for high school English in the late 1960s, I could not possibly have grasped its [...]

    13. This is a very American book. It could not have been written by any other nationality. It also could not have been written in any other era, certainly not in today's (2007) post-Vietnam, Iraq-burdened United States.[return][return][return]In a Bell for Adano, Hersey tells the story of the occupation and administration by Allied forces in 1943 of a recently-liberated Sicilian village. The administrator, Major Victor Joppolo, himself Italian-American, is an idealistic young man who earnestly wishe [...]

    14. Ms. Doering, Since my last letter, I have been reading a book called, A Bell for Adano. It is by John Hersey and as far as I can tell, the genre is Historical Fiction. It is 245 pages, even though I am on page 140. I chose this book solely on a recommendation by an English teacher by may or not be reading this.The story in General can be about many different things, I haven't even figured out what the author wants me to think about the book, or the content in the book. It is about many different [...]

    15. When I first read and quite favorably reviewed Hiroshima early last month — followed up by a re-read and a less enthusiastic review of White Lotus — I also mentioned A Bell for Adano as a title I vaguely recalled from my youth, although I was quite certain I’d never read the book.I now have — and regret to say that I’m quite underwhelmed by it, all of the positive reviews here and at notwithstanding.Forgive me. I know that Hersey won the Pulitzer Prize for this book. And although the [...]

    16. I highly recommend this book. It was written by John Hersey who wrote Hiroshima. Once I had read Hiroshima I learned to trust Hersey's observations and writing skills.Hersey wrote A Bell for Adano from interviews of real people in Italy during the war, and from interviews with a local American who was the military commandant for the Americans and who was the inspiration for this book.I came away with a great appreciation of the charm of Italy, and will always remember the commandant as an exampl [...]

    17. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1945; this story of rebirth and respectful occupation is still relevant. Major Joppolo is a quintessentially decent American. One that there are very few of in literature. Hersey's portrayal of spreading democracy through kindness is refreshing, and poignant. He does not preach ideology, instead he creates characters that we invest in. Would highly recommend.

    18. I tend to have a bias --- I favor books set in war time. I find it such a rich and interesting canvas in which to illustrate humanity. It brings out the worst in people. And, sometimes it also brings out the best. This book was such a lovely tale of leadership and respect. I went into it blind, knowing nothing more than the fact that it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. I am so glad that I went into it with no impressions or expectations. It is a quiet, subtle, lovely story of one American man [...]

    19. I don't usually write long reviews, but this book frustrated me so much, that I just felt like I had to. I really tried to like this one, but I couldn't even take it seriously! At first I had the feeling that it had been written for children for some reason. Everything was so over-simplified and two-dimensional, that it was almost like a fairy-tale, except that four people died in it. After a while I realized that it wasn't the readers who were supposed to be children. The characters seemed to h [...]

    20. The only reason I picked up this book was that I got it from my grandmother's library. At the time my edition was printed, Hersey had not yet won the Pulitzer Prize for this novel, so I had no reason to think it was any good. Indeed, for the first few chapters I wondered if reading A Bell for Adano would be a total waste of my time: I thought the beginning of the story seemed forced, especially because the description of characters (Borth, for instance, is described as a "wise guy") didn't match [...]

    21. After loving Hiroshima, A Bell for Adano was a real letdown. The predictable plot proceeded with purpose but the cookie-cutter characters pushed things a bit too far. Though I enjoy books set in foreign countries and it seems as if Hersey captured the local color of a small Italian fishing town fairly well (the Italian characters were, in fact, the most interesting), but they could not save A Bell for Adano. Likewise, the description of military bureaucracy were on-target (read Catch-22 for a tr [...]

    22. Hasn't aged well at all. While I found the narrative fairly unengaging, though, it was the simplistic characterization and the racist depiction of the Italian characters that truly drove me off. The Italians all speak in an “Eye-talian” fashion, and most of them are simple-minded and foolish. I’ve seen a lot of reviews stating that the protagonist, Major Joppolo, is unbelievably nice, but the man consistently speaks to the Italian characters in condescending fashion, and it’s extremely i [...]

    23. I don't know if a movie has ever been made of this work but as i pictured characters as it unfolded I could see this being an absolutely hilarious movie. The book was really humorous as the American forces take over a small town as WW II occupation begins in Italy. Between the town folk and the military staff there is much humor, and good feeling coming out of the pages. As always there is one villain and without him there is no poignancy to the story. Quick read and well worth the effort.

    24. This was one of the very first summer reading assignments that I loved so much that I read it twice in one summer I still love it and am a proud owner of a 1st edition It's one of my favorite things. The story is well told and provide an interesting look at Italy in a traumatic time in history. Well worth the read and re-read.

    25. "A Clunker Today"It's 1943, just after the invasion of Sicily by the American army. Major Joppolo is assigned to be the administrative head of the newly-captured town of Adano. He has to face crisis after crisis and deal with all sorts of people--both Italian and American--in order to get things running again. He falls in love with a local girl and incurs the enmity of an arrogant American general. To gather the town's spirit, so much damaged by the war, he tries to get a bell to replace the one [...]

    26. Any review of this book should include a link to the real life inspiration for the protagonist. It is fascinating that the real "Joppolo" sued Hershey for $250,000 for libel and the story about how the case was settled is a fun read. One disappointing fact is that I will never watch the movie "Patton" the same way I did before reading this book. Here is the link:F.E. Toscani, 89, Dies; Model for Hero of 'Bell for Adano' nytimes/2001/01/28/ny

    27. Not sure what happened to the first blurb of a review I wrote after the sigh of relief at discovering I had completed the book, but here goes again. In a word, Meh. Reading BFA checks a box off the Pulitzer list, and that's about it. Paper thin characters, and a limp plot. Not that it isn't a mildly enjoyable story, but really, a Pulitzer? It's probably a bad sign when less than half-way through the book I was already Googling for titles it might have been up against the year it was selected. Oh [...]

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