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Het wonder van Santa Anna
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Het wonder van Santa Anna

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  1,865 ratings  ·  275 reviews
Vier zwarte Amerikaanse soldaten dwalen af van hun compagnie en komen terecht in een Italiaans dorpje waar de Duitse bezetters net uit wraak bijna alle bewoners hebben gefusilleerd.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published 2002 by Bert Bakker (first published 2001)
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I enjoyed this story about a troop of African-American soldiers fighting for the States in Italy. McBride is a very talented writer. I think he told the story very well; he captured the Italian mentality, especially towards superstition and how they viewed people different from themselves (in those days, anyway, the grotesqueness of war).

The "funny" thing about the African-American soldiers was that they were freer in Italy than they were in their own country. For me, that fact posed a few quest
This took me a long time to get through, because it's a heavy plot. Four black American soldiers are lost in the mountains of Italy after a terrible battle, trying to figure out who among the Italian peasants and freedom fighters they can trust, and not trusting each other or their white commanders. They've also picked up a young Italian boy who's half crazy from the atrocities he's witnessed, and who becomes the center of their world. This is beautifully written, and although the male character ...more
We read this in our church group, mostly because everyone got to suggest a book and three of the men are WWII veterans, God bless them. The man who suggested this book fought in this particular area and he heard it was an accurate depiction of the terrain.
One hears little about this part of the war where the Germans fortified positions telling their soldiers to fight to the death. Having seen part of this terrain, it is amazing that anyone made it more than 100 yard without dying.
This story is a
Brian DiMattia
I'm torn on what to rate this book. I was sure it was a five most of the way through, but then had a major gripe with the ending. If ever there was a "4 1/2" star book it would be this.

A wonderful book that hooked me from the first chapter. The preview chapter was so intriguing that I didn't want to read the rest...I HAD to read the rest. And the rest didn't disappoint. The plot, four minority soldiers find an emotionally damaged boy behind German lines in WWII Italy and end up in a purgatory of
Prior to getting into this novel, I had heard mixed emotions about the movie (which I have never seen) based upon James McBride's "Miracle at St. Anna" and directed by Spike Lee. Yet, one thing I've learned is that the book is almost always better than the movie.

"Miracle at St. Anna" was never on my list of books to read, but a friend of mine had come for a visit and while she was here, she had finished this novel and decided to leave it for me (I'm not one to turn down a free book). In the end,
I bought this book months ago, but kept passing it over for other supposedly 'more interesting' reading - so was caught off guard as I began reading it and became engrossed in this story of the black soldiers (Buffalo Soldier) of WWII. The setting is the Italian countryside with the final German stand before the end of the war. The story revolves around 4 American soldiers, the young Italian boy they rescued who needs medical attention, and the Italian people they met in the village below the St ...more
2007 must have been the year of reading books by authors who had written other books that I much preferred to the current one I was reading! Case in point with “Miracle at Santa Anna”. Ok, it wasn’t stinko awful, but it in no way can compare with McBride’s perfectly wonderful (autobiographical) “The Color of Water”. “Miracle” is a tale of black soldiers fighting in Italy during WWII. They stumble across a young orphan Italian boy and a group of Italian villagers and the head of a very famous sta ...more
Ok, maybe I'm too jaded, but I was really thrown by the whole "magical Negro" theme in this book. (I mean, there's also a "magical Italian boy" theme. . .but still). I think McBride is half African American, but does that really complicate things? I'm not sure. In any case, linguistically speaking, I hated how the translated Italian did not have the syntax or flow of real Italian. That might sound nitpickily pretentious, but I love how in Julia Alvarez, even when her characters are written as sp ...more
This is a deeply well written book. Black American soldiers lost behind the lines in mountain-top Italian towns, late in the Second World War, wrestle with what and who they are fighting for (America? the White man? each other? Italian villagers? self-respect? or?) McBride plays with the improbable events that may or may not be miraculous - a touch of magical realism, or perhaps simply a way of conveying the subjective experience of his characters - but mostly he keeps it real. He paints what fe ...more
I loved this book. Loved the way it was written, the story it told, the poetry that moved within the sentences.

Set in Italy, towards the end of World War II...the lives of four men are changed forever. The simplicity of the Chocolate Giant as he lets love take over, the avoidance techniques of Bishop as he hides from what he's really hiding from, the strength of Hector who just wants to do what's right, and the leadership supplied by Stamps, who just wants it all to end. Mix up these four men in
Reviews of this book were so wildly contradictory - and the movie reviews were similarly so - that I didn't know if this was worth the read. For me in the end, it was. It was honest in its portrayal of just how brutal war can be, not only to soldiers but to hundreds of innocent civilians. It was also honest in its portrayal of the second class citizenship held by African American soldiers even while fighting for their country in WWII. Was it uplifting? At times, yes. Was it sad? Yes. But all in ...more
Isaiah Graham
Miracle At ST.Anna by James McBride is a emotional story of black American soldiers fighting the German army in the mountains of Italy around the village of St. Anna of Stazzema in December 1944. McBride exposes racism, guilt, courage, revenge and forgiveness, with the soldiers confronting their own fear and rage. This book is a great read especially if you into stories about war. McBride described every little detail in this book so perfectly that you would think you where in the story when u ...more
I had just read another McBride book (the one that one a prize, was it National Book Award? I think so, The Good Lord Bird), so I wasn't sure about taking up another so quickly, but Miracle at St. Anna wasn't even in the United States! I figured...has to be quite different that America in 1850.
Sure enough, this novel was about a group of black American soldiers during World War II, who fought in Italy.
Well, shit, it was just the best. Author McBride is just a special case, for me. I bet not ever
Nick Young
The authors purpose of writing this book is to educate the reader on past events. The author, James McBride, tells the story about an Afro-American saving an Italian boy for the Nazis. The author is educating the reader about true events that happened in World War II.
The theme of this book is everyone's life is as important as your own life. This soldier risked his own life on many occasions, to save the life of an orphan Italian boy. The author was trying to indirectly say that anything can
Nancy Komatz
I read this book after researching the massacre that took place at Sant'Anna di Stazzema and watching some clips from the movie by the same name. I had also visited the site in person, and found the clip that took place in the churchyard depicted the site accurately. I hoped the same for the book.
The book takes place following the massacre and deals with the subjects of racial issues in the US Army, as well as love, trust, superstition and miracles (as the name implies).
I found the story line
James McBrides memoir is a prime example how the well too deleted stories of the African-American experience can be shown without feeling beaten down with a stick. The powerful symbolism of the sculptured head was incredibly significant in the story. Unfortunately, Spike Lee's film completely missed the afforementioned symbolism. He obviously has some luggage to work out. Some great stories are best left in books.
Based on the true story of a group of 4 African American soldiers separated from their Division - the 92nd Division which was for black soldiers only. The movie by Spike Lee was pretty faithful to the novel. However, the novel provided more of the background and inner thoughts of the soldiers, and the abuse of Black soldiers by the Army. All Black Divisions had white commanders and the practice was to select southerners. Many of these white southerners were racists, and places no value on the li ...more
James McBride's maiden voyage gives us an intriguing tale of four soldiers, none of whom like each other, who embark on an accidental quest and begin to realize the truth of their lives. Though interrupted by the violence of war, the characters still manage to find ways to triumph, in unexpected ways, even when the end is imminent. All this is done with an element of comedy, and strong characterization, so that what might have been a sappy feel-good tale is dramatically anything but. The sheer a ...more
Corinna Edwards-Colledge
My edition of this book had a rather romantic looking pastel image of a boy sat on a rock so I had a completely misleading idea of what the story would be like. As it turns out this is an extraordinary fictionalised account of a battalion of black US soldiers in Italy during the second world war who end up rescuing an orphaned boy and hiding out in a rural village. It's a no-holds barred, sometimes brutal account of war, but manages to always keep a sense of deep humanity. The descriptions of ho ...more
I must give a shout out to ‘St. Anna’ because this is a World War 2 epic that features the valiant efforts of the famed Buffalo Soldiers. The fact is my father served as a medic in a Buffalo Soldier regiment in Italy. He had spoken of how the racial imbalance among the troops played out at the time. The novel displayed how America’s deep rooted racism (particularly of the southern variety) persisted even with their lives at stake in the midst of world war waged against Hitler’s Nazi regime. So, ...more
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The cover of this book didn't lie when it touted the story would be "Full of miracles of friendship, of salvation and survival." Though there wasn't as much survival, the stories of salvation and friendship certainly did ring true.

I loved McBride's writing style. The opening scenes, confusing though they were, grabbed my attention and threw me in to the story. Why did Hector snap? Who was the customer? Who was the well-dressed Italian man who read Hector's story and went tearing off down the str
This is the book that serves as the basis for Spike Lee's new movie due out this fall. It follows the lives of black soldiers during WWII and I love war stories! Something about the rawness of emotion and the humanity that manages to survive in people is so moving.

McBride is a gifted author beautifully illuminating the inner workings of his characters through all the tools of the craft. Each character's dialect rings true unique to their personality and motives. The sweet southern slang of the s
In Miracle at St. Anna, James McBride, author of the bestselling memoir The Color of Water, tells a war story that, like all great tales...more [close] In Miracle at St. Anna, James McBride, author of the bestselling memoir The Color of Water, tells a war story that, like all great tales of conflict, connects the enormous tragedy of war with the intimate stories of individual soldiers. Miracle at St. Anna vividly follows four of the U.S. Army's 92nd Division of all-black buffalo soldiers as they ...more
"On December 12, 1944, Sam Train became invisible for the first time. He remembered it exactly.

He was standing on the bank of the Cinquale Canal, just north of Forte dei Marmi, in Italy. It was dawn. The order was to go. One hundred and twenty black soldiers from the 92nd Division bunched behind five tanks and watched them roll toward the water, then clumsily waded in behind them, rifles held high."

So starts James McBride's Miracle at St. Anna, a book that grabs you and never lets you go until t
8/12/12: added to my 'to read' list because I just finished his "Song Yet Sung" and loved it.

8/28/12: this is a lovely book about the Buffalo soldiers the USA sent to Italy in WWII. The shocking treatment of the black soldiers by their white officers, in many cases inferior to the blacks in intelligence, common sense and compassion, will confound you. That the black soldiers continued to do their jobs in impossible situations is hard to explain. the story starts with 4 black soldiers who became
Jason Young
Dec 04, 2012 Jason Young marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
The author had a few different purposes in the book Miracle at St. Anna. One of the author's purposes was to show the great affect that World War II had on the country of Italy. World War II destroyed homes, families, land, and people all over Italy and Europe. They were already suffering from ecenomic depression. The book also shows the cruelty of the German Nazi soldiers. In the book, Nazi's rob and kill many innocent people who opposed them all over Italy. On the other hand, the book shows t ...more
I read this book because I really enjoyed The Color of Water. I was mostly dissapointed by Miracle at St. Anna. I felt that although he was a good writer, his execution of the story was weak. He would create climaxes in the story that would anticipate this incredible outcome, and each time I was left very disappointed. I think the plot was a good one, but his overall ability to tell a story was weak. If McBride writes another autobiography, I will pick it up in a heartbeat because he is a good j ...more
I wasn't sure if I would like this book, since the movie was generally panned (though I didn't see it). But, when I saw it sitting on a table at work with a "free" sign on it, I figured I would give it a read on my lunch hours. I never can turn down free books. I was torn between a three star and four star rating, I would like to give it three and a half, but am feeling generous today.

Anyway, I enjoyed it much more than I expected to. I'm not one who is really into war books or movies, but this
Debbie Petersen
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Won this book 1 8 Oct 01, 2012 05:33PM  
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James McBride is a native New Yorker and a graduate of New York City public schools. He studied composition at The Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio and received his Masters in Journalism from Columbia University in New York at age 22. He holds several honorary doctorates and is currently a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University. He is married with three children. He lives in ...more
More about James McBride...
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