Customer Reviews for

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Average Rating 4
( 151 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Ernest Hemingway once said that he wrote in the 'iceberg' style: one-seventh shows for everything that's underneath. Absolutely no one else (obviously) could have said it better. FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS is an amazing-heart-stopping-wow-million-other-wonderful-adjectiv...
Ernest Hemingway once said that he wrote in the 'iceberg' style: one-seventh shows for everything that's underneath. Absolutely no one else (obviously) could have said it better. FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS is an amazing-heart-stopping-wow-million-other-wonderful-adjectives book, because there is so much more underlying than is possibly imaginable. In my opinion, Ernest Hemingway is the best author of the 20th century, and this novel showcases his ability to grip your soul with brutally short, simple sentences like no other. The love story seems shallow at first and the protagonist, Robert Jordan, a little unbelievable, but all of the sudden you're drawn into that era and the feeling of hopelessness and the idea of being lost, and it's not shallow anymore. It's tragically beautiful. A must read. For anyone. Everyone. Perhaps the most gorgeous writing does not have to do with the protagonist at all. In one scene, a general watches his huge military plan being foiled even as it is put into action. This is a quote from that part of the book: 'But the planes, now coming deafeningly, were how it could have been and Golz, watching them, looking up, said into the telephone, 'No. Nothing has to make. Nothing. Is not necessary to think. Is necessary to accept.' 'Golz watched the planes with his hard proud eyes that knew how things could be and how they would be instead and said, proud of how they could be, believing in how they could be, even if they never were, 'Good. We will make our small possible,' and hung up. Maybe this is the time. Go on. Come on. Go on.' Sums it up.

posted by Anonymous on September 24, 2007

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Most Helpful Critical Review

8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Terrible edition

I did not realize that this edition on the nook is censored. Every swear word is replaced with "obscenity," which is obviously very distracting. Read the book, just not this particular edition.

posted by 8833670 on February 3, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2007

    A War Story

    A young American explosive expert during Spanish Civil War has been assigned to blow up a bridge. He falls in love with a woman behind the enemy lines. This thought provoking and sentimental plot is complimented by Hemingway's unusual way with thoughts and words. Trish New, author of The Thrill of Hope, South State Street Journal, and Memory Flatlined.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2005

    A few days with partisans in the Spanish Civil War

    According to the book's jacket, 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' is Hemingway's finest novel. I disagree. While the book does a fine job of describing the life of a partisan, its 490 pages only cover a few days' time. So, don't expect a lot of fast-moving action. This novel is basically a character study of the different persons in American volunteer Robert Jordan's hosting partisan band. Therefore, if you enjoy character studies then you will indeed enjoy this book. The plot is that Jordan is sent to blow up a bridge in the Spanish hinterland. He is to contact a local partisan band and secure their assistance in helping him destroy the bridge. Once he arrives at the band's secret refuge internal power struggles immediately begin as Jordan's mission will endanger the survival of all the band's members. In addition, there is the inevitable romantic subplot between Jordan and the mysterious Maria. Utilizing the flashback as a vehicle, Hemingway defines each actor's traumatic personal history, his/her decisions, and his character. Jordan the idealistic young American university professor becomes the daring, charismatic, and ideologically indifferent demolitions expert. Pablo the angry peasant becomes the murderous, avaricious guerilla leader. Pilar the ugly yet happy wife of a diminutive bullfighter is widowed and becomes the overbearing, honorable wife of Pablo. Maria the fragile, innocent virgin becomes the emotionally-scarred, vulnerable lover of Jordan. Anselmo the venerable old peasant becomes the determined, brave guerilla fighter. And so it goes with many of the other book's characters. The book is a good character study and portrait of life as a Spanish partisan, but I found it to be much too slow moving for my taste. This is decent novel, but it's not really a war novel. In my opinion, Farewell to Arms is a much better war novel and is Hemingways's best book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2004

    2 Authors???

    It seems like two different authors wrote this book. The first half of the book is extremely slow and borning, and appears as if a novice writer was the author. However, the second half suddenly draws you in and you feel that a seasoned author has taken over the pen. Of course, who knows why Hemingway wrote it in this fashion. He just seemed to pull it all together in the second half of the book. This was the first of Hemingway's books that I've read, and I'm not sure that I want to chance reading more. Are they all like this?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2003

    A Classic?

    This book was too slow. Maybe I am just not a war book person...but it was a little too boring for my personal taste. Also, I thought the love affair between Robert and Maria was way to fast. It did have some good insight into the art of war, and the conscience behind killing other human beings.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2003

    Slow paced. Not very exciting

    This book is by no means a page-turner. It reads slow. Allthough I can appreciate Hemingway's attempt to capture the relationships of the characters as they plot to carry out an attack on a bridge, I wish the entire book wasn't focused on this. Only the last few chapters were interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2002

    A bit disappointing

    from such a great author I would expect more! 500 pages to cover 3 days is a bit extreme. The love story is unfortunately, pathetically American and 20th century. The last 80 pages is to late to become exciting. The beginning was so slow and boring that by the time I reached the good part i had lost interest. I'm being generous with a three star rating, because it actually was disappointing.

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