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A Farewell To Arms Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (June 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684801469
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684801469
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (606 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

As a youth of 18, Ernest Hemingway was eager to fight in the Great War. Poor vision kept him out of the army, so he joined the ambulance corps instead and was sent to France. Then he transferred to Italy where he became the first American wounded in that country during World War I. Hemingway came out of the European battlefields with a medal for valor and a wealth of experience that he would, 10 years later, spin into literary gold with A Farewell to Arms. This is the story of Lieutenant Henry, an American, and Catherine Barkley, a British nurse. The two meet in Italy, and almost immediately Hemingway sets up the central tension of the novel: the tenuous nature of love in a time of war. During their first encounter, Catherine tells Henry about her fiancé of eight years who had been killed the year before in the Somme. Explaining why she hadn't married him, she says she was afraid marriage would be bad for him, then admits:
I wanted to do something for him. You see, I didn't care about the other thing and he could have had it all. He could have had anything he wanted if I would have known. I would have married him or anything. I know all about it now. But then he wanted to go to war and I didn't know.
The two begin an affair, with Henry quite convinced that he "did not love Catherine Barkley nor had any idea of loving her. This was a game, like bridge, in which you said things instead of playing cards." Soon enough, however, the game turns serious for both of them and ultimately Henry ends up deserting to be with Catherine.

Hemingway was not known for either unbridled optimism or happy endings, and A Farewell to Arms, like his other novels (For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Sun Also Rises, and To Have and Have Not), offers neither. What it does provide is an unblinking portrayal of men and women behaving with grace under pressure, both physical and psychological, and somehow finding the courage to go on in the face of certain loss. --Alix Wilber

From Library Journal

These dual Hemingways are the latest volumes in the Scribner Paperback Fiction series (Classic Returns, February 15, p. 187). They offer quality trade size editions, featuring attractive covers and easily readable type size. Two of the greats.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Ernest Hemingway ranks as the most famous of twentieth-century American writers; like Mark Twain, Hemingway is one of those rare authors most people know about, whether they have read him or not. The difference is that Twain, with his white suit, ubiquitous cigar, and easy wit, survives in the public imagination as a basically, lovable figure, while the deeply imprinted image of Hemingway as rugged and macho has been much less universally admired, for all his fame. Hemingway has been regarded less as a writer dedicated to his craft than as a man of action who happened to be afflicted with genius. When he won the Nobel Prize in 1954, Time magazine reported the news under Heroes rather than Books and went on to describe the author as "a globe-trotting expert on bullfights, booze, women, wars, big game hunting, deep sea fishing, and courage." Hemingway did in fact address all those subjects in his books, and he acquired his expertise through well-reported acts of participation as well as of observation; by going to all the wars of his time, hunting and fishing for great beasts, marrying four times, occasionally getting into fistfights, drinking too much, and becoming, in the end, a worldwide celebrity recognizable for his signature beard and challenging physical pursuits.

Customer Reviews

So, I skipped half the book and read the end.
bdiehl
It's a good, good book... then you get to that ending.
Kevin Johns
I like Hemingway's style of writing very much.
CP Ferwerda-Rekers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 81 people found the following review helpful By William A. Owen on August 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
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 greatest work, also offers the uninitiated reader the greatest challenge. This is as terse as it gets, and if you're not familiar with Hemingway's style, you may find yourself wondering what all the fuss is about. Worse, you may become one of those millions of intelligent, well-read people who think he is a horrible joke. Start with a few of the short stories. Read some of the criticism (positive and negative). Do a little research on WWI (if you feel you need to). Then go for The Sun Also Rises. At that point, you will be hooked, or you will write the guy off forever. If you find yourself in the former category, you will really appreciate the opportunity to read incredible this book.
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88 of 97 people found the following review helpful By D. Roberts VINE VOICE on June 29, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A FAREWELL TO ARMS is one of Hemingway's earliest novels. With much of the material loosely based on his own personal experiences as an ambulance driver during World War I, the story captures in great detail the conflict in all of its horror and barbarism.
The book invites us to imagine all of the brave soldiers who went into the war in search of glory. What they found instead was the endless stalemate and hideous prospect of trench warfare. Perhaps more than any other war in the history of warfare, the first World War changed the traditional paradigms of how wars were fought and what the objectives of engagements were. Hemingway, who was there himself, serves as a perfect instrument to portray what it was really like.
The plot centers around Frederick Henry, an American ambulance driver for the Italian army (a job Hemingway performed himself). Henry is a typical masculine Hemingway male persona who falls in love with a beautiful, long-haired & impetuous British nurse named Catherine Barkley. Henry is an exemplar of the WWI soldier who gets more than he bargains for in the war; betrayal and ignominious soldiering of the Italians in the wake of defeat.
The tragic irony of this novel is what makes it so memorable. Henry, as a wounded man who withdraws from the battle, as well as the whims of the Italian Army. However, he does so only to find that life is full of tragedy whether you're in a war or not.
I would highly recommend this novel to all fans of Hemingway, American literature and World War I period historical and literary works. It is with the subtle prose of Heminway that we can be effectively transported back to that epoch of our world history.
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80 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on March 28, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This wonderful story by a young early Hemingway is perhaps, along with "For Whom The Bell Tolls", one of the finest anti-war novels ever written. In it we are introduced to a young and idealistic man, Frederick Henry, who, through love, experience and existential circumstance, comes to see the folly, waste, and irony of war, and attempts to make his own peace outside the confines of traditional conformity. For all of his obvious excesses, Hemingway was an artist compelled to delve deliberately into painful truths, and he attempted to do so with a style of writing that cut away all of the frills and artifice, so that at its heart this novel is meant as a exploration into what it means to confront the world of convention and deliberately decide to choose for what one feels in his heart as opposed to what one is expected to do. Of course, in so doing, the young ambulance driver becomes a full-grown adult, facing his trials with grace and courage. Still, what we are left with is a modern tragedy, one in which the characters must somehow attempt to resolve the irresolvable.
Yet in all this emotional turmoil and existential 'sturm-und-drang' of two star-crossed lovers caught in the contradictions, deceptions, and brutality of the First World War, we are also treated to Hemingway's amazing powers of exposition at the peak of his prowess. Indeed, as with other Hemingway novels, it is Hemingway's imaginative and spare use of the language itself that wins the reader over. Unlike his predecessors, he sought a lean narrative style that cut away at all the flowery description and endless adjectives. In the process of parsing away the excesses, Hemingway created a clear, simple and quite declarative prose style that was truly both modern and revolutionary.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Bill Frist on November 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
Ok folks. I had no intention of writing a review of A Farewell To Arms, but what's been written on this page necessitates a response. This is not an anti-war novel. Well, I suppose it's anti-war in the sense that there is a war and wars are bad. There is no definitive literary content in this novel that suggests that Hemingway was making an anti-war statement. In FACT, the only work that Hemingway unequivocally dubbed "anti-war" was For Whom The Bell Tolls. There really are only two grotesque war scenes (the shell exploding in the drivers' tent and the man bleeding to death in the ambulance) and that hardly constitutes the book's classification as an "anti-war novel" or "anti-war allegory" or parable or masterwork or whatever you want to insert to justify yourself. Sure, one cane make the assertion that the man bleeding to death in the ambulance was indicitive of the slow, callous slaughter of the world's young healthy males during WWI, but it would have been impossible for Hemingway to have written the entire book without making SOME reference to the grotesque nature of the war. A Farewell To Arms, however, is not Guernica. It is not a Dadaist painting. It is certainly not that old Mel Gibson movie where he dies at the end (remember that?).

The point is, this book has thematic elements that hardly relate to war. Take love, for instance. But love, unto itself, is more a compication than anything. At it's simplest, the novel is about strength. Strength, unabashed and unflinching. It is about the eternal struggle that every strong man and woman fights until their (untimely) death. It is the struggle with the world and the universe, which so callously torments the strong until they succumb to the weight of the unforgiving cosmos.
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