A Bell for Adano

A Bell for Adano

by John Hersey


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This classic novel and winner of the Pulitzer Prize tells the story of an Italian-American major in World War II who 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. Although stituated during one of the most devastating experiences in human history, John Hersey's story speaks with unflinching patriotism and humanity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780394756950
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/28/1988
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 251,301
Product dimensions: 5.13(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.77(d)
Lexile: 750L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

John Hersey was born in Tientsin, China, in 1914 and lived there until 1925, when his family returned to the United States. He studied at Yale and Cambridge, served for a time as Sinclair Lewis’s secretary, and then worked several years as a journalist. Beginning in 1947 he devoted his time mainly to writing fiction. He won the Pulitzer Prize, taught for two decades at Yale, and was president of the Authors League of America and Chancellor of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. John Hersey died in 1993.

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Bell for Adano 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A Bell for Adano by John Hersey is the story of an Americans Major struggling to improve a small Italian town that was greatly affected by attacks in World War II. This book has a descriptive setting and diverse characters, a thick plot that is constantly becoming thicker, and connections that a reader can come across easily. The Pulitzer Prize winning-novel follows the effforts of Major Victor Joppolo, an Amgot officer in the United States Army, as he rebuilds the town. The novel has some very distinct writing styles. Hersey uses the third person omniscient throughout the entire novel, giving the reader and interesting perspective on the story. Another technique is the large amount of chapters. There are some small plots within the book, and they switch from chapter to chapter.
marcelrochester on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The ending was lame, but I liked the protagonist & was curious about his post-book fate. The plotline took how long it needed to.
creynolds on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Definitely of its time -- American centric, generally one dimensional characters, especially the Italian villagers.
br77rino on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Story of a GI charged with running an Italian town just after WWII.
jklavanian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this book because of a phrase I ran across by Robert Kaplan: "produce more Joppolos." Kaplan uses Major Joppolo as an example of how America could better engage with the world today.
Joycepa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.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 wishes to help the village for all the "right" reasons-- to see justice done but with compassion, to help the villagers practice and see the benefits of democracy, American style--and a very American desire to be liked. He is, as the Prologue asks us to believe, "a good man".The village is shattered under the twin effects of over a decade of Fascist rule and the war. Joppolo's desire is to see the town get back on its feet as fast as it can.So, instead of fast-paced action, we have a series of interwoven vignettes of just how that occurs. Early on, Joppolo discovers that the people of the town are both greiving and outraged over the loss of their 700 year old town bell. During the time just before thre allied invasion, the Fascists had removed the bell to have it melted down to make cannon. The bell was a part of the psyche of the village. It was the one that rang out the hours, it "told us when to do things, such as eating. It told us when to have the morning egg and when to have pasta and rabbit and when to have wine in the evening." It was "the tone that mattered. It soothed all the people of this town. It chided those who were angry, it cheered the unhappy ones, it even laughed with those who were drunk. It was a tone for everybody".Moved, Joppolo dedicates himself to finding another, suitable bell. But meantime the bakeries have to reopen, the fishermen must be able to fish again--and food and water must be brought into the village by mule cart.And there hangs the crisis of the tale. The late 20th century-early 21st century American idolatry of the military does not take into account the common soldier's experience--that most general officers are narrow-minded, rigid egotists who have no business in any sort of position of authority. We meet one such, General Marvin, who bewilders the village by ordering the killing of the mule of a poor carter and forbidding the entry into the village of any carts--all because one cart was in his way as he made his self-important way down the road. Joppolo, in an act of common sense, rescinds the order--and lays the foundation for his own undoing.And so the story unfolds--of good acts by the major, of whom the village becomes quite fond, of the hard-headed common sense displayed by the cynical Sgt. Borth, of well-intentioned but disastrous acts on the part of 3 drunken M.P.s. Joppolo uses ingenuity and a sound knowledge of the psychology of his countrymen to get things done--while falling in love with one of the beautiful Sicilian young women in the town, who has lost her fiancé in an insane act during the recent invasion.In the end, Joppolo's common sense is his undoing, and he is removed form the village by order of General Marvin. But not before he sees the replacement bell--a bell for Adano--hung in the bell tower and hears its clear tone ringing out as he makes his way out of the village.Hersey's simple, direct style conveys beautifully the view that Americans had of themselves at this time--direct, uncomplicated people with common sense values who knew how to get things done. An idealistic people who really believed in democracy and that The American Way as embodied in American values would work for everyone. Yes, there are stupid people such as General Marvin, and the acts of American soldiers were sometimes embarassing but still, overall, the G.I.s behaved well and sincerely. That was the rock-solid belief. The truth, as in all wars, no doubt was different, but that's what Americans believed.It'
smg5775 More than 1 year ago
Sweet story of the American Army in Adano, Italy, as they push the Germans out of Italy. Major Joppolo is the adjutant assigned to restore order to Adano. As he meets the townspeople the one request made most often is for the return of their bell which was taken by the Facists to melt down for bullets. Major Joppolo does what he can for these people. This was a wonderful story of a town and its people. The people were adorable and funny and pains at times. As Major Joppolo deals fairly and justly with these people, he also tries to find their bell. He is able to schmooze with the best of them to get what is needed and what he wants. Even when Americans are at fault he shows the townspeople that his justice extends to his men as well as the townspeople. The ending is bittersweet. I would like to know what happens to both the townspeople and Major Joppolo. They are not characters I will forget for a long time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
oddball193 More than 1 year ago
Despite being written over 60 years ago, this story is immortal for readers or every generation. Classic characters are vividly brought to life and even if they border on sterotypical in some instances, they never the less have an honest, human thread running through all of them. This is an easy read, but still highly enjoyable! It's surprising how such a classic book with such pertinent lessons has not been brought to light with the excitement and earnestness that it deserves.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoy historical and cultural fiction - and this character tale set in WWII Italy fits the bill. Love the way Hersey develops his characters I was still chuckling about a few of them for days after I finished the book. It seemed particularly significant now, as the 'Mister Major' talks so eloquently about the differences from a fascist dictatorship to a democracy and how leadership differs in these societies. Seems it will ALWAYS be a timely story, and is a truly enjoyable 'quick read', too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just recently got turned on to reading books by JOHN HERSEY after the completion of Hiroshima.I am a history buff and usually read books of that nature.However I do enjoy a good novel.I knew very little of this author before and I can tell you he is right up there with the greats of Hemmingway,Orwell,Steinbeck and J.D Sallinger.He has become my new favorite author and I am in the process of aquiring all of his books.A BELL FOR ADANO,his first novel, won the PULITZER PRIZE in 1945.You can not go wrong with an author that wins that prestigious of an award his first time writing.A very enjoyable read for readers of all ages. HIGHLY RECCOMENDED YOU WILL NOT BE DISSAPOINTED.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the back-cover description, I wasn't sure I would like this book. But, its themes go well beyond just the events of the book. It's a lesson in people skills, especially for those in leadership positions. It's very, very easy to read and at 269 pages it's a fast read as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was both hilarios and moving. You will fall in love with the nutty characters of the tiny town , and the kind general who befriends them. This story also provides a background of Italy at the time of the Fascist regime. Read it.
jms41 More than 1 year ago
This book was a disappointment. Did not finish it.