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A Bell for Adano
John Hersey
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A Bell for Adano

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  4,993 ratings  ·  170 reviews
A young American major, occupying a small Italian town after World War II, helps the townspeople obtain their greatest desire, a new bell.
Published 1999 (first published 1944)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jason Pettus
(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 []. 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 spe
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 - is ...more
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
Raymond Bial
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 ...more
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 ...more
Jane Hoppe
Review A Bell for Adano by John Hersey

Every 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 depth
Anna Gabur
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 ...more
Christopher Cooley
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 differe
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
Russell Bittner
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 Amazon notwithstanding.

Forgive me. I know that Hersey won the Pulitzer Prize for this book. And although th
Joyce Lagow
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 ...more
Oleg Kagan
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 ...more
A Day Without Me
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 irritatin ...more
Christina Packard
A very good story. If it was not, it should easily have been made into a good movie.
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.
Pulitzer prize winner. Set in italy during World War II, after the Americans have invaded Italy. We set up our own government there. An American Major, Victor Joppolo, becomes mayor. He is just, fair, kind. He wants the best for Italy. He is the son of Italian immigrants. Grew up in New York. Tells the story of how he handles all of the people of the village, Adano. Also, how they all come to feel about him. He is, of course, finally relieved of his duties by a higher up, whom he offended by ove ...more
Pulitzer Prize-winner, 1945. This is a brief portrait of American occupation of Italy during WWII. Hersey paints an honest portrait of American military men who "took over" a small town in Italy. Some officers were good, some bigoted, and one General was typically over-bearing. The author does not tip-toe around harsh language or sexual references, which was bold for the time period. I even learned a little Italian: "Caramelle! Caramelle!" The American servicemen would throw candies to the child ...more
"Mister Major Joppolo for president"
The protagonist single handedly saves the town of Adano from the fascist fallout. A simple and vivid book about a small town in Italy during the war. The characters were generic and stereotypical but in this book, that gave me a sense of security allowing me to play along. I couldn't help feeling a sense of propaganda pushing as I kept reading, but in hindsight I see the heroification of the American major as a morale booster for the Americans on the home fron
This 1945 novel about a U.S. Army major and his role in the American occupation of Adano, Italy near the end of World War Two has a few poignant and humorous moments, but nothing like the staying power that Pulitzer Prize-winning literature should have.

The Americans and Italians in John Hersey's story are walking stereotypes, although there is a more charitable argument to be made that they are in fact archetypes rather than stereotypes (A short essay over at The Enchanted Inkpot explains the d
Agnes Mack
A Bell For Adano takes place in Italy during World War II. Major Jopollo is our humble narrator, and a pretty good one he was. His goal is to prove to the Italian people that the Americans are actually trying to help. Most of the other military personnel in the area are kind of dicks and more concerned with their own petty bullshit, or proving their superiority over the Italian villagers.

I actually liked it a lot more than I thought I would. For one, it just happened to take place on a military
John Hersey, a war correspondent during WWII, tells the story of Victor Joppolo, an American Major placed in charge of a town in southern Italy, during the American occupation of WWII. Acclaimed for its rich characterizations, the book was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1945, and later became a hit Broadway Play and a major motion picture. While its popularity at the time is likely due to the favorable light in which Hersey projects America and the ideal of Democracy, in contrast to the evil regime ...more
Major Joppolo disembarks during the American invasion of Italy. He is to be the civil affairs commander for the town of Adano. Joppolo himself is of Italian ancestry and takes great pride in his work. He wants to bring freedom and happiness to the town, while making sure that Americans, and himself, are well-liked.

The town is full of amusing and interesting characters -- the surly old fisherman, the eccentric rich man, the earnest town crier, the beautiful young woman, the proud priest, the Fasc
Jessica Barkl
I started reading this because it was on a list of the best novels of the 1940s and I like reading books along with the research I do for any character I'm playing. So...for Arthur Miller's ALL MY SONS, I chose to read this novel, MISTER ROBERTS, and THE NAKED AND THE DEAD. I read this second because I launched into THE NAKED AND THE DEAD, and I knew that was a different caliber novel from MISTER ROBERTS and A BELL FOR ADANO, and it would need more focus. Anyway, I really liked this novel. I did ...more
John Lucy
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 ...more
Nathan Maracle
"A Bell for Adano" is a book that takes place in World War II. It is about an Italian Major who is sent to The Town of Adano to keep everything in order. The people of Adano had just been under the absolute rule of Moussilini. The Italian, Major Joppolo, goes into the town with a mindset and character that he hopes will help change the old ways of the Facists people and help the town prosper.
Major Joppolo quickly began at his duties. Foremost, Joppolo had to establish himself. He recruited a c
Pulitzer 1945 - A Bell for Adano is about the American Administrator of the Italian town of Adano - a town that was oppressed by authority under the Fascist rule of Musselini. Joppolo is a fair minded Army officer who works at instilling the principles of Democracy in the town, kicking out the bad elements, and making the people happy. In turn they worship him and grow to love the Americans. The pinnacle of his good graces is finding a replacement bell for the town, a bell that was 700 years old ...more
06 Kaylee S. Snow
kaylee snow
mrs. Deppe

The main problem in "A bell for Adano" is the bell in the town of Adano has been taken away and now Major Joppolo has to find a new bell for the town of Adano.

The main setting was in the town of Adano. The time in which this book refers to is around world war two.

The main characters in this book are, Major Joppolo, Sergeant Borth, Giuseppe, General Marvin, Tina...etc. The two main characters are really Major Victor Joppolo, and General Marvin. General Marvin in the book t
Sarah Sammis
A Bell for Adano by John Hersey won the 1945 Pulitzer Price. In it, an American army major, Victor Joppolo is put in place as a temporary administrator during the occupation of Italy near the end of the war. To help the town recover from Fascist rule, Joppolo sets out to find a replacement for the bell that was stolen and melted down.

A Bell for Adano has similar humor to Catch-22 but I found it more accessible than Joseph Heller's novel. Joppolo has to bend the rules to make the Adano run and he
This book tells the story of the post-Fascist American occupation in a small fictitious Sicilian town during World War II. It was written based on Hersey's wartime observances, so many characters are based on real individuals and some plot points reflect real events (one character is clearly a reference to the famed and famously foul-tempered Patton).
I found the book to be warm, compassionate, and engaging, and also very sad at parts. While the story is interesting on its own, the writing is si
May 02, 2015 Charly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone.
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.
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Charlotte's Book ...: This topic has been closed to new comments. A truly American story? 4 5 May 12, 2012 09:59AM  
Charlotte's Book ...: This topic has been closed to new comments. General Marvin = General George S. Patton?!? 1 1 Apr 17, 2012 08:59PM  
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John Richard Hersey was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer and journalist considered one of the earliest practitioners of the so-called New Journalism, in which storytelling devices of the novel are fused with non-fiction reportage. Hersey's account of the aftermath of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, was adjudged the finest piece of journalism of the 20th century by a 36-member ...more
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