Summary and book reviews of Miracle At St. Anna by James McBride

Miracle At St. Anna

by James McBride

Miracle At St. Anna
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2002, 228 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2003, 304 pages

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Book Summary

A singular evocation of war, cruelty, passion, and heroism, based on an historical incident at a small village in Tuscany, and on the experiences of the famed Buffalo soldiers from the 92nd Division in Italy during World War II.

James McBride’s powerful memoir, The Color of Water, was a publishing phenomenon, spending more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list and becoming required reading in high schools and colleges across the country. Now, in his long-awaited second book, McBride turns his highly acclaimed talent as a storyteller to fiction.

Based on the historical incident of an unspeakable massacre at the site of St. Anna Di Stazzema, a small village in Tuscany, and on the experiences of the famed Buffalo soldiers from the 92nd Division in Italy during World War II, Miracle of St. Anna is a singular evocation of war, cruelty, passion, and heroism. It is the story of four American Negro soldiers, a band of partisans, and an Italian boy who encounter a miracle---though perhaps the true miracle lies in themselves. Traversing class, race, and geography, Miracle at St. Anna is above all a hymn to the brotherhood of man and the power to do good that lives in each of us. It reveals to us a little-known but fascinating moment in history through the eyes and imagination of a gifted writer. Like The Color of Water, James McBride’s stunning first novel will change the way we perceive ourselves and our world.

Prologue

All the guy wanted was a twenty-cent stamp. That's all he wanted, but when he slid his dollar bill across the post office counter at 34th Street in Manhattan, the diamond in the gold ring on his finger was so huge that postal clerk Hector Negron wanted to see whom the finger was connected to. Hector normally never looked at the faces of customers. In thirty years of working behind the window at the post office, he could think of maybe three customers whose faces he could actually remember, and two of them were relatives. One was his sister, whom he hadn't talked to in fourteen years. The other was his cousin from San Juan, who had been his first-grade teacher. Besides those two, the rest didn't count. They melded into the millions of New York schmucks who staggered to his window with a smile, hoping he would smile back, which he never did. People did not interest him anymore. He had lost his interest in them long ago, even before his wife died. But Hector loved rocks, ...

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Introduction

With his bestselling memoir The Color of Water, James McBride created a fascinating story of growing up in the projects of Red Hook, Brooklyn and a vivid portrait of his indomitable mother. Now, in his first novel, he broadens his scope from personal history to the larger history of WWII and the little known role that black soldiers played in it.

The story begins in 1983 with the abrupt and unexplained shooting by Hector Negron, a New York City postal employee, of a man who wanted only to purchase a stamp. Why Hector has killed this man and how he came to possess the head of the statue of the Primavera, which had adorned the Santa Trinita bridge in Florence since the sixteenth century, is the mystery that Miracle at ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews

Book Magazine - Stephanie Foote

McBride's new novel is a lyrical rendering of a few days in the lives of four members of the 92nd Division of Buffalo Soldiers in World War II, who find themselves behind enemy lines after one of their number rescues an Italian child.

Publishers Weekly

A powerful and emotional novel of black American soldiers fighting the German army in the mountains of Italy around the village of St. Anna of Stazzema in December 1944. Through his sharply drawn characters, McBride exposes racism, guilt, courage, revenge and forgiveness, with the soldiers confronting their own fear and rage in surprisingly personal ways at the decisive moment in their lives.

Reader Reviews

Anonymous

what an amazing, gripping work. everyone should read. each character is so detailed and skillfully drawn. Ther's just enough visual description, without detracting from the story or slowing it. I'm looking forward to McBrides next book.


vivian jones

simply superb!

Julia Calenda


James Mc Bride's, Miracle at St Anna is so compelling and moving it is hard to know if you should be marvelling at his emotive words or weeping at the empathy and raw emotion that jumps from each and every page.

To begin this book, is to begin a ...   Read More

kony

Jams McBride knew his mother was different. But he asked about it, she'd simply say, 'I'm light-skinned. Later he wondere if he was different, too , and asked his mother if he was black or white. "knon of you'r besnes ".
The color of ...   Read More

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