A Bell For Adano was published in 1944 and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1945. It was written by John Hersey, a well respected journalist. I did not know anything about him until after I read this book. Although I enjoyed the book, I didn’t feel compelled to read any of his other works until I learned more about him. Now I’ve added several more of his works to my “to read” list.
This is a story of a young major assigned to be the administrator for a small town in Sicily after the Allies began to occupy Italy in WW2. He is driven by a sense of duty not only to his country and the Army but also to the people of the town of Adano.
He tries to make their lives better by creating conditions that will help them acquire enough to eat, stay productive and create trust in the occupying forces. He becomes aware of the fact that the Fascists had taken a bell from the town in order to melt it down for use in making munitions. The town was very attached to this bell, it was symbolic of their history. He makes it a priority to obtain a new bell for the town.
The strategies employed by this major show traits of great leadership, and I even recommended it to my boss who reads a great deal of non fiction about business and leadership. I found it to be a good learning experience and reminders of those things which help people around you feel valued and more willing to help you achieve your intended goal. I enjoyed how he showed respect to the people of the town, even though they were “the enemy”
Unfortunately, his commanding officers do not like that he is kind to those he oversees, and this ultimately causes him to lose his command. Sadly, this seems an almost typical reaction of a great many people in power.