"For Whom the Bell Tolls," is arguably, one of the best novels of American 20th Century literature. Personally, I like Hemingways "Old Man and the Sea," perhaps a little bit better, but "For Whom the Bell Tolls" is certainly a richer, broader and more in-depth story. Hemingway, of course, is up there with the great luminaries of American literature. Today, there is simply no American writer alive who comes close to him or his contemporaries. The auditory rendition of this novel is quite good and clear. A very minor point, but not enough to really detract, is that at a few points the timing on the spoken narration is slightly out of synch as the characters change. But, it's really quite minor. As for listening to this novel, it is just a superb experience. It is so nice to hear the English language used the way Hemingway does, he is like a Zen master of the English language. In-depth, detailed characters are developed but with such expertise that the character never seems to be over-shadowed by the role. Hemingway is also a rare writer who knows how to speak to men, he understands what drives them and no matter how complicated the character, the inevitable faults and humanity still shine thru. So, if you want to take a break from Podcasts, Global Warming, Spy Novels and Political Thrillers, here is your perfect chance. You will not regret it.
I found this work to be exceptional in its details and conclusions. Very few authors have the guts to analyze and question the historical underpinnings and the dangerous trends that a combination of religious fundamentalism, ballooning national debt and militarism consist of. Alas, no doubt this work requires some real intellectual analysis. It's not a work of platitutdes and simple conclusions which are a dime a dozen in todays bookstores. This book is a wake up call to us all. I recommend it as a "must hear."
The author raises a few points that could be valid but he seems a little bit one-dimensional to me in his presentation. Muslims come to be portrayed, almost exclusively, as radicals who must have alterior motives. Therefore, we all better be alert or the bogeyman (aka Muslims) will be coming for us. Or, so I would presume this is where the author is going. At its best, this book gives some interesting historical and current affairs data. But, I am afraid, it degenerates too much into a right wing rant as we obviously all are not just alert enough to what the "Muslims" have in store for us! Nonetheless, if you are interested in politics and these kinds of issues, as I am, go ahead and buy the book. I didn't agree with the author but nonetheless was able to get a sense of how the right positions itself on this matter.
Tracy Kidder's book is outstanding. His portrayal of Dr. Paul Farmer transcends any stereotyped notion of a "do good" doctor. Farmer is always human with foibles and faults, as he heals the poor and destitute. Perhaps this book attempts to cover too much ground, Farmer's marriage is not much covered, however, any imperfections fade away in light of the books compassionate message - just as any imperfections of Dr. Farmer's fade away when viewed through the prism of his great love and service to humanity.
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