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For Whom The Bell Tolls (Vintage War) Mass Market Paperback – 5 May 2005

4.1 out of 5 stars 206 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (5 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099481561
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099481560
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 3 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,114,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'The best book Hemingway has written' -- New York Times

Book Description

ONE OF TWELVE TITLES IN VINTAGE'S A FORMAT WAR PROMOTION'The best book Hemingway has written' New York Times

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
For Whom The Bell Tolls is a novel of incredible intensity and power. Although the prose is relatively simple (in typical Hemingway style), it belies a work of uncompromising power, which will stay in the mind long after the reader has reached it's electrifying conclusion. Here, Hemingway gives us a number of inter-woven ideas, each of which has been argued as being the central theme of the novel. On the one hand, we have a simple tale of the attempt by a group of partisans, over a four day period, to blow up a facist-held bridge. Wthin this, Hemingway also effectively develops a very moving love story between the central character, Robert Jordan, and Maria. The back-drop to all this is a thought provoking account of the brutality and tragedy of the Spanish Civil War. It is very much the combination of these three threads which make For Whom The Bell Tolls such a fine and captivating work. The characterisation is impressive throughout, and the reader cannot help but feel a gret sense of empathy and understanding for those caught up in this tale. As the novel surges to it's explosive finale, Hemingway succeeds in creating a number of very mixed emotions in the reader's mind. Indeed, these feelings are only intensified by the inevitable completion of the text. Hemingway may have had his critics, but this is a work that even his most ardent detractors cannot fail to be moved by. A relatively easy and certainly enjoyable introduction to the Hemingway style, this is a novel to be read, savoured, and returned to again and again. Be warned though, new readers might just find this to be the beginning of a lengthy and compulsive Heminway adventure. A true masterpiece.
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By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 May 2004
Format: Hardcover
Hemingway's magnificent novel has something for everyone: an action tale, an anti-war protest, a love story, subtle ironies, a magnificent short story within the novel, political criticism of communism and fascism, a philosophy of life, and beautiful descriptions of life that leave you gasping. You will learn a lot about yourself by considering which elements you notice most strongly. Reading For Whom the Bell Tolls is like holding up a mirror to your soul.
On the surface this is a book about 3 days and nights of war. But with the action packed into that time and extensive use of flashbacks, it becomes a tapestry of all humankind. After you start to notice the individual threads in the tapestry, be sure to step back and see the whole. For the remarkably balanced and connected artistry of the themes and directions in the story is what makes this book great.
If you are disturbed by descriptions of violence, brutality, and inhumanity, you will not enjoy this book.
Robert Jordan is an American who has joined the republican side of the Spanish civil war. In normal life, he teaches Spanish. Now, he is transformed into a demolitions expert who can blow up trains and bridges. With an offensive coming, he moves behind the fascist lines to join a guerilla group to blow a key bridge during an offensive that begins in 3 days. The rest of the story covers the action of preparing for and attacking the bridge. Along the way, you will become acquainted with the characters in the guerilla band as well as Jordan. Jordan will find himself moved in many ways to become more alive and fully connected than he has ever been before. He will experience the full range of human emotion and life within these 3 days.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I can say nothing new about the novel itself. It is a masterpiece, as thoroughly human as every one of its characters. It is a brilliant study of life and human emotions, and Hemingway's writing is exciting and astonishing if not a little intense at times.
However I must express most strongly how bad the quality of this edition is. It is laden with misspellings, and the binding is truly atrocious - my copy fell apart under very little stress. I urge you to buy hardback or the Arrow edition.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I found For Whom the Bell Tolls brilliant and moving but also incredibly frustrating. This book is undoubtedly a classic piece of literature, the writing is Hemingway at his best and there are excellent characters who at times I really cared about.

While I can totally understand why so many people give it five star reviews and I don't want to put anyone off from reading this, for me the book was ruined when it frequently replaced historical fact with Stalinist propaganda. As someone who has a keen interest in the Spanish civil war I was annoyed that every time the beautiful writing started to draw me back into the story it would lapse back into propaganda.

This book is a story about an American volunteer fighting fascism in Spain with a small band of guerrillas who he must persuade to undertake a dangerous mission. The problem is that the background events against which this story are set are riddled with inaccuracy and bias.

Hemingway really travelled to Spain during the civil war, at a time when the small Soviet backed Communist Party was seizing control of the republican government and persecuting the other factions. Many of the lies they fabricated at the time to justify their behaviour have made their way into this novel as though they really happened. For example the anarchist and syndicalist militias who formed the majority of the republican forces in the civil war are consistently portrayed as incompetent drunks harming the war effort in this novel.

While I appreciate that the majority of readers will probably not be as interested in the Spanish Civil War background so will not have this problem, for me once I realised how distorted a portrayal of Spain this was it ruined a lot of the book.
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