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Het wonder van Santa Anna

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  2,249 Ratings  ·  324 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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Jan 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Book Concierge
From the book jacket: McBride was inspired by an historical incident that took place in a Tuscan village and by the experiences of the Buffalo Soldiers of the 92nd Division, who served in Italy during World War II. It is the story of four American soldiers, the villagers among whom they take refuge, a band of partisans, and an Italian boy, all of whom encounter a miracle.

My reactions:
Like any good war story, McBride includes dangerous situations, tense relationships, descriptions of brutality,
Saleh MoonWalker
James McBride's, Miracle at St Anna is so compelling and moving it is hard to know if you should be marveling 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 journey, a journey of sole searching and truth, a journey of faith and trust.

The novel transports the reader to a time incomprehensible, to a time where faith and trust teetered on the edge but survived never the less.
Brian DiMattia
Apr 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
Oct 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 15, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Feb 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sherie by: Brooke
This is my second book by McBride and he continues to impress. The Buffalo Soldiers are so named by the American Indians, because their nappy hair reminded them of their beloved bison's mane. They have been around since the late l800's doing detail work that no white man would sully their hand with and had become a fixture in the American armed services for doing what white folks would not.
The story is about a detail of four men standed during a surge, where, without the support of their white
May 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a story of courage and redemption thru the eyes of four Buffalo Soldiers. Well written and interesting story. A good book to read of little-known world war black soldiers and how they fought in WW11.
Steven Belanger
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exceptionally well-written war novel, part gritty realism, part magic realism (but not like Garcia Marquez, or Rushdie, who are more fantasy/magic realism), that has an interesting book-ending frame story that just manages to stay on this side of overly sentimental. Based on a real incident, and on a real WWII black regiment, it has a lot to say about war, about race relations (then and, sadly, now) and about basic human decency. I'd say tolerance, but even that word sounds condescending, like y ...more
Leah Beecher
I read this one several years ago and somehow it slipped through the cracks of my goodreads review, as sometimes happens. I just finished James McBride's Song Yet Sung, and was reminded that I read this. Like all his other books, it takes a look at what it means to be black at an important time of history. The writing is excellent, the story very memorable, and the theme spiritual without out being heavy-handed Christian-lit genre. Spike Lee has since made it into a movie. A movie I have never s ...more
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 points really.
In many ways a decent book. Exciting, moving, interesting ...and then the author tries to be deep and it's just not working. It was just so trite and lame I was not feeling it at all.
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history fanatics
I read this book with my 10th grade English class. It was better than some of the other books we read, but it still wasn't the best.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An outstanding retelling of an event that occurred during WW2. Watched the movie a few years ago, and finally got around to read the book.
Nadine Coffey
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book!
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I highly recommend this book! It was very good!
May 19, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Didn't keep my interest
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book because (a) McBride's memoir, The Color of Water, was one of my favorites last year, and (b) my husband and I had stumbled across the town of Sommocolonia in Tuscany last spring. There, we first learned of the 92nd division's valiant (albeit unsuccessful) efforts to protect these tiny, mountainous villages from German attack in December 1944. McBride made the story come alive for me. A solid novel, McBride brilliantly captured the spirit of the people, place, and time; the ...more
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating story of racism, courage and hope in WWII Italy. I was unaware of the Buffalo Soldiers, and hadn't thought much about the situation for black soldiers in the war. This book opened my eyes to what the war meant for armed forces still under the yoke of racism, and also the experience of war for the average small-town Italian. Lovely writing, as usual for McBride.
Chloe Brown
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would like to start off by saying that I don't normally read World War books. I honestly don't like to read about World War books. However, this book was interesting. It was a different take on World War II. I have never read before a story about African-American's fighting in the war, and the story was so beautifully written. It's not like frilly flower petals and sonnets at sunset kind of beautiful. But it was a gentle kind of beauty that resonates in the soul.

One of the most powerful line
Steve Smits
Dec 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jason Young
Nov 23, 2012 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
Feb 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 ...more
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