A Farewell to Arms

A Farewell to Arms

3.8 343
by Ernest Hemingway

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The best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Hemingway's frank portrayal of the love between Lieutenant Henry and Catherine Barkley, caught in the inexorable sweep of war, glows with an intensity unrivaled

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The best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Hemingway's frank portrayal of the love between Lieutenant Henry and Catherine Barkley, caught in the inexorable sweep of war, glows with an intensity unrivaled in modern literature, while his description of the German attack on Caporetto -- of lines of fired men marching in the rain, hungry, weary, and demoralized -- is one of the greatest moments in literary history. A story of love and pain, of loyalty and desertion, A Farewell to Arms, written when he was 30 years old, represents a new romanticism for Hemingway.

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Knopf Publishing Group
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Chapter One

In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. In the bed of the river there were pebbles and boulders, dry and white in the sun, and the water was clear and swiftly moving and blue in the channels. Troops went by the house and down the road and the dust they raised powdered the leaves of the trees. The trunks of the trees too were dusty and the leaves fell early that year and we saw the troops marching along the road and the dust rising and leaves, stirred by the breeze, falling and the soldiers marching and afterward the road bare and white except for the leaves.

The plain was rich with crops; there were many orchards of fruit trees and beyond the plain the mountains were brown and bare. There was fighting in the mountains and at night we could see the flashes from the artillery. In the dark it was like summer lightning, but the nights were cool and there was not the feeling of a storm coming.

Sometimes in the dark we heard the troops marching under the window and guns going past pulled by motor-tractors. There was much traffic at night and many mules on the roads with boxes of ammunition on each side of their pack-saddles and gray motor trucks that carried men, and other trucks with loads covered with canvas that moved slower in the traffic. There were big guns too that passed in the day drawn by tractors, the long barrels of the guns covered with green branches and green leafy branches and vines laid over the tractors. To the north we could look across a valley and see a forest of chestnut trees and behind it another mountain on this side of the river. There was fighting for that mountain too, but it was not successful, and in the fall when the rains came the leaves all fell from the chestnut trees and the branches were bare and the trunks black with rain. The vineyards were thin and bare-branched too and all the country wet and brown and dead with the autumn. There were mists over the river and clouds on the mountain and the trucks splashed mud on the road and the troops were muddy and wet in their capes; their rifles were wet and under their capes the two leather cartridge-boxes on the front of the belts, gray leather boxes heavy with the packs of clips of thin, long 6.5 mm. cartridges, bulged forward under the capes so that the men, passing on the road, marched as though they were six months gone with child.

There were small gray motor cars that passed going very fast; usually there was an officer on the seat with the driver and more officers in the back seat. They splashed more mud than the camions even and if one of the officers in the back was very small and sitting between two generals, he himself so small that you could not see his face but only the top of his cap and his narrow back, and if the car went especially fast it was probably the King. He lived in Udine and came out in this way nearly every day to see how things were going, and things went very badly.

At the start of the winter came the permanent rain and with the rain came the cholera. But it was checked and in the end only seven thousand died of it in the army.

Copyright © 1929 by Charles Scribner's Sons
Copyright renewed 1957 © by Ernest Hemmingway

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A Farewell to Arms 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 343 reviews.
dhaupt More than 1 year ago
First published in 1929 when Hemingway was 30 A Farewell to Arms is viewed through the eyes of an American serving in the Italian army during the WW1, his love of one woman and his eventual life on the run. We today are used to the prose like, flowing dialogue of contemporary authors, so I was at first un-prepared for Hemingway's staccato, and very pragmatic verse, he puts us on the front lines with the soldiers and shows us how life away from the front was spent. He tells us of medical procedures of the time, procedures that we view as expectant as an aspirin, but in his day were life saving and sometimes life taking techniques. He takes us on an unequaled journey from the Mountains to the small villages and finally to the cities of Italy and ends our voyage in a small village in Switzerland. He takes us behind enemy lines and in the trenches of allies and he does it with an amazing proficiency. His characters are unforgettable in their portrayals from his protagonist Frederic and his love interest Catherine to his comrades in arms. His love story is poignant and heartwarming and tragic and yet beautiful in it's telling. He was truly a masterful narrator. So come back to the classic tale of love found and love lost, of war and desertion and of human frailty. Come back and see why this tale has survived a number of reprints and almost a century in time. Come back and make Papa proud. Come back and read the one and only A Farewell to Arms.
Etienne More than 1 year ago
Hemingway's "A Farewell To Arms" is an absolute necessity in order to understand the time in which it takes place. The dichotomy between love and war is an idea explored in depth in the novel. The novel paints a picture of war as pointless, confused, and without victor. Though it lacks an uplifting ending to say the least, this piece of literature is one that deserves a permanent spot on your bookshelf.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In my opinion, 'A Farewell to Arms' is a book worth reading. One strong point about this book is the straight-forward, and realistic writing style. Hemingway wrote small, yet descriptive sentences that attract's the reader. Unlike, most other authors, who take a number of pagers to describe one simple thing. Hemingway keep's the reader's mind going. Though the overall writing content was execellent, there are small parts of the book that give it negatve reviews. The 'supposed' love between the main characters, in my own opinion felt dull, and not very realistic. The ending is a surprise for the reader. But dispute it being hated for having a depressing ending, it's very memorable and understandable. This book doesn't have a typical 'happy ending' because unlike most books it's realistic. 'A Farewell to Arms' is overall a wonderful book to read.
CosmoBDB More than 1 year ago
I had to read this for a college English course, otherwise I would have given it a pass. I'm not sure how or why Hemingway got to be known as the great literary genius of his generation.
emma-bear_ More than 1 year ago
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, was, according to my honors english teacher, supposed to be one of the "greatest books you'll read in high school". Honestly, I found this to be one of the worst. It just kept going on about how Catherine doesn't really love him and how this is all for sex. I understand that this was an important overall value to the book, but I didn't like reading every other page of a book that was suppposed to be about war, it having them having sex in a park, or having sex in a hospital bed. This book was very vulgar, with poor grammar (supposedly a technique known as polysyndeton, but I think Hemingway just liked acting like an illiterate), and was very disappointing to the reader looking for a book about WWI
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am an avid reader, and I read books from all sorts of genres. I've rarely come across a book I didn't like. Then this book came along. I detest everything about this book. Authors generally try to make their characters likeable and relateable. I despised every single character in this book. Except for the main character's friend. Who was in the first few chapters then dropped off the face of the Earth. Everyone else was either completely arrogant or so incompetent that I couldn't even bear to read about them. The plot was horrendous and drags on forever and the ending was the worst I have ever read. Save yourself the time and money, go out and buy a book that's actually worth it.
FlamingGrandmaChief More than 1 year ago
While A Farewell to Arms had many symbolic aspects, it contained far too many boring conversations and practically irrelevant details for me to truly enjoy reading it. Tenente would often begin thinking about the rain(which, in this novel, represents rebirth) which plays a large part in the story. However, just after his thinking escapade, he would begin telling details on the war, and how it was going for nearly every country, and this really bored me.I hardly think I really needed to know every time the Austrians fired their weapons. As for the conversations, they were hardly ever interesting. The dull, boring characters would bring up cities that you don't really care about, and then they would go off and intoxicate themselves. Alcohol was a symbol for dealing with pain of many kinds, but i dont admire any character who is a heavy drinker. And speaking of characters, Catherine was indubitably a bizarre woman. She would spit out random comments like "I feel like a whore" or "I want to BE you, darling". She creeped me out, to be honest. All characters except Rinaldi lacked spontaneity(most of the time) and iconic flair. The ending disappointed me because of the abruptness, however it was intriguing. If rain meant rebirth of this book, I would appreciate a drought.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When reading a book, I go into it with an open mind; I did this for A Farwell to Arms also. Most people who don't like this book complain about Hemingway's writing style--I had no problem with it, as his journalistic writing style was easy for me to read. My problem with the book was that the story wasn't very interesting. I did not want to keep reading it after I reached the end of a chapter or a book. The story has many holes in it and leaves too many questions unanswered and stones unturned. The ending is as annoying as saying that it was all a dream. Anyway, I still will read Hemingway; but I will not revisit this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway is wonderful story that really touches your soul and makes you think about life in the 1900's. This book takes place during World War I and tells the story of Lieutenant Frederic Henry, an American working as an ambulance driver for the Italian army, and his love for a British nurse, Catherine Barkley. I'm not going to say much about the story, however I will talk about some parts of the book that really make the reader think. There is a part in the book when it is raining outside and Catherine breaks down into tears because she is afraid and wont stop until Henry comforts her. Later in the book there are several instinces when rain keeps showing up. I think that in this book, rain symbolizes our greatest fears being realized. Throughout the book, whenever Henry was in a life or death situation the weather outside was always raining. The rain is an important part of the end of the book. That is just one example of the many ways that this book makes the reader think. Becuase this book makes us think about the story then it can be considered a classic novel. If a novel makes us think about the story then it can be considered a classic. If a book does not make the reader think then the book can't be remembered. A Farewell to Arms has a story that transcends through time and touches people throughout the world even today. I found myself tearing up a little bit at the end. A Farewell to Arms is a wonderful book that everyone should read, however I think that you have to be at least thirteen to read this book. This is a mature book that can only be understood if thought about. I thouroughlly enjoyed reading this book and I can't wait to read some of Ernest Hemingway's other great works.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read a lot of books in my day, and this was the worst one ever. I had absolutely no symptathy for any of the characters; I didn't care whether they lived or died, I just wanted it to end. I would give this zero stars if possible. So boring.
Anonymous 9 months ago
This book was horrible! Not because of the language and structure, but because of the intense build-up and ten the seriously anti-climactic and sad ending. Totally not satifying. If you dont have to, I wouldnt read this. I must say, besides the ending, it was funny and interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth_Anderson More than 1 year ago
Hemingway is a genius. His talent for dialogue and setting description emerges in this book with a twist ending. Although the character in Silver Linings Playbook finds the ending disturbing, I thought it was original and that it taught a lot about life. It is an enjoyable read from beginning to end where the character moves in and out of the clutches of war. I would recommend this product along with Sirens of Morning Light by Benjamin Anderson, a quest for a man in Iowa to regain his identity, which becomes entangled with people who claim to have known him when he discovers he is a scientific experiment. Make sure not to miss either book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway is one of the very many love stories written in the times of World War I. Love is certainly not a word I would use to describe Catherine and Fredric’s relationship. The beginning of the book is very slow and confusing. Throughout the book, Italian words and language were used which was frustrating because I did not understand what was being discussed. I do not like the way the story is written. It is terribly slow and does not have any action. Catherine seems to me to be completely insane. Within the few minutes of first meeting Fredric she begins hysterically crying which makes little to no sense to me. Fredric and her do not speak lovingly to each other. I chose the book as a love story, how I would assume most would, but the story shows little love and affection. The author completely ignores the fact that Catherine is pregnant for much of the story, which bothered me. Most think of a child as a gift, but the couple seems to dread having the child. The end of the story was terrible. It ended with a depressing note with no closing to the story; not a good way to end a book. I do not recommend this book if you are looking for a war book or a romance book. The story was very bland and hard to read. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a very active and mature reader. I will read classics, lesser-known stories, poetry, short stories, fiction, non-fiction, teen, romance, and basically anything else you can come up with. This book was a HUGE waste of my time. Not only is the plot flat and uninteresting, the characters are too! Hemingway has a very distinct "journalistic" style of writing. Sometimes it helps the story, sometimes it hurts it. It definitely hurt this story. Th dialogue between Henry and Catherine read like  IM messages from a middle school "crush" relationship, and provided very little clarification as to who was saying what. "Do you love me?""Yes""Do you really?""Yes""Are you sure""Yes""Alright""Do you love me""I'm not sure""Really?""No". That is almost identical to a passage in the story. There is hardly any "she said" "He responded" after quotes, and the material is dry and un-though provoking. The ending though is what KILLED this story for me. It is possible that this could be the worst ending I have ever read. I am a fan of unconventional or "bad/sad" endings, but this ending conveyed almost nothing. The circumstances were awful, but they were written with the highest level of apathy and unfeeling. Saying the whole story was "just a dream" would have been more interesting and emotional that the ending that actually occurred. If you have to read this for school. good luck trucking through it. If not, I would shy away from reading this unless you just need something to pass time of bore yourself with. Henry is boring, Catherine is crazy, their dialogue is flat and meaningless, and the ending is apathetic. Hemingway, how could you?!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Jazzlover More than 1 year ago
Hemingway's spare verbiage and highly descriptive style are unmatched in American literature.  This is one of his best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't believe how this book with its very simple plot could possibly appeal to anyone.Plus, it is so repetitive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
XiuNi More than 1 year ago
Interesting. This book makes you think. I thought this book was confusing at some points and a little hard to read. Despite all that, I think that it was a very good book. This novel is the only book by Hemingway I've read, but I liked it and I wish to read more. The book is about a Lieutenant named Frederic Henry serving in the Italian army during World War 1. He eventually meets a girl named Catherine. They fall in love and he eventually leaves the army to be with her. What I liked about this book is that it shows an interesting perspective on war. I think that the main message that Hemmingway is trying to convey is how much was affects people and how hard it really is and the true consequences. It got so hard that the character finally just left. I saw that whenever Frederic was in a depressing situation or something like that, it was raining. I thought that that was an interesting symbol. It helps to set the mood and it lets the reader know that when it rains, something bad will probably happen. I found Catherine to be sort of a needy character who does her best to please anyone but herself. She needed to feel like she was needed or wanted and always did stuff for Frederic first, even though he didn't exactly care for her in the beginning of the book. But, he eventually falls in love with her and they eventually leave together. I think that this was a good book. The beginning isn't necessarily captivating or anything, but the book is worth reading if you like war stories and love stories with twists. You really have to think to understand some of teh themes and stuff. Overall, Id say that this book deserves it's title as a classic and I would read it again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago