For Whom the Bell Tolls

Hemingway, Ernest

Book - 1996
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
For Whom the Bell Tolls
In 1937 Ernest Hemingway traveled to Spain to cover the civil war there for the North American Newspaper Alliance. Three years later he completed the greatest novel to emerge from "the good fight," For Whom the Bell Tolls. The story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to an antifascist guerilla unit in the mountains of Spain, it tells of loyalty and courage, love and defeat, and the tragic death of an ideal. In his portrayal of Jordan's love for the beautiful Maria and his superb account of El Sordo's last stand, in his brilliant travesty of La Pasionaria and his unwillingness to believe in blind faith, Hemingway surpasses his achievement in The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms to create a work at once rare and beautiful, strong and brutal, compassionate, moving, and wise. "If the function of a writer is to reveal reality," Maxwell Perkins wrote Hemingway after reading the manuscript, "no one ever so completely performed it." Greater in power, broader in scope, and more intensely emotional than any of the author's previous works, it stands as one of the best war novels of all time.

Publisher: New York : Scribner, 1996
ISBN: 9780684830483
Characteristics: 495 p. ;,24 cm


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Dec 27, 2014
  • SeattleSaul rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Removing "Hemingway" from the by-line and reviewing as a work by an unknown writer, frees ones to criticize it as failing in many ways. 1. His main character, Robert Jordan, is always referred by both names...for reason unknown. 2. Using Old English 2nd person (thou, thee, thy, canst, ...) to substitute for the familiar in Spanish makes it sound stilted and clunky to read. 3. Swearing in Spanish is translated to "obscenity," rather than leaving it in Spanish for the prudish reader. 4. Endless, trivial repetitions especially in the first 300 pages. There is a good story here, but could have been written better.

Dec 01, 2014
  • Greenblum rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

great story about the Spanish civil war. great hemingway style-crisply written. amazing how he gives you a great view of what these people were about and what drove them and what they feared. all done in a fast moving pace.

Sep 16, 2013
  • natasha_kcls rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The first half of this book takes either incredible stamina or a deep appreciation of the smaller things in life and of the local culture and circumstances of the story, not because the story is not an interesting one but simply because of the microscopic scale of the plot. I would say that I had a mix of these two, so I was able to enjoy the beginning of the book as well as the end, which I loved. It's definitely interesting to test yourself by reading something at such a profoundly different pace then you're used to, and to see the beautiful level of detail and reality that can be attained by it. Highly recommended.

Mar 17, 2013
  • Cecilturtle rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

What struck me most in this novel was the language. Hemingway of course is known for his journalistic style, but there it was his willingness to mirror the Spanish language, making the distinction between the thou and the you to demonstrate familiarity and ultimately emotion.
The politics were well explained without being burdening; the cultural aspects and the horrors of the war are very moving and bring the readers into the story, especially at the end, where we are left alone with Jordan. Finally, I liked the flashback to the American Civil War - it made me better understand why Jordan was there in the first place, so all ties in well from a historical and psychological perspective. Definitely a tour de force.

Feb 02, 2013
  • macierules rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Last third of this book is magnificent...up to that point VERY slow.

Dec 07, 2012

To expand a little on the previous comment, I would like to agree but to say that the characters that lack definition are primarily female. He writes fiction albeit from his own perspective and experiences as a man. His inability to get into the minds of these characters can be frustrating but if you're looking for a woman's perspective I would not recommend reading Hemingway.

Aug 23, 2012
  • dommie96 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

i think that ernest hemingway is a good writer but i dont think he is a great writer. i think he can underestimate his characters and not give them enough support to be stronger and more bolder ones


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Dec 27, 2014
  • SeattleSaul rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

SeattleSaul thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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Feb 23, 2014



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