Customer Reviews


631 Reviews
5 star:
 (289)
4 star:
 (159)
3 star:
 (88)
2 star:
 (57)
1 star:
 (38)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


86 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE novel of the twentieth century? Plus - a warning...
Seven decades after the intial publication, A Farewell to Arms now seems to be the Hemingway novel that gets the most attention and many readers new to Hemingway are probably drawn to it for their initial exposure to the author. Normally, starting off with a writer's best book might be a good approach, but not in this case. A Farewell to Arms, while Hemingway's...
Published on August 26, 2000 by William A. Owen

versus
46 of 55 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Hemingway's Best
I read this in high school about twenty years ago, and recently decided to revisit this work. I think this is an important thing to do. As our lives change, quite often the meaning of great books change to us also, and we can gain an even richer experience. I am sorry to report that this is not the case with this novel. At the risk of sounding sacrilegious, I would...
Published on May 29, 2000 by Paul McGrath


‹ Previous | 110 11 1264 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read Slowly, April 13, 2004
This review is from: A Farewell To Arms (Paperback)
A Farewell to Arms is Hemingway's famous novel of a WWI love affair. Drawing on his life experience Hemingway introduces us to Frederic and Catherine. Frederic is an American ambulance driver in the Italian army (as was Hemingway himself), and Catherine is a nurse behind the battlelines. The two fall in love, are separated by war, reunite through a mutual act of desertion, and eventually go through a pregnancy and it's consequences together.
Hemingway's prose is spare and to the point. There are absolutely no unneeded adjectives. Some would argue that there are a few adjectives left out. His dialogue at times seems wooden and strange, not following a way that "normal" people would talk. Yet, this is the brilliance of Hemingway's style, for these two people are not "normal" people talking. They are two people in a strange country, in the middle of trench warfare, grappling with insanity and chaos all around them, steeped in the strangeness of finding love in such surroundings. There is nothing normal about anything in this situation, and Hemingway shows that with subtle ease.
A Farewell to Arms is a slim novel without any difficult language that slows down other classic works of literature. The temptation to the modern reader is to go through it quickly, looking for the plot, suspense, and resolution. If the reader does this, they will be left wondering what all the hype is about. Instead, read each chapter individually, one at a time. If the reader does that, they will be transported into WWI Italy, and experience what Hemingway intended, the horrors and heroism of people attempting to live with grace and dignity in a disgraceful and undignified situation.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Hemmingway's best work, but very good, April 10, 2004
By 
T. Butler "mathman" (Fort Collins, CO United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Farewell To Arms (Paperback)
Perhaps I have an affinity for Hemmingway that prevents me from giving this book the three stars it probably deserves, but there were extraordinary moments of literary greatness in this book. I think the reason this book catches a lot more flak than some of his others is because of the subtitly in which he delivers messages about life in this book and a lot of people just miss the point entirely.
For those that don't know, this is a story about love and loss and the painful reality of being at war for reasons you once justified but no longer understand.
However, for all the moments of greatness in this book, there is a certain lack of depth that Hemmingway creates for the main characters in the beginning of the book that continually hovers over them throughout the rest of the story. We care about what happens to the characters, but not to the extent to which I believe he intended us to care. There is this instrinsic lack of meaning and purpose behind many of their actions so that we don't understand and even care about some of the things they do.
For all this book's shortcomings though, it still is a vivid, lively, and beautiful portrayal of a man coping with the harsh realities of his life that he created for himself.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hemingway's romantic masterpiece stands test of time., January 11, 1999
By A Customer
Does A Farewell to Arms stand the test of time? Hemingway's autobiographical, dark vision of war is perhaps more in step with Post-Vietnam sensibilities than other World War One literature; the banter between protagonist Lt. Frederick Henry (a tribute to The Red Badge of Courage, whose hero is Henry Frederick) and his roommate, Rinaldi could easily have come from Hawkeye and Trapper. Yet it is the tender love story between Henry and Catherine Barkley which is the soul of the novel, and what keeps readers returning to it for 60 years now. The lustful scenes of nurse Catherine climbing under the covers with her recuperating patient (the details discreetly omitted) seem quaint by today's standards. And Catherine as "fallen woman" no longer plays to today's reader. Yet what could be more romantic than Henry and Catherine fleeing across the lake under cover of darkness to the sanctuary of Switzerland, or more gut-wrenching than Catherine's battle for life on the delivery table? Its often said that you either love Hemingway or hate him. A Farewell to Arms is Hemingway at the top of his game--if you don't love it you clearly fall into the latter category.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Don't be a bloody hero.", December 26, 2001
This review is from: A Farewell To Arms (Paperback)
Ernest Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms" is certainly a landmark in the genre of war fiction. The novel tells the story of Frederic Henry, an American who serves in the Italian army ambulance corps during World War I. He falls in love with Catherine Barkley, a British nurse, and has a number of traumatic experiences.
"Farewell" has a somber, haunting, and quietly compelling feel to it. In its ironic, naturalistic, and decidedly nonheroic presentation of war, the book seems like a fitting companion text to "The Red Badge of Courage," another key American novel of war.
Many of Hemingway's characters in this book express a dissatisfaction with or alienation from traditional notions of religion, morality, and heroism. Their outlooks are often darkly cynical, as exemplified by this quote: "The world [...] kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry." In the midst of war, however, love between two individuals remains a powerful force.
There are a number of compelling secondary characters: Rinaldi, Henry's irreverent comrade; the young priest who champions "traditional" values; and more. As additional companion texts to this book, I would recommend Joseph Plumb Martin's memoir "A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier" and James Michener's Korean War novel "The Bridges at Toko-Ri."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, But Difficult to Understand Deeper Symbolism, June 25, 2004
By 
"swagneraia" (Long Beach, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Farewell To Arms (Paperback)
Ernest Hemingway has done it again with an excellent book. A Farewell to Arms is perhaps Hemingway's greatest work. The book follows the events concerning Henry, a young man who volunteered to work for the Italian army. But when he discovers his true love, he faces a major decision that could radically change the course of his life. The character development is second-to-none, and Hemingway used his signature style of the book, anti-climatic situations. One of my favorite parts of the book is the anti-climatic end of the third and most climatic part of the book, where the main character is laying down in as a stowaway in a train compartment. (Don't worry, I didn't give anything away). The only flaw of the book was that it was very difficult to understand the hidden symbolism mentioned in the book. I probably would not have realized many of the hidden symbolic pieces without reading Cliff's Notes. I surely recommend the book; yet there is a reading enhancement and a much deeper understanding of the book when read with Cliff's Notes.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Self, January 1, 2001
By 
Calvin Raynaud (Canberra, ACT, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Farewell To Arms (Paperback)
People are individuals, society is a ruse.
Our narrator is an island. He drifts without motivation- without hate for an enemy, concern for a cause, or love for a lover.
To delay being subsumed by this nothingness, he avoids abstract thought, falls into alcohol, and fools himself that he has fallen in love. But it is only a delay.
His story demands the writing style. Through Hemingway's high-tempo efficiency we learn of our narrator's capacity for prompt, clear thought, both to lead others, and to save his own life. We learn of his meandering shallowness, as he plays with a dog during his child's birth. And through Hemingway's intentional omissions, we learn that our narrator has no interest in his lover's past or future, he thinks not of his family, he neither sees nor values the beauty of his surrounds, and he experiences only a fleeting curiousity for absent buddies.
Don't be distracted by the setting, 'Farewell to Arms' is honest, relevant and fascinating.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite Sad, February 7, 2001
By 
This review is from: A Farewell To Arms (Paperback)
A Farewell to Arms was my first entry into the world of Ernest Hemingway and after reading it I plan on making a few more trips. Some here have said that Hemingway does not develop his characters enough but I beg to differ. Rather, I think that one of the best parts of the novel is the growth we witness in them, particularly in Henry. At first, I felt nothing towards him but as the novel crept slowly towards its inevitable conclusion I realized how human Henry had become and I began to feel for him. On the other hand, Catherine remains stagnant but I'm beginning to think that was intentional. She's sweet at the beginning but rather flat and annoying as the story progresses. Hemingway also manages to make the novel's setting frighteningly real, particulalry the battle and retreat sequences about two-thrids of the way through. In short, A Farewell to Arms is a worthwhile read and an excellent introduction to Ernest Hemingway.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I could not put it down, October 21, 2002
This review is from: A Farewell To Arms (Paperback)
I work in the field of Leadership Development and often have to trudge through books that are about as fun to read as watching paint dry. This book was a welcome respite from the management and corporate lingo I normally have to suffer through. This book reads like a fine wine goes down, soft and smooth. Hemingway will just come out of nowhere and you think you are reading the greatest paragraph ever written. When thinking about issues such as should we go to war or not, this book deals with the pros and cons and the human toll war places on all participants. The love story between Catherine and the Lieutenant is a classic, but more so is the writing about the War.
This book is a classic and can be read in one night, it is just that good. Hemingway is so simple, yet, deep, not many writers can even come close to achieving what he does in this book. I look forward to reading another Hemingway novel.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Farewell to Dialogue, October 4, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: A Farewell To Arms (Paperback)
In A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway does an excellent job with his description of the events in the novel but the dialogue between Henry, the main character, and the other characters is not great. Especially when Henry talks to his English lover, Catherine Barkley, there is a great deal of shallow affection in their conversations that gets repetitive and annoying. Also in other parts there is dialogue between multiple characters and Hemingway does not distinguish between who is talking often enough, so it becomes confusing. Hemingway does a good job describing the scenery and events, especially with Henry's escape from the Austrian officers and the Spanish police, but once again that section of the book was broken up with dialogue between Henry and Barkley that ruined the mood Hemingway created. After I got around some of the dialogue, A Farewell to Arms turned out to be a good book it was worth the read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Every Star, July 12, 2000
This review is from: A Farewell To Arms (Paperback)
First, let me start with the important facts. A Farewell to Arms is the kind of book that always keeps you interested. As the story builds, so does the suspense with each passing action. In short, the novel is not dull.
Between happenings, Hemingway describes scenes in such vivid detail that can't help but capture the mind's curiosity. If you read this, and let him weave his magical tale, you won't be disappointed.
At the base of the novel, there's an excellent story. Anyone that reads it, while giving his or her full attention to the book, should have an excellent and refreshing experience.
By the way, you don't have to be a Hemingway fan to like this story; it's an all around great book. I wish I could describe all of the fantastic things that he puts in, but I think it's best to know very little about the story before reading it. Check this book out and have fun.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 110 11 1264 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

A Farewell to Arms
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (Hardcover - February 14, 2000)
$34.95 $31.46
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.