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Miracle at St. Annaby James McBride
Synopses & Reviews
In Miracle at St. Anna, James McBride, the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed memoir The Color of Water, brings his celebrated talent as a storyteller to bear on an unforgettable novel about war, the bonds of love, and redemption. Drawing inspiration from the stories he heard as a child from family members who had fought on the battlefields of Italy and elsewhere during the Second World War, McBride's first foray into fiction is inspired by a historical incident?an unspeakable massacre in a small village in Tuscany, St. Anna Di Stazzema?and on the experiences of the famed Buffalo soldiers of the all-black, segregated 92nd Division.
McBride tells the story of four GI's who find themselves cut off from the rest of their unit, the villagers with whom they take refuge, a band of partisans, and an Italian boy who teaches them about the power to love unconditionally, to forgive, to live after the worst of atrocities, and, most of all, the power?amid carnage and destruction?to believe once more in God's miracles.
Layered with plot twists, storytelling, elements of magical realism, and McBride's keen ability to blend what a critic described as "humor and clear-eyed grace," Miracle at St. Anna is an absorbing, singular evocation of war, cruelty, passion, and heroism. It touches on the issues of race that followed these black soldiers from the Southern camps where they trained at home onto the battlefields where they were led by white southern officers; the conflict between the Italian fascists and the partisans and between the partisans and the Germans; the history and mythology of the region; the past's continued impact on the present; the confusion of war; and much more. Above all, it is a study of how human beings relate to one another while trapped within the confines of intense suffering, and it is a hymn to the brotherhood of man and the power to do good that transcends class, race, and geography.
"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." Publishers Weekly
"A brutal and moving first novel." Kirkus Reviews
"Full of miracles of friendship, of salvation and survival." Los Angeles Times
"Miracle at St. Anna is storytelling in the great tradition, an immensely moving novel that...approaches the level of contemporary myth." The Washington Post Book World
"A miracle in itself...Miracle at St. Anna is a haunting meditation on faith that?s also a crack military thriller."Entertainment Weekly
"McBride is adept at describing the wartime state of mind: land and people lying ravaged in the wake of a wild brutality....The author is also skilled at capturing those almost epiphanic moments that seem to happen so often during wars...at these moments, his narrative, which is based on a true story, plunges straight to the heart." San Francisco Chronicle
"An outstanding novel about World War II inspired by the famous Buffalo Soldiers...The work provides us with a lesson not only about history but also about humanity and heroism." The Dallas Morning News
"Great-hearted, hopeful, and deeply imaginative." Elle
"A compelling novel. McBride combines elements of history, mythology and magical realism to make this a story about the little things like life and forgiveness and shared experience." The Atlanta-Journal Constitution
"The miracles of survival, of love born in extremity, and of inexplicable 'luck' are the subjects of this first novel. [Miracle at St. Anna] is true to the stark realities of racial politics yet has an eye to justice and hope." Library Journal, starred review
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Lord Bird, winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction.
James McBrides powerful memoir, The Color of Water, was a groundbreaking literary phenomenon that transcended racial and religious boundaries, garnering unprecedented acclaim and topping bestseller lists for more than two years. Now McBride turns his extraordinary gift for storytelling to fiction—in a universal tale of courage and redemption inspired by a little-known historic event. In Miracle at St. Anna, toward the end of World War II, four Buffalo Soldiers from the Armys Negro 92nd Division find themselves separated from their unit and behind enemy lines. Risking their lives for a country in which they are treated with less respect than the enemy they are fighting, they discover humanity in the small Tuscan village of St. Anna di Stazzema—in the peasants who shelter them, in the unspoken affection of an orphaned child, in a newfound faith in fellow man. And even in the face of unspeakable tragedy, they—and we—learn to see the small miracles of life.
This acclaimed novel is now a major motion picture directed by Spike Lee.
James McBride's memoir, The Color of Water, was a literary achievement that topped bestseller lists for more than two years. Now McBride turns his extraordinary gift for storytelling to fiction. Miracle at St. Anna is a tale of courage and redemption inspired by the famed Buffalo soldiers of the 92nd Division and a little-known historic event in a small Tuscan village at the end of World War II-the massacre at St. Anna di Stazzema.
About the Author
James McBride is an award-winning writer and composer. His critically acclaimed memoir, The Color of Water, won the 1997 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Literary Excellence, was an ALA Notable Book of the Year, and spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list. Chosen by the New York Public Library as one of the 25 books of 1996 to remember, The Color of Water has sold more than 1.5 million copies in the United States alone and is now required reading at numerous colleges and high schools across the country. It has also been published in 16 languages and in more than 20 countries. McBride's new book, Miracle at St. Anna, marks the author's debut as a novelist.
McBride is a former staff writer for The Washington Post, People Magazine and The Boston Globe. His work has also appeared in Essence, Rolling Stone and The New York Times. Aside from his literary honors, McBride is the recipient of several awards for his work as a composer in musical theater, including the 1996 American Arts and Letters Richard Rodgers Award, the 1996 ASCAP Richard Rodgers Horizons Award, and the American Music Festival's 1993 Stephen Sondheim Award. He has written the score for several musicals, including the highly acclaimed, award-winning show "Bobos." An accomplished saxophonist who has toured with renowned jazz singers and musicians, McBride tours with his own jazz trio.
McBride has written songs (music and lyrics) for Anita Baker, Grover Washington, Jr., Gary Burton, Silver Burdett Textbooks, and for the PBS television character "Barney." He is a graduate of New York City's public schools, he studied composition at The Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio, and received a Masters in journalism from Columbia University in New York at age 22. He also holds an Honorary Doctorate of Human Letters from Whitman College. He lives in Pennsylvania.
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