Extended Audio Sample

Download A Bell for Adano Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample A Bell for Adano Audiobook, by John Hersey Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,561 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Hersey Narrator: David Green Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2010 ISBN: 9781436146623
Regular Price: $24.99 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

In 1943, the American Major Victor Joppolo finds himself the civil affairs officer, the mayor of a small town in Sicily. Equipped with the rule book, How to Bring American Democracy to Liberated Territories, he sets about bringing choices to a people whose every recent activity had been dictated. Asking them what the town needs most, he is answered: give the town back its spirit, a bell to replace the seven hundred-year-old one that was melted down for bullets by fascists.

The major soon discovers that he may not be able to guarantee democracy for the ancient town but he can do something about the bell. His story is one of humanity in the midst of war’s cruelty and conviction in a maze of military bureaucracy.

Download and start listening now!

BK_RECO_004068

Quotes & Awards

  • “A well-written, fun, and, at times, serious and deeply disturbing story…Dogmatically recommended.”

    New Yorker

  • “The pictures of the place and the people are masterly, rich in humor and humanity and utter conviction.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1945

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amber | 2/13/2014

    " I really enjoyed reading this novel. John Hersey brings the characters to life through vivid descriptions. He tells a great story about the Italians and the Americans coming together through major Joppolo after WWII. The major is a very kind and respected man and Hersey does a great job descrbing his great attributes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adam | 1/29/2014

    " A war book that is not a war book, this book is surprisingly sweet! I fell in love with the Sergeant. I suppose Hersey is the ant-vonnegut, because he's so optimistic, sometimes he's a bit cock-eyed. And I couldn't shake the fact that he portrayed the Italian locals as being slightly ignorant--at the same time I found this novel to be quite affecting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jane | 1/28/2014

    " I love everything about this book: the style, the subject, the humor (it's subtle; I love it). A happily random find for me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joyce Lagow | 1/28/2014

    " 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 wishes to help the village for all the "right" reasons-- to see justice done but with compassion, to help the villagers practice and see the benefits of democracy, American style--and a very American desire to be liked. He is, as the Prologue asks us to believe, [return][return]"a good man".[return][return]The village is shattered under the twin effects of over a decade of Fascist rule and the war. Joppolo's desire is to see the town get back on its feet as fast as it can.[return][return]So, instead of fast-paced action, we have a series of interwoven vignettes of just how that occurs. Early on, Joppolo discovers that the people of the town are both greiving and outraged over the loss of their 700 year old town bell. During the time just before thre allied invasion, the Fascists had removed the bell to have it melted down to make cannon. The bell was a part of the psyche of the village. It was the one that rang out the hours, it[return][return] "told us when to do things, such as eating. It told us when to have the morning egg and when to have pasta and rabbit and when to have wine in the evening." [return][return]It was [return][return]"the tone that mattered. It soothed all the people of this town. It chided those who were angry, it cheered the unhappy ones, it even laughed with those who were drunk. It was a tone for everybody".[return][return]Moved, Joppolo dedicates himself to finding another, suitable bell. [return][return]But meantime the bakeries have to reopen, the fishermen must be able to fish again--and food and water must be brought into the village by mule cart.[return][return]And there hangs the crisis of the tale. The late 20th century-early 21st century American idolatry of the military does not take into account the common soldier's experience--that most general officers are narrow-minded, rigid egotists who have no business in any sort of position of authority. We meet one such, General Marvin, who bewilders the village by ordering the killing of the mule of a poor carter and forbidding the entry into the village of any carts--all because one cart was in his way as he made his self-important way down the road. Joppolo, in an act of common sense, rescinds the order--and lays the foundation for his own undoing.[return][return]And so the story unfolds--of good acts by the major, of whom the village becomes quite fond, of the hard-headed common sense displayed by the cynical Sgt. Borth, of well-intentioned but disastrous acts on the part of 3 drunken M.P.s. Joppolo uses ingenuity and a sound knowledge of the psychology of his countrymen to get things done--while falling in love with one of the beautiful Sicilian young women in the town, who has lost her fianc "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane Metzger | 1/27/2014

    " DIFFERENT BOOK THAN I'M USED TO BUT VERY GOOD NONETHELESS....I LOVED THE TOWN NAME OF VICINAMARE AS MY MAIDEN NAME IS VICINANZA....HA! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Coinboy | 1/21/2014

    " This was a pretty simple read, but I wonder what people found extraordinary about it when first published. Was it the common decency that an ordinary man could bring to his job in an occupied country, or the fantasy that the occupied population would react so well to him? I suppose that was very appealing to a war weary population. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 The Narrator | 1/16/2014

    " I think because I came from a Navy family I have some innate affinity for these sort of books; whenever I recommend them to friends they generally don't have the same effect on them as they did me. (The Caine Mutiny, for instance, remains in my mind one of the finest explorations of ethics, morality, character ever written. So take my suggestions with a grain of salt - no pun intended.) In any case, I read this years ago and loved it. Still one of my favorites "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 1/13/2014

    " Charming story of military development work in Italy towards the end of WWII. Quick easy read that reminds me of the basics of democracy and why we Americans love it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bap | 1/10/2014

    " Italy in world war II with the Italians hoodwinking the Germans to save their grape harvest to make vino. More light hearted than most of Hersey's writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurie | 11/29/2013

    " Beautifully written story of an American unit occupying an Italian town during WWII. Funny and poignant. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin | 10/27/2013

    " This book was formulaic and idealistic, but it was still a good read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 8/15/2013

    " delightful and endearing...I just come to love the Major Joppolo, and this town that he so comes to love. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nick | 6/22/2013

    " His pulitzer prize winning book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynn Pribus | 6/17/2013

    " This is a sweet book. I hadn't realized it was a Pulitzer winner, but I can see why. It speaks to the American heart and spirit. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daryl Urnosky | 4/19/2013

    " A very enjoyable book from cover to cover. I thought some of the characters seemed stereotyped, but this book did win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a classic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Timothy | 4/4/2013

    " Great story that talks about what the Italians went through during World War two. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Emily | 12/30/2012

    " I actually didn't end up finishing this book. It was all male characters and was not resonating with me at all. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Don Gubler | 6/9/2012

    " How many public servents are like this? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shawn | 5/22/2012

    " I liked this better than his Hiroshima "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matthew | 4/15/2012

    " Enjoyed this book very much. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa | 4/4/2012

    " Pulitzer prize winner. This book was really laid back but very enjoyable. It's about a military man who is responsible for rebuilding a community in Italy after WWII during the US occupation. The characters are a hoot. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephen | 4/2/2012

    " Loved this story. A U.S. major tries to do good in occupied Italy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Phyllis | 12/25/2011

    " Great book I knew nothing about. Thought it was great and googled it after I finished. Found it won the Pulitzer in 1945. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren | 11/2/2011

    " This was lovely and still relevant over 60 years later. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 8/21/2011

    " Livermore Reads Together 2012. Thoroughly enjoyable. I'd love to see the movie but it's not on Netflix. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy | 7/23/2011

    " it was okay. i don't see what the big deal is. a few profound moments in the book, but wasn't the best thing i've read. definitely too much conversation in the story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chris | 6/26/2011

    " This was more for work than for pleasure, and both thematically and stylistically it's a little simplistic. But it is a fascinating time-capsule glimpse into American culture during World War II - as well as a sign of what best selling Pulitzer Prize winners used to be. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 George King | 6/11/2011

    " Great cast of small town Italian characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathy | 5/26/2011

    " I read this book while in Italy. Visited many small towns very much like Adano. Very easy to picture the setting and the people. This is a book about a good man...in spite of the war around him. I think that my friends would like this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen | 5/8/2011

    " A Bell for Adano is a simple story, set in a cozy little Italian town, with ordinary, yet unforgettable characters. I really enjoyed this book and can certainly understand why it won a Pulitzer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathy | 5/7/2011

    " I read this book while in Italy. Visited many small towns very much like Adano. Very easy to picture the setting and the people. This is a book about a good man...in spite of the war around him. I think that my friends would like this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 George | 3/10/2011

    " Great cast of small town Italian characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lorik | 2/19/2011

    " This is definitely a happy read. The reality and comedy of culture clashes is beautifully webbed together for a captivating journey... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Megan | 2/8/2011

    " A story of an Italian-American major who is charged with leadership of the occupied town of Adano. A tale of how bad men on the same "side" can countervent wise leadership. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Thomas | 1/11/2011

    " not worth a pulitzer,even in 1945. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sasha | 9/9/2010

    " I really enjoyed this book up to the ending where I felt rather disappointed and let down. It's a very realistic ending, but sad and discouraging too. This was off my father's recommended book list and I can understand why he likes it, but I still can't get past the dull ending. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa | 8/25/2010

    " Pulitzer prize winner. This book was really laid back but very enjoyable. It's about a military man who is responsible for rebuilding a community in Italy after WWII during the US occupation. The characters are a hoot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurie | 2/10/2010

    " Beautifully written story of an American unit occupying an Italian town during WWII. Funny and poignant. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author
Author John Hersey

John Hersey (1914–1993), a prolific and acclaimed writer of both fiction and nonfiction, won a Pulitzer Prize for A Bell for Adano. Yet throughout his life, he was most respected for Hiroshima. According to the New Yorker, “[It] remains his crowning achievement. Though it is imbued with a profound moral sense, it does not preach. It does not hector. It simply tells. The power of it, and of its author, is in the reporting.”

About the Narrator

David Green is founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby. Born into a pastor’s home, he began working at a local five-and-dime as a teen. Marrying his high school sweetheart, the young couple began a small picture-frame shop. In 1972 they opened their first retail store. Today Hobby Lobby has more than three hundred stores in twenty-seven states. David and his wife Barbara have three grown children.