Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Snow in August” as Want to Read:
Snow in August
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Snow in August

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  3,811 ratings  ·  473 reviews
It's 1947 in a working-class Brooklyn neighborhood when two unlikely characters meet. In a blizzard one Saturday, an Irish Catholic boy, Michael Devlin, meets Rabbi Judah Hirsch, and a rare and beautiful friendship begins. Michael is entranced by the rabbi's stories of ancient magic and wisdom. For the rabbi, Michael's patient instruction on the language of baseball opens ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 507 pages
Published November 1st 1997 by Thorndike Press (first published 1997)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Snow in August, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Snow in August

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This is a fabulously told tale of friendship and faith. A wonderful story; the most moving prose I have read in a very long time. Parts brought tears to my eyes, while others made me laugh out loud; I found myself angered, ashamed, delighted and awed. If I had a son, I would want him to display those characteristics I found so appealing in Micheal Devlin; Rabbi Hirsch's story touched my very soul; and I felt as though I was transported to that hot summer day to watch Jackie Robinson play his fir ...more
This book review was written 4 months or so after I read the book. Thus the lameness.

I do remember that I really liked it. So much that I've been looking for other Pete Hamill books since then. In addition, I know I really liked it at the time, as I listed this book in the Book Talk Forum (on BookCrossing) as one of the "best books I'd read this year" (in July).

Something else I remember is that the man sitting next to me on the plane was asking me about the book, and why I'd chosen to read that
This is one of very few books that I have read more than once (why read something again when you know what will happen and there are so many other choices out there?). I think I've read this 5 times.

I dislike hardcover books but I am purchasing this in HC so I will have it forever. Just seeing this book on a shelf makes me happy.
JoAnne Pulcino
Pete Hamill
This destined to be a classic book is a gorgeous trip to the world of miracles. An 11 year old Irish Catholic boy and an elderly Jewish rabbi meet in Brooklyn in the 1940’s. The magic of their relationship is poignant and breathtakingly touching despite their lives being threatened by the violence of street gangs, anti Semitism and their very different, but very difficult lives.
Mr. Hamill’s gift for creating a sense of place and time with characters that pop off the page
Dec 02, 2008 Kristen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: high-brow
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I actually really enjoyed this book. The 3 star rating is because the ending disappointed me terribly. But up until then, I loved it. It's the story of a young Catholic boy who befriends a Jewish rabbi during the early 1940s in New York City. It's really captivating and the characters are endearing. I think it's worth a read, even though the ending wasn't great. And I should add that I read this for book group and came to appreciate the ending more after that. If anyone has read it and has thoug ...more
This book will bring you back to the late 1940's in Brooklyn. The author weaves analogies between Jackie Robinson and baseball, Jews and non-Jews and bullies and the harassed. The story depicts unjust discrimination so prevalent around this time. The ending was a little too way out there to be believed but did make you feel good about its outcome. Hamill's writing style is typical of a New Yorker who knows the streets.
This is the third time reading. Because of our community read, The Golem and the Jinni; we decided to pick this one. Pete Hamill's story is wonderful.

Michael, Irish Catholic 10 year old. Living in Brooklyn in the 1940's. Michael is a average kid, there isn't any TV. Instead,Michael likes to go to the local movie theatre where he's mom works-with his friends. He also enjoys reading comic books- Superman.

Michael, and his Brooklyn friends are threatened by the gang, The Falcons. I should say the
Kristen Carannante
Beautiful story of the tender friendship of 11-yr-old Michael Devlin, Irish-American altar boy, who loves baseball, comic books and adventure stories and 39-yr-old Judah Hirsch, Czech rabbi, recently arrived from Prague at the end of World War II and their private war with the Falcons, a gang of thugs terrorizing the Brooklyn neighborhood in which they live.

These unlikely friends teach each other many things.

Michael learns to speak Yiddish, scoring a discount on a suit on Orchard Street, when
This book is about prejudice and injustice. For that reason I could not get through it; only making it about half-way. Here is the reason.

The Holocaust was a horror and, before it, the mistreatment of Jews through the ages. As a reaction to this, a broad effort has been made to publicize these wrongs of the past. There is a Holocaust Memorial in Washington, D.C., there is also one about 3 miles from where I live, upon which millions have been spent. In Illinois, it is the law that all school chi
This is the second of Hamill's books I've read. Also read "Forever" recently. He writes a terrific story, but I find the descent into fantasy at the end pretty annoying. Just as in "Forever" the history component is so interesting. Much better ending might have been to find a way for Michael to become the man he wants to be by trusting.
I think that when you learn a foreign language just because you want to, not because it's one of your mandatory classes, you pay attention to words a lot, you pick your favorite ones, you know which ones don't sound all that great to you. My favorite English words have always been "kind" and "lovely".

Michael Devlin is a kind Catholic boy, and the book is a lovely story about Michael befriending Rabbi Hirsch, a refugee from Prague. Words have "a special power and mystery to Michael" and Rabbi Hi
In Snow in August, Pete Hamill reconstructs a time and place that is very dear to a second hand way. The ethnic working class city neighborhood in post-War America. I knew parts of this tale already; my favorite stories growing up were the ones my dad told me about the Old Neighborhood in those optimistic years after the war but before the realization dawned that the city was dying. Before I knew the man, there was the Boy. I have caught only glimpses of the Boy throughout my life -- the ...more
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. For one thing, the readers had the chance to literally see the growth of independence and confidence in Michael. From being a kid nobody really knew or cared for, and being talked into stupid things by Sonny, he stood up for what he knew was right. I also loved experiencing Prague and the Jewish culture through Rabbi Hirsch. It was just an added bonus to the existing plot. I also found it interesting to see the prejudice and segregation, only because thoug ...more
Overall Pete Hamill's 'Snow in August' was an enjoyable read. Set in Brooklyn, New York, in 1947, two years after WWII, a time when nationality, race or religion was much more important than character, the year that Jackie Robinson first played major league baseball at Ebbets Field for 'dem bums' the Brooklyn Dodgers: This story is filled with nostalgia; especially for us (very) old east-coast people. Told through the wide and innocent eyes of an eleven year old boy, it is sprinkled with warmth ...more
n 1940s Brooklyn, friendship between an 11-year-old Irish Catholic boy & an elderly Jewish rabbi might seem as unlikely as, well, snow in August. But the relationship between young Michael Devlin & Rabbi Judah Hirsch is only one of the many miracles large and small. Michael finds himself in trouble when he witnesses the 17-year-old leader of the dreaded Falcons gang beating an elderly shopkeeper. For Michael, 1940s Brooklyn is a world still shaped by life in the Old Country, a world wher ...more
From Amazon: In 1940s Brooklyn, friendship between an 11-year-old Irish Catholic boy and an elderly Jewish rabbi might seem as unlikely as, well, snow in August. But the relationship between young Michael Devlin and Rabbi Judah Hirsch is only one of the many miracles large and small contained in Pete Hamill's novel. Michael finds himself in trouble when he witnesses the 17-year-old leader of the dreaded Falcons gang beating an elderly shopkeeper. For Michael, 1940s Brooklyn is a world still shap ...more
Jul 12, 2008 Melissa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any one and everyone
Recommended to Melissa by: Richie Urban
Wow...this book makes you belive in things that you normally wouldn't. It's a dark look inside Catholic Boy's life, and how it changes when he meets a rabbi, Rabbi Hirsch. Even though he is bullied by the older boys for taking lessons from a Jew, he sticks by his new friend and a relationship develops. I would say that this could be a wonderful children's story , but I think it's just too deep. Rather, read by an adult, it's a peek into what it's like to be a kid and have so many disturbing, rea ...more
A creative delight. As imaginative as Jewish mythology, as real as Jackie Robinson, this book is set in a postwar Brooklyn neighborhood. The main character, Michael, is a sensitive young Catholic boy with friends and suddenly enemies from the street. Circumstances bring him into a friendship with a Jewish rabbi from Prague and together they explore the city's history and the story of Jewish life there over the ages. This may seem an unlikely mixture of times and places but the author weaves it i ...more
Even though the 'gutter' language the young boys use in this book offended me the interplay of the Jewish and Catholic people was thoroughly thought out and plays well in this book about friends in New York City. A young boy has the requisite two best friends one Polish and one Italian. they run the neighborhood narrowly escaping the 'gang' that terrorizes the community. When our main character a 12 year-old boy lands in the hospital at the beating of the gang members the story takes a dramatic ...more
Pete Hammill's writing style is typical of a New Yorker who knows the streets. One of the saddest things about leaving the Northeast and commuting to New York was no longer being able to read Hamill's daily column in The New York Evening Post. The story takes you back to Brooklyn in the 1940's with its prejudices. Main characters are a Brooklyn boy, some bullies, A Rabbi, and the mythical (or is he real) character of The Golem. One of best books I've ever read.
Recommended for anyone who likes historical novels set in NYC. Enjoyed the relationship of the child and rabbi. Not overwrought, something often prevalent in adult ficiton.The child is a child, with childhood concerns and fears (unfortunately not without substance.) This is also an expose on urban change, as the rabbis age and they lose congregants to aging and death, neighborood population redistribution, and religious apathy.

James Cooper
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I'll be honest, this book was tough for me to get into. I picked up a used copy after a recommendation from my boyfriend's sister's mother-in-law (did that even make any sense?) during our Florida vacation and, being a complete book-buying fiend, figured I'd give it a shot. I commute on a train for almost three hours for four days a week, so having something to read during the ride is definitely something I'm interested in and I threw this book in my bag. I opened it in the morning and after abo ...more
This is a sweet coming of age story. I love the interplay between the young adolescent boy and the older Rabbi. Because the book takes place in the 40's - 50's, I think older readers will like it better than younger readers. I really liked this book, so it's funny that I haven't read anything else by Pete Hamill!
In the beginning, I was unsure about whether I was going to like this. As the book progressed I began to get really into it and I really enjoyed it. The ending was... surprising, and it was too unrealistic for me. I had a hard time with the way it suddenly swung into a fantasy, but overall, it was a good book.
Tight, detailed believable characters and tone made this a 4-star until the last 20 pages, when the author craps out and goes for the insta-solution to all the believable difficult real-life-like conflict and difficulty by making a sudden genre switch to magical realism. Well written, but ultimately disappointing.
Julie raved about this one; I gave it a try, but it is too generally sad for me to enjoy or find really good. I think it's easy to point out how horrible life might be for a kid in this boy's position (racism, loneliness, poverty, bullying. . . ) so I kept waiting for the redemption, the original insight. It did come, and the individual characters of the priest, the rabbi, and his mom were great, but overall, I felt Hamill's conclusion (what was THAT about?) needed more resolution and oomph. How ...more
1947, Michael Devlin is eleven years old, an American-Irish boy who lives with his war-widowed mother in Brooklyn, he takes is role as alter bot seriously, but the day he braves a snow storm to fulfil his duties is the day everything changes. While on his way out of the storm a voice pleads for his help, Rabbis Judah Hirsch needs his help. That is just the beginning of what becomes a remarkable friendship and a untied bond against a gang of young thugs who are in the unfortunate habit of beating ...more
Fans of Pete Hamill will like this one. It is set in 1947 Brooklyn and is a story about love and bigotry and loyalty and justice as a young man begins to realize the meaning of friendship'
The relationship between this young Catholic altar boy, Michael Devlin, and the, at first, mysterious Rabbi Judah Hirsch is the core of the story. While Michael teaches the Rabbi English and the Rabbi teaches Michael Hebrew and the ancient secrets of his religion.
Their world of the threatening streets of Br
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Romance Reader
  • City of God: A Novel of Passion and Wonder in Old New York
  • The Dork of Cork
  • Turbulent Souls: A Catholic Son's Return To His Jewish Family
  • In the Image
  • The Covenant
  • The Joys of Yiddish
  • The Subway Chronicles: Scenes from Life in New York
  • The Oath
  • Days of Awe
  • The Books of Rachel
  • Empire Rising
  • Lily
  • Seven Blessings
  • Vintage Cisneros
  • Waterfront: A Walk Around Manhattan
  • A Day of Small Beginnings: A Novel
  • Up from Orchard Street
Pete Hamill is a novelist, essayist and journalist whose career has endured for more than forty years. He was born in Brooklyn, N. Y. in 1935, the oldest of seven children of immigrants from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He attended Catholic schools as a child. He left school at 16 to work in the Brooklyn Navy Yard as a sheetmetal worker, and then went on to the United States Navy. While serving in t ...more
More about Pete Hamill...
Forever North River A Drinking Life: A Memoir Tabloid City Downtown: My Manhattan

Share This Book

“He tried to imagine the sound of the color red.” 11 likes
“Besides, skin color was skin color, right? It was just the color of your goddamned skin. There was nothing anybody could do about that. You were born with it. Like some people were born with big feet or blue eyes. You didn't make the choice. Your parents did. Or God did.” 6 likes
More quotes…