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For Whom the Bell Tolls

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  149,118 ratings  ·  3,240 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

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Paperback, 471 pages
Published 2003 by Scribner (first published 1940)
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Stu I've read this book, 'The Sun Also Rises', 'The Old Man and the Sea', and 'A Farewell to Arms'. This is my favorite by a large margin, even though…moreI've read this book, 'The Sun Also Rises', 'The Old Man and the Sea', and 'A Farewell to Arms'. This is my favorite by a large margin, even though I've taught 'The Old Man and the Sea' numerous times as an example of direct language. By my limited reckoning, 'The Sun Also Rises' is Hemingway's masterpiece.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Tom
Ok, before I commit the sacrilege of dismissing this "classic," permit me to establish my Hemingway bona fides: I have read and loved just about everything else he wrote, and have taught Sun Also Rises, Farewell to Arms, and many short stories, and had a blast doing it. I've read Carlos Baker's classic bio, and numerous critical articles on H. I've made the pilgrimage to Key West and taken pictures of his study and the hordes of 6-toed cats. I dig Papa, ok?

But I can not stand this book! I should...more
Adrianne Mathiowetz
At some point in high school, I decided that I hated Ernest Hemingway. Was it the short story we read in English class? Was it the furniture collection named after him at Gabbert's? Something made me decide that Hemingway was a prick, and after that I dismissed him entirely.

This book was beautiful.

I don't even like books about war. (Case in point: I scanned half of War and Peace. I think which half is obvious.) But this book took five hundred pages to blow up a single bridge. There were tanks t...more
stew
I obscenity your transmission. I obscenity in the milk of your ancestors. I, and always and forever I; wandering I, mucking I, obscene obscenity forever and always and milking and transmissing and mucking wandering amongst the forever and the always I; obscenity obscene, mucking milking milk ancestral forever and ever to have and to hold and to be and now and always and forever; this now, wandering now, transmissing now, mucking now, milking now, obscene obscenity now, ancestral now, forever to...more
Garrett Burnett
I have a hard time with Mr. Hemingway, I guess. For Whom the Bell Tolls didn't involve as much rampant drinking as many of his other books, but I blame that on the setting—a cave in the mountains where only a few gallons of wine were available (and a flask of absinthe, the flavor of which is described over the course of about thirty pages). However, his standard sexism toward the female characters still applied. Here are a few more things I didn't like about the book:
*Did he really have to write...more
Madeline
Just when I'd decided that Hemingway only ever wrote books about people getting drunk in cafes and thinking about how miserable they are, he surprises me and comes out with something like this. Naturally, the characters still get drunk and think about how miserable they are, but they do it while being guerrilla fighters in the Spanish Civil War, which makes it awesome.

In The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien writes that, "If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some s...more
Chris
I can't understand how anyone would dislike this book. I loved "The Windup Bird Chronicle," but I understand how one wouldn't enjoy it. "For Whom the Bell Tolls," however, was one of those classics that was so perfect, so profoundly moving and yet just enjoyable to read, that I can't comprehend the negative review. Like "Anna Karenina," "Crime and Punishment," or "Native Son," its one of those cornerstones of literature that utterly justified its spot in the cannon. The characters were perfectly...more
Andy
The Spanish Civil War is a very interesting historical event, but this story is full of bad dialogue, glorifies the brave American, and largely ignores the plight of the Spaniards themselves - not to mention that the love interest is as one-dimensional as a blowup sex doll, which is pretty much all that her character serves as in this book. I recommend Orwell's Homage to Catalonia if you want to know what the Spanish Civil War was like - unlike Hemingway who was just a reporter in Spain, Orwell...more
Cynthia .
You know you’ve devoured a good book when after going over the last line you feel somewhat ethereal - an unworldly feeling of satisfaction. Well, that is what I felt with this book.

This is my first of Hemingway and my second war novel (first was Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five).
When I picked it up from my book rack, I told myself “Hmmm.. Hemingway. This must be a difficult book”, but I was proven wrong. Hemingway’s stylistic choice of words, the density and intelligent distribution of his sente...more
Geoff
I won't deny my youthful bloody-lust to travel afar and get the girl and die in valor "fighting the good fight"- before those words were emptied by experience and observation-; and to read the messages-in-bottles (all polished sea-glass smooth by now) my teenage self is tossing into a flood tide from far, far away in some distant dimension (where he hardly resembles myself, and I am ashamed of him) this book is "written-well". I perfectly remember my parent's back porch and sun-struck green afte...more
RandomAnthony
Ok, so Ben Harrison inspired me to check out some Hemingway. I hadn’t ready any of Hemingway’s work in close to twenty years. I remember starting A Movable Feast in college, reading five pages, and wondering what they hell was wrong with the author. I couldn’t get past what I perceived as a wooden, hacked-off writing style. I felt kind of guilty, though, because I grew up a couple miles away from Oak Park, Illinois, which styles itself as an integral part of Hemingway’s youth, and some people I...more
Chrissie
Hemingway uses special "literary techniques" in "For whom the Bell Tolls" that rather than enhancing the reading experience detract from it. Please see the list below. The ending is totally soppy. You learn nothing about the Spanish Civil War, and a better explanation for why Robert Jordan decided to fight with the Republicans should have been given. The scenes depicting physical attraction were bland and insipid. Some dislike the macho behavior of Hemingway's characters, but this doesn't bother...more
Matt
There's an old saying, ascribed to Dostoevsky (and a dozen other famous authors, I'm sure), that says there are only two types of stories: (1)a man goes on a journey; and (2) a stranger rides into town. It's a cute, pithy little saying, and broadly true, especially if you stretch your definition of "journey." Of course, it misses the third great type of story: the loss of an Eden-like paradise, which is the basis of every romantic comedy in existence: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets gir...more
Sally Howes
Can a whole life be lived in just four days? This is the question that haunts Robert Jordan throughout FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS. Leaving behind his respectable life as an American college Spanish-language teacher, he has become an accomplished guerrilla fighter and explosives expert fighting for the anti-fascists in the Spanish Civil War. Can he really find a new "family," fall head over heels in love, and strike a blow that will further the rebel cause and lay his own personal ghosts to rest ......more
Hemdan Ahmed
عدد صفحات الرواية 570 صفحة تقريبا ،و لو قمنا بحذف الجُمل المكررة _بشكل مبالغ فيه_ و السطحية و الساذجة في حواراتها فلن يتعدى عدد صفحاتها عن 100 صفحة و بدون اختزال او اجتزاء او تلخيص مخل باحداثها او حواراتها العجيبة !

همنجواي : كان المفروض تنتحر بدري شوية قبل كدة بدل ما تطلعه على عنينا
!
Saman
یک ترجمه‌ی بد از یک شاهکار ادبی. نمی‌دانم اولین بار چه کسی عنوان این کتاب را این‌قدر بی‌روح و سرد به "زنگ‌ها برای که به صدا در می‌آیند" برگرداند؟

عنوان زیباتر و رساتر این داستان را (این ناقوس عزای کیست) بیش‌تر می‌پسندم؛ چرا که داستان صرفاً روایت یک عملیات پارتیزانی محض نیست، بل‌که روایت یک رابطه‌ی انسانی و در مقابل آن چیزی به نام آرمان و هدف است

باری، ترجمه‌ی بد این کتاب باعث شد تا از خواندن آن لذتی نبرم و فیلمی که از آن پیش‌تر دیده بودم برایم باقی بماند. باشد تا برگردان بهتری از این کتاب روانه ب...more
Drew
Okay, if I don't write this now, then I never will, because I don't know when I'll read Hemingway again. Despite that ominous note, though, I did enjoy FWTBT...with MANY hedges and reservations.

1) Most people claim (and this is backed up on the back of my copy) that Hemingway wrote "short, declarative sentences and was known for his tough, terse, prose." And I ask, have any of these people read much Hemingway? This is like claiming that Don Delillo writes sentences like "She had important hair."...more
Jay
Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls is not a reliable view of the Spaniards during the decade of the 1930s or of their 1936-39 Civil War. From both of those perspectives, the novel has its difficulties.

In Spain of the post-Franco years, and especially since the opening of the archives of the old Soviet Union, the debate about the role of the Communist in the Republic both before and after Franco’s rebellion has increased with renewed intensity. It has long been clear that the war was not a simpl...more
Kevin Xu
This book was long and boring that did not go anywhere,. The reason for me was that it was too slow, epsically the fact that the whole book is centered around one event that in most books would have taken at most 1/4 of the book to get done. The interaction of the characters was always the same, the past lifes of the character did not matter to me for the main hcaracter to make his decision.

But on the other hand, it had a great impact on one person, James Oliver Rigney Jr. He was so impacted on...more
Roger W.
In two minds am I about this book.

For one, it was masterfully written and as I know is often cited as Hemingway's best novel. There were many flashbacks of various characters which were compelling glimpses into their pasts; Mr. Hemingway occasionally took us into the mind of the American protagonist, and the flow of his thoughts was perfectly captured, snippets of this and that jockeying for attention. The language too was unique. No Spanish speaker I, but it was clear to me that from the get g...more
Leonard
Ernest Hemingway's FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS is not only a war novel but also a story of life, love, lost and ultimately death. Robert Jordan lives to fight with the republican guerrillas and he dies fighting alongside them. He lived a life that meant more to him than living in American suburbia with his wife and two children and a dog, working a nine-to-five job. That wouldn't be Robert Jordan, or Ernest Hemingway.

description
Sierra Guadarrama

Hemingway's minimalist writing reflects the pristine snow trails...more
Arun Divakar
'qué puta es la guerra' Agustin said. 'War is a bitchery'

And that was to me one of the finest sentences in the novel. In a book full of memorable passages and dialog, this stood out for having captured the entire essence of what the story talks about. This is not an apology for war but rather a vivid description of what war does to men and women. A story of roughness : in living, in loving, in thinking and ultimately in dying. That was to me For whom the bell tolls.

It frustrated and fascinated...more
Noor
لمن تقرع الاجراس ... قصة جميلة تقع في اسبانيا أيام الحرب الاهلية الاسبانية بين الجمهوريين و حلفائهم من الشيوعيين و القوميين اليساريين و الفوضويين و التروتسكيين من الثوار الاسبان و الاجانب و لا سيما الروس و الامريكان الجمهوريين مقابل الفاشيين و حلفائهم ذو الطبيعة البرجوازية و الاميل الى التديين ...

بطل هذه القصة كما في قصته السابقة وداع للسلاح هو متطوع امريكي جمهوري يقاتل الى جانب الجمهوريين و ينضم الى احدى العصابات الثورية المقاتلة في الجبال بغية تنفيذ عملية نسف جسر و مركزين للفاشية ....

الزمن ال...more
Cheryl
One of the things I liked about this book was Hemingway's terse prose, his curt descriptions of death, some of the storytelling that took place during the narrative (i.e. when Pablo's woman tells Jordan about one of their horrific missions) and the plainspoken manner in which loss and love is mentioned.

I found it amazing, for instance, how an author could take something as simple as a drink, and give you a lot of backstory with it.

"Robert Jordan pushed the cup toward him. It was a milky yellow...more
Jr Bacdayan
What Some Men think:

For Whom de Bell Tolls is whack. Imma preach ye bitches the word. I been chillin wid me crew di last foe monts in me malls foodcowt. I haz di gang wars wid de southside massive and we be on it rappin and breaking it down in de mall. Sometime de secyurety gards wud chase as down de ailes. I’m like u wot m8? Ill wreck ur nan. He be like bloody gangstahs I’ll wank yer nan. I think dat de wars me and me crew haz is layk de war in dis book. I tot dat de art of war is layk cool b...more
David Wallace Fleming
So, I finished For Whom the Bell Tolls a couple weeks back and I only gave it three stars.

I feel somewhat guilty about that. My experience of the book has me feeling conflicted. I wouldn't say this is the best book for someone new to Hemingway.

The book took me approximately 4, count 'em, 4 years to finish. (I don't like to give up on books, especially books that are supposed to be Hemingway's masterpiece). I don't think this is Hemingway's masterpiece. That title should probably go to The Sun a...more
Alex
You always know when you're watching a Tarantino movie because no matter where and when it's set, the characters always talk like they're in a Tarantino movie. Same with Hemingway: his writing tics are so distinctive that it's not only easy to tell you're reading Hemingway, it's equally easy to tell when you're reading someone who's read too much Hemingway themselves. His voice is one of the most distinctive in literature. It's sometimes distractingly purple, but it's certainly its own thing.

He...more
Matt
I tried to like this book, I really did, but unfortunately I failed.

Neither the story, nor the characters, nor the language worked for me.

I didn't like the main story, which was boring to me in great parts. The back-story of Robert Jordan seems uninspired and incomplete. I learned more from Picasso's painting Guernica than from this book about the Spanish civil war.

I didn't like the characters, maybe with the exception of Pilar, who was a bit more interesting. Robert Jordan and Maria, the main...more
Brian
I’m not yet sure how I feel about Hemingway. It’s soaking into my brain and heart right now. I can see why some people may not like this book, or Hemingway in general. There is great pleasure in reading him but it comes in the moment. A lot of modern stories are based on excitement about what will happen later, that little carrot we chase down the track to the end. However, the pleasure in this book is from reading each sentence, each word, and enjoying the moment as you walk through the conver...more
Lynn Beyrouthy
500 pages to blow a freakin' bridge, thank god it finally ended.

My first Hemingway. I was looking forward to discover his Iceberg Theory in practice and I thought that choosing a novel of his which encompasses one of the major historical events of the last century would just be the best choice for me. I was wrong. I did not like this book.

In terms of historical information, this book doesn't provide you with much material (since Hemingway was reporting the civil war in Spain), instead it focuses...more
Elyse
Whew! I'm done! It took me 'forever' to get through this book (tons of notes & quotes --for my local book club discussion to boot). Homework is over!

Basically --I didn't enjoy this book.

--The development of the characters was SLOW.
--It seemed take the longest time to BLOW up a bridge. (much more editing was needed during this repetitive section of the story).

--Pilar was an interesting character --but WHY did care if Maria slept with Robert Jordon or not? Why did she practically throw Maria...more
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Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economical and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short story collec...more
More about Ernest Hemingway...
The Old Man and the Sea The Sun Also Rises A Farewell to Arms A Moveable Feast The Complete Short Stories

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“There's no one thing that's true. It's all true.” 968 likes
“There is nothing else than now. There is neither yesterday, certainly, nor is there any tomorrow. How old must you be before you know that? There is only now, and if now is only two days, then two days is your life and everything in it will be in proportion. This is how you live a life in two days. And if you stop complaining and asking for what you never will get, you will have a good life. A good life is not measured by any biblical span.” 261 likes
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