Miracle at St. Anna
As per James McBride, Miracle at St. Anna is the story of a Negro soldier in Italy during World War II — a member of the 92nd Infantry (Buffalo) Division — who befriends a young Italian kid he finds on a battlefield. As a result of their meeting he ends up in a small village in the mountains of Tuscany with three other men from his squad. There they encounter a miracle. Like my first book, what it’s really about is the commonality of the human experience. The Color of Water explored that commonality through the real-life story of my mother and my siblings and how we came to fruition as successful adults through her persistence and faith in God. Miracle at St. Anna explores the same subject through the journey of two human beings who, on the face of things, have nothing in common: an illiterate black soldier from the American south — a colossus of a man — and a six-year-old Italian boy who has lost his memory after witnessing a horrible atrocity. In fact they are both innocents. And they are both victims.
As per my favorite folks over at Playahata (who have a newsletter that I highly recommend all of you to become subscribers of), Spike Lee has decided to develop this novel into a film. Here’s what Playahata had to say about the project:
The film, to be shot in Italy, will be adapted from James McBride’s novel Miracle At St. Anna. The book is based on a true story about a group of soldiers from the 92nd, all-black Buffalo Division fighting against Nazi occupation in Tuscany, and the friendship between one soldier and a six-year- old Italian orphan. “America started to remember the sacrifice of black soldiers in films on the Vietnam war, but before then, in those on World War Two, they were almost invisible,” Lee told Italian daily La Repubblica. “I recently met a black veteran who fought at Iwo Jima and he told me how hurt he was that he could not find a single African-American in Clint Eastwood’s two films.”
Eastwood gained Oscar attention for his WWII films Flags Of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima. Lee noted that many African Americans fought valiantly for their country despite facing discrimination at home. “They behaved like patriots while their brothers were lynched or at best considered second-class citizens,” he said. Calling WWII the last “just war” fought by American troops, Lee said his film will not be a propaganda work celebrating only the American troops who liberated Europe. “A lot of German soldiers were not faceless evil with no humanity, but simply men fighting on the wrong side: they too were tired, hungry and wanted to go back home,” he said.
Lee’s adaptation of Miracle At St. Anna’s will be the latest Lee-directed project that he did not also have a hand in writing. The others are 2002’s The 25th Hour and last year’s Inside Man.
James McBride is also the author of the best-selling memoir The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother . It is also noted that the title does the book an injustice, which is good to know because that’s probably why I haven’t read it (kidding–kinda).
The Known World Update: Page 4 and holding…