|Amazon Price||New from||Used from|
For Whom the Bell Tolls begins and ends in a pine-scented forest, somewhere in Spain. The year is 1937 and the Spanish Civil War is in full swing. Robert Jordan, a demolitions expert attached to the International Brigades, lies "flat on the brown, pine-needled floor of the forest, his chin on his folded arms, and high overhead the wind blew in the tops of the pine trees." The sylvan setting, however, is at sharp odds with the reason Jordan is there: he has come to blow up a bridge on behalf of the antifascist guerrilla forces. He hopes he'll be able to rely on their local leader, Pablo, to help carry out the mission, but upon meeting him, Jordan has his doubts: "I don't like that sadness, he thought. That sadness is bad. That's the sadness they get before they quit or before they betray. That is the sadness that comes before the sell-out." For Pablo, it seems, has had enough of the war. He has amassed for himself a small herd of horses and wants only to stay quietly in the hills and attract as little attention as possible. Jordan's arrival--and his mission--have seriously alarmed him.
"I am tired of being hunted. Here we are all right. Now if you blow a bridge here, we will be hunted. If they know we are here and hunt for us with planes, they will find us. If they send Moors to hunt us out, they will find us and we must go. I am tired of all this. You hear?" He turned to Robert Jordan. "What right have you, a foreigner, to come to me and tell me what I must do?"In one short chapter Hemingway lays out the blueprint for what is to come: Jordan's sense of duty versus Pablo's dangerous self-interest and weariness with the war. Complicating matters even more are two members of the guerrilla leader's small band: his "woman" Pilar, and Maria, a young woman whom Pablo rescued from a Republican prison train. Unlike her man, Pilar is still fiercely devoted to the cause and as Pablo's loyalty wanes, she becomes the moral center of the group. Soon Jordan finds himself caught between the two, even as his own resolve is tested by his growing feelings for Maria.
For Whom the Bell Tolls combines two of the author's recurring obsessions: war and personal honor. The pivotal battle scene involving El Sordo's last stand is a showcase for Hemingway's narrative powers, but the quieter, ongoing conflict within Robert Jordan as he struggles to fulfill his mission perhaps at the cost of his own life is a testament to his creator's psychological acuity. By turns brutal and compassionate, it is arguably Hemingway's most mature work and one of the best war novels of the 20th century. --Alix Wilber
"One of the greatest novels which our troubled age will produce" Observer "The best fictional report on the Spanish Civil War that we possess" -- Anthony Burgess "The best book Hemingway has written" New York Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
After finishing this book I feel like I want to read it again in order to fully appreciate it. The book's dialogue is written in English but is describing conversations that are... Read morePublished 6 days ago by R. Archer
For Whom the Bell Tolls is not the first Hemingway I've ever read. That would be Hills Like White Elephants, which, like most US college students, I had to study in my short... Read morePublished 7 days ago by David R. Tisdale, II
This is my favorite by Hemingway thus far. Loved all the characters, all seemed very life-like. Enjoyed his mastery over writing the characters dialogue, their exact Spanish... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Amanda Ellison
Hemingway is an extremely famous author but for me, some of his books do not live up to the legend. This, however, is my favourite. Just read it.Published 12 days ago by Rick
My friends hate Hemingway because of Old Man and the Sea. I promise you this book isn't another required reading snooze fest. This reads better for youth. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Sam
Obviously a well known novel based on personal experience. But the writer certainly knows how to drag a story out. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Dave Jensen
I hate this book but he service was great. I had to read it for a history class. It's good if you like this genre or this writer but I wasn't crazy about itPublished 20 days ago by Michelle