- Series: Scribner Classics
- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Scribner (July 1, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0684803356
- ISBN-13: 978-0684803357
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 985 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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For Whom the Bell Tolls Paperback – July 1, 1995
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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.
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Top customer reviews
Do not buy this book, it is worthless. Prabhat prakashan and amazon are kidding us.
THIS IS DISGUSTING.
AMAZON, why don't you pay attention to this kind of thing???
HOW MANY OTHER CLASSICS HAVE BEEN STOLEN THIS WAY??
is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a
Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse,
as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor
of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death
diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And
therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee. JOHN DONNE
If you haven't noticed, I read a lot of Hemingway. The reason for this is that I enjoy (even more) a textbook about him that was written by a Princeton Professor, Carlos Baker. He understands Hemingway and shares that knowledge in a way that shows the artfulness of the writer. He diagrams the novels in the same way that my grade school teachers taught me to diagram sentences (noun, verb, adverb and subject, object of the preposition, adjectives and compound sentences, etc.). Using this textbook I am learning how a writer approaches a novel (as an artist would); hence the title, "HEMINGWAY, the writer as artist". It is one of my favorite books and has been for more than ten years.
For Whom the Bell Tolls (FWBT) was published in 1940, but the notes for it were taken during '37, '38 '39. It speaks of the loyalist fighting against fascism in Spain. His detractors called Hemingway a 'Stalinist' or a 'Fascist' at the extremes, but he was neither. He was simply anti-fascist. He thought that fascism killed art and literature. It was just that easy for him to pick a side.
His novel is broad in scope and speaks garishly of the cruel killings by both sides.
He goes into great detail of an incident in which the 'loyalists' torture and kill local fascist shop owners, blowhards, idiots, city officials and priests in a way that is foreign to any experience of my sheltered life. Hemingway shocks the reader by writing the details of killing in a way that reminds us of a bull fight, or the running of the bulls at Pamplona. This chapter is hard to read. It is so cruel. I can only image what it was like with his expletives at full volume. Artistically it compares with Picasso's 'Guernica' which reminds the world of the insane bombing of that Spanish market town by NAZI fascists. (with loss of life estimated at 1,650)
The book is about his mission to blow up a bridge and the people he meets along the way - Spaniards hoping for a better life and getting caught up in warfare. Naturally there is a love interest between Robert and Maria, a young woman who had been very mistreated by bad guys and is now seeking refuge with the cave-dwelling freedom fighters of the revolution.
The writing is sparse and meaningful. The setting is depressing. People struggle. People die. The future looks bleak.
This is fine story, well told. However I was annoyed by some of the narrative. Hemingway doesn't uses curses and so the word "obscenity" is used where a curse would logically go. I don't know if this was in only the edition I was reading but I found it very annoying and it broke my concentration.
This is the only Hemingway book I have ever read and I did like the writing. I found the plot easy to follow and I identified with and pitied all the characters. It is a classic of a time and a place and a writer who will long be remembered.
A good read! For those who don't already know Hemingway.
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