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For Whom the Bell Tolls
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Manufacturer: Scribner
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 813.52
EAN: 9780684803357
ISBN: 0684803356
Label: Scribner
Manufacturer: Scribner
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 480
Publication Date: 1995-07-01
Publisher: Scribner
Studio: Scribner

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Editorial Reviews:

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.

Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: A Must-Read
Comment: This tackles several questions: How war shapes men, past and present and what a real hero is.

Set in the Spanish Civil War, the story revolves around the experiences of a volunteer fighter, an American college professor named Robert Jordan. Filled with idealism at first, watch him reconsider as he faces the prospect of his own death.

One of Hemingway's finest.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: For Whom the Bell Tolls
Comment: This book should be a "must read" for everyone. It is one of the top twenty-five books of modern times.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: good and bad
Comment: This story is moderately good. Rather than weaving eloquent statements extolling the author, the plot, and the style as most reviewers do, I will simply state the pros and cons, perhaps in a tone that will be worthy of Hemingway himself.

First, I have two major criticisms. I found the plot to be interesting, but unoriginal. Countless novels have been written about guerilla forces fighting behind enemy lines, and a substantial percentage of those books revolved around blowing up a bridge. Fine, it makes for suspenseful (no pun intended) reading. However, I would have thought that he could have come up with a better approach to a war story. Secondly, I found that the sex scenes detracted substantially from the story. While the romance between Robert Jordan and Maria was an integral part of the plot, the sexual content was wholly unnecessary and was at an extreme juxtaposition with my Christian values. I felt that the story would not have lost anything by eliminating those elements.

I did, however, enjoy many things about this novel. Hemingway's style is always intriguing to me, and I love his clipped, terse tone. The Spanish words and phrases scattered liberally through the dialogue added a nice touch as well. More than that, though, I thoroughly enjoyed his social commentary on Spain, and the connections to the poem by John Dunne. Death is really the overriding theme of the book, and I found the philosophy of the interdependency of mankind even in death to be thought-provoking. Lastly, I always appreciate an author who is willing to write about overlooked periods or viewpoints in history. While I found his story to be fairly trite (guy goes with guerilla band to blow up bridge, falls in love with girl, and half of the people die), I loved the setting of the Spanish civil war. I've read very little about that era in history, and so I found it to be informative and inspired some interest in learning more about it.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Lives Up To Its Reputation
Comment: The ur-text for today's wartime adventure novel, "For Whom The Bell Tolls" remains a standard bearer for pulse-pounding action fiction, and one of the true masterpieces by the most celebrated American author of his time.

Robert Jordan is a Spanish-language instructor from Montana who, now in Spain, has a job of another kind: blow up a critical bridge under enemy control before his comrades, the Republicans of the Spanish Civil War, mount a critical attack. He falls in with a band of motley guerrillas, discovering the joy and passion of life even as he must make peace with the real possibility of his death.

When published in 1940, there was little need to explain the title: the bell was tolling pretty loudly for just about everyone outside of Sweden and Chile as the Axis powers led by Nazi Germany rolled up giant chunks of the globe. Germany's three-year dress rehearsal had been the Spanish Civil War, where they helped Spanish fascists and monarchists overthrow the Marxist-led Republicans while Western democracies watched idly. Ernest Hemingway, a strong supporter of the Republican cause, lost arguably the only country he ever really loved.

"For Whom The Bell Tolls" could have been an exercise in told-you-so or score settling with the right-wing victors Hemingway despised. Yet the story is so engaging - so raw and sweeping in its style, so visceral in form, and undogmatic in outlook - that it is hard to know from reading it just how bruised a champion Hemingway had been for the losing team. The most drawn-out, brutal section of narrative deals with atrocities committed by Republicans, not fascists. Rebels and Republicans alike appear oddly human.

"Do you think you have a right to kill any one? No. But I have to. How many of those you have killed have been real fascists? Very few. But they are all the enemy to whose force we are the opposing force. But you like the people of Navarra better than those of any other part of Spain. Yes. And you kill them. Yes."

That's one of many internal monologues Jordan has with himself in the course of the book, which may annoy some expecting more wall-to-wall action but works fine by me. It's easy imagining oneself pondering similar questions in similar situations, and the running stream-of-consciousness adds to the nail-biting tension.

Hemingway also does very well by the secondary characters, especially the guerrilla band Jordan takes up with. Their leader, Pablo, was a once-ruthless killer of fascists now reduced to drink and train-robbing. "There is not enough of you left to make a sick kitten," says Pablo's bitter woman, Pilar, herself a tigress and Jordan's chief ally. Pilar is both supporter and scoffer of Jordan's budding relationship with Maria, a teenaged rape survivor rescued by the guerrillas. This is not a merry band of outlaws; their very fractiousness draws you in.

As a Sam Peckinpah fan, I was struck by how pleasingly similar "For Whom The Bell Tolls" was to the classic Western desperado saga "The Wild Bunch". Both are straightforward action yarns with a lot of backstory, vivid characters and setting, and a storyline that cleverly pulls you in even as it seems to ramble.

"For Whom The Bell Tolls" is less concerned about the bridge itself (where or when precisely this action is occurring is never spelled out) then the feelings that surround warfare, and how and why one man must do what he can, for as Rick said in "Casablanca", the problems of one man don't add up to a hill of beans in this crazy mixed-up world. Hemingway's ending is less Hollywood but just as stirring, and a fittingly open-ended climax to this singular story.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: The Best War Novel
Comment: For Whom the Bell Tolls is a novel about love, deception, war, and trustworthiness. Author Ernest Hemingway can be seen as the perfect writer for this book. All novels are not created equally and this one outshines most.

This novel starts off in the midst of the Spanish Civil War in May of 1937. Robert Jordan, the protagonist, is seen in the beginning of the story as an American scientist that wants to blow up a bridge that is being used by the Fascists. The Fascists are people in the war fighting against the Republicans or rebels. Jordan is blocked to this path by a man named Pablo who will not help him with his plans for blowing up the bridge. Pablo, so called leader of the rebels, is the opposite of Jordan by seeing the whole plan as a danger zone for the safety of his men. Pablo's wife Pilar, real leader of the rebels, seems to enjoy the plan and decides to help Jordan out with it. Pablo has been demoted as the leader and now his men blame him for all of the calamities that happen throughout the story, such as the killing of troops just for their horses.

As the story progresses, there is the smell of love in the air when Jordan meets Maria in the rebel camp. Maria is a woman who has been raped by the Fascists and seeks revenge upon them. Maria and Jordan have several "sexual sensations" throughout the novel and they imagine themselves living a normal life after the war is over. This is ironic because things do not work out the way they want to.

By the end of the story, the bridge has been blown apart by Robert and the rebel band, but some people do not make it back alive. Robert Jordan progresses throughout the story as a stiff and unchanging character. He develops a sense of distrust even though he supports the Republican side. Hemingway sets the tone for an appetite of destruction and leads it off into a sense of love and sensation at the end.

This novel can be seen as a great attribute to war fiction by incorporating love and hate into the war zone. Many people should decide to read this book because while reading this book it brings home war in a realistic manner.

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