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For Whom the Bell Tolls

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  232,176 ratings  ·  5,703 reviews
Librarian's note: An alternate cover edition can be found here

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

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Paperback, 471 pages
Published July 1st 1995 by Charles Scribner's Sons (first published October 1940)
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Rick The book is written in English, but it implies a translation from Spanish. The reported events were in Spain, and dialog was in Spanish, and Hemingway…moreThe book is written in English, but it implies a translation from Spanish. The reported events were in Spain, and dialog was in Spanish, and Hemingway often reminds us of this by using untranslated Spanish. My understanding is that in Spanish, there are formal and informal ways to refer to others, and Hemingway used "Thou" as a translation of a formal Spanish "you". I don't know Spanish though, so I just accepted this as I read the book. (I got this from Wikipedia as I started to read the book)(less)
Micaela That depends on the maturity of the reader, of course. Given that there is war-related violence described explicitly, including rape, I would venture…moreThat depends on the maturity of the reader, of course. Given that there is war-related violence described explicitly, including rape, I would venture to suggest that it might not be appropriate for readers under the age of 14. And that would be for pretty mature young readers. In general, for classroom use, as a teacher, I would suggest Advanced 12th grade and up.(less)

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Tom
Jun 27, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Barry Pierce
'Robert Jordan sits on the pine needle floor of the pine forest, the scent of pine drifting through the pine trees which surround him. Gazing through the pines he sees a mountain which reminds him of a breast. It is domed, like a breast, but without a nipple, unlike a breast. The breastness of the mountain is superb. If only it was covered in pine needles and pine trees and had the scent of pine wafting around it. Then Robert would truly be happy.'

For Whom the Bell Tolls is allegedly a novel by
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Jeffrey Keeten
”No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man 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


 photo robertcapa_zps0074a556.jpg
Robert Capa’s iconic 1936 photo of a falling soldier.

Between 1936-1939 a war happe
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stew
Feb 12, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
587. For Whom The Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway
For Whom the Bell Tolls is a novel by Ernest Hemingway published in 1940. It tells the story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to a republican guerrilla unit during the Spanish Civil War. As a dynamiter, he is assigned to blow up a bridge during an attack on the city of Segovia. The novel is regarded as one of Hemingway's best works, along with The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and the Sea, and A Farewell to Arms
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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
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Lisa
Not my favourite Hemingway, a little bit too slow.

But the topic of the Spanish Civil War makes it a good read, and the John Donne poem that gave the novel its title should be yelled, shouted, sung, recited, hummed and whispered by heart over and over again, especially in these times of outlandishly islandish people destroying the world again:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less,
...more
Mutasim Billah
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war, spain, classics
“If we win here we will win everywhere. The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.”

Set in the middle of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), For Whom the Bell Tolls tells the tale of one Robert Jordan, an American who is given an assignment to work with a republican guerrilla unit to blow up a bridge during an attack on the city of Segovia.

The story explores various wartime sentiments such as thoughts of mortality, the possibility of suicide to escape to
...more
Loretta
Suffice it to say, I am not a Hemingway fan.
Madeline
Jul 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-list
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
Natalie Vellacott
Sep 20, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Oh dear, I fear this review will be lambasted and that people will note that this is the second time I have dismissed a "classic" this week. In my defence, I did enjoy Orwell's Animal Farm.

I really wanted to like this and persevered to past the half way point. But when I got to the stage where I was dreading picking up the book as I was finding it so monotonous, I decided enough was enough--it was going back to the library from whence it came.

The lengthy novel tells the story of Robert Jordan,
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Chris Van Dyke
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
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
Fionnuala
May 19, 2012 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed in May 2012

The last Hemingway I read was A Moveable Feast and I enjoyed it a lot. It helped that I was staying in Paris when I read it so there was that extra special feeling we get when we walk the very streets an author describes in his stories. I think it suited Hemingway to write stories, and perhaps short novels - I also remember enjoying The Old Man and the Sea and images from that book stayed with me for years.
In spite of those good experiences, I couldn't relate to this book. I
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Scott
Nov 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The writer was a bearded bulk of a man. His carousing had earned him a reputation. He drank hard and worked harder, penning stories filled with drinkers, bullfighters, soldiers and simple words.

He sometimes wrote in short sentences. Sometimes quite short. Sometimes very. Sometimes.

His style was distinctive. It was often parodied. Sometimes in book reviews.

He shot elephants for sport. He murdered lions. He fished Marlins. He watched Andalusian bulls die slow deaths while Spaniards danced around
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Matt
Nov 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-novels
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
Luís C.
Ernest Hemingway, with the novel For Whom The Bell Tolls makes an argument in favor of freedom. He wrote the novel in 1939 and kept alive the memories of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War.
The main character, and central point of the whole action, is an American volunteer named Robert Jordan. He's been entrusted to blow up a bridge to stop the advance of the national reinforcement troops against a republican attack.
His guide, Anselmo, establishes the contact between him and a group of peop
...more
Cynthia Peña
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
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Blair
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-classic
The Spanish are very emotional, passionate people. Hemingway wanted English readers to feel the passion of their language so he employed a few stylistic devices in his prose to convey that emotion. Hence, alot of 'thee and thou' and alot of implied literal translations. It's a sore point with many critics, but I thought it worked very well. It comes off sounding a bit Shakespearean in tone, which is suitable, I think, considering 'For Whom The Bell Tolls' is a tragic story of war and its collate ...more
Thomas
A little better than Hemingway's other books, but that does not say much. For Whom the Bell Tolls has all the Hemingway staples: an obsession with war and violence, an over-idealization of romantic love, and lackluster writing. But he does improve in some areas from his past books. He includes Pilar, a complex and empowered woman whose strength sets her apart from Hemingway's more meek, modest female characters. Hemingway also makes Robert Jordan, our protagonist, a little more thoughtful, as he ...more
Geoff
Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Chaunceton Bird
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Monumental, heavy, and beautifully written. But the longest three days ever.
Michael Finocchiaro
Acclaimed as one of Hemmingway's greatest novels, and indeed worthy of this distinction, For Whom the Bell Tolls is the story of an idealist during the Spanish Civil War - which was a bloody and treacherous prelude to WWII. Hemmingway was one of many artists that opposed Franco's repression of the Catalan Republic which was founded on Anarchist principles and crushed mercilessly by the right wing Falangists with full support of Hitler (while promised support for the Catalonians from Britain and ...more
RandomAnthony
Aug 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Chris Messner
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While I was traveling in Cuba and doing research for my book, one of the many places I visited was Hemingway's home. In Hemingway's home, where everything still sits as he left it, I learned of Hemingway's surprising influence upon Fidel Castro.

In Hemingway's library, there was a framed 8" x 10" black and white picture of a man. At first, I had no idea who this person was. I later learned that this gentleman was Charles Sweeney, a close friend of Hemingway. Sweeney was a career military man and
...more
☙ percy ❧
i might attempt to pick this up again some day but at the moment it's marked as dnf. it was just so dull and lacklustre i couldn't make it past the first 100 pages
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
Two young lovers find each other in the midst of war - and fight an inner battle between duty and happiness. The bell tolls for us all at some point, but do we hear it in time to awake to an authentic life before it is silent?
Samir Rawas Sarayji
Hemingway combines his unique style of dialogue to propel this novel forward, with fast bursts of narrative (sometimes bordering on stream of consciousness) to show us a characters innermost thoughts and feelings. He also has an omniscient narrator, which considering the novels theme and number of characters, makes sense; yet the novel is following Robert Jordan almost 80% of the time, so that shifts on the character in focus really stick out. At first this jarred me, but once I got used to it, ...more
Lorna
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway is a classic novel that Hemingway published several years after he covered the civil war in Spain in 1937 as a newspaper correspondent. The book is dedicated to Martha Gelhorn, who was also covering the civil unrest in Spain as a freelance newspaper correspondent at that time. This is the wonderful story of an American, Robert Jordan, who as part of the International Brigades, is attached to a Loyalist band of guerillas fighting Fascism in the mountai ...more
Jay
Oct 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hemingway, favorites
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 Communists in the Second Republic both before and during Franco’s rebellion has increased with renewed intensity. It has long been clear that the war was not a simple black-and-white conflict between a freely elected liberal democratic State (the Republic), on one side, and an insurgent authoritarian Fascism, on the other.

The historian Stanley Payne has ar
...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
“There's no one thing that's true. It's all true.” 1110 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.” 479 likes
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