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For Whom the Bell Tolls Audiobook

For Whom the Bell Tolls

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Publisher's Summary

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 antifascist guerilla unit in the mountains of Spain, it tells of loyalty and courage, love and defeat, and the tragic death of an ideal. In his portrayal of Jordan's love for the beautiful Maria and his superb account of El Sordo's last stand, in his brilliant travesty of La Pasionaria and his unwillingness to believe in blind faith, Hemingway surpasses his achievement in The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms to create a work at once rare and beautiful, strong and brutal, compassionate, moving, and wise.

"If the function of a writer is to reveal reality," Maxwell Perkins wrote Hemingway after reading the manuscript, "no one ever so completely performed it." Greater in power, broader in scope, and more intensely emotional than any of the author's previous works, it stands as one of the best war novels of all time.

©1952 Ernest Hemingway; (P)2006 Simon & Schuster Inc. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"This is the best book Ernest Hemingway has written, the fullest, the deepest, the truest. It will, I think, be one of the major novels in American literature." (The New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    arye orona 07-27-14
    arye orona 07-27-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Incorrect charges of censorship."
    Any additional comments?

    Having read some of the previous reviews about censorship, and the editing out of curse words in this audio version, I felt that I should add a quick note on Hemingway's use of language in this novel. To give a sort of Spanish feel to the language, he writes a good portion of his dialogue a though it were directly translated from Spanish. So, "What passes with you?" can bear some getting used to. Also, he uses "thou" and "thy" at times in place of "you" to represent the moving between formal (usted) and informal (tu) Spanish. But, the big kicker (the one that seems to be making listeners upset) is the way he handles cursing. I believe that lines like, "I obscenity in the milk of thy tiredness," and "Where the un-nameable is this vileness I am to guard" are causing people to think that the audiobook has been censored in some way. It hasn't. Although, I'm not entirely clear on why Hemingway decided edit his English curse words in this way (strangely, the ones in Spanish are left intact), they are part of his original text; I checked my paper-bound version to be sure.
    So, I hope you don't let reviews warning of censorship (or my technical review here) scare you away from a truly wonderful, thought provoking novel. You should read one of the reviews discussing the horror of war, love in the face of death, excitement of battle, camaraderie of soldiers, and think about buying (or not) the audiobook in those terms.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vida T. Yancy 03-15-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Obsenity thee"

    What a good book with a great narrator. Why edit the curse words? It is a huge distraction and is not true to an "undabridged version"!

    31 of 36 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcia 09-10-12
    Marcia 09-10-12 Member Since 2015
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    "There's better out there."

    Perhaps a different narrator would have made a difference. I've enjoyed Campbell Scott's performances in the past. This time he sounds completely different, uninterested and in need of a cup of coffee. It's a short read in print or find a different narrator. Reading took away from the story so I can't give it more stars.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nothing really matters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 03-06-15
    Nothing really matters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 03-06-15 Member Since 2014

    Rob Thomas

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great story, great writing, really enjoyable."

    Everyone has a different concept of what makes great literature. For at least one friend of mine it has a lot to do with the use of literary devices and surprising twists. That's fine, but I think to be great literature, you have to start with a great story. Without a satisfying and sensible story, you've got nothing no matter how cleverly the story is constructed.

    Fortunately, For Whom the Bell Tolls is, in my books, great literature. It is a compelling war story and it is superbly told (and very well narrated as well).

    It is the story of an American who volunteers to fight in the Spanish Civil War against the fascists and with (are you sitting down, my American friends?) the communists. He is assigned a very difficult mission and faces serious challenges created by a key member of his team, among other causes. The story takes place over a couple of days, but there is a lot of drama and genuine-feeling emotion packed into those days. I don't want to spoil the story, so I'll stop there.

    If you want to read a great war story and enjoy some great writing, look no further! I really enjoyed it, as have generations before me have and as generations after me will. Don't miss out.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin Austin, TX 08-24-13
    Kevin Austin, TX 08-24-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Tedious"
    What would have made For Whom the Bell Tolls better?

    The induction of Brevity


    What could Ernest Hemingway have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    More editing


    Which scene was your favorite?

    those involving action


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    disappointment


    Any additional comments?

    Campbell Scott did a good job of narrating a bloated dialogue. I drive for a living and found that I missed whole passages to daydreaming because of the lack of action in this book. Internalized dialogue is quite frankly boring and this book is mostly that. I like Hemingway, one of my favorites is the Sun Also Rises, but I chose poorly in this instance.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary 04-06-12
    Gary 04-06-12 Member Since 2010

    I like to listen to audio books whilst mountain biking.

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    "A wonderful and stimulating experience"

    My second Hemingway in a month in a life that previously had ignored this great man. Lovely performance by Mr Scott. I guess that's in his genes.

    Because of this book I have been to Wikipedia so many times, from articles on the Spanish Civil War, to the page dedicated to Spanish profanity. When you listen, you 'll see why. This book is entertains and moves you, but also broadens you knowledge of world history. What more could you ask for? I thought about the famous Chapter 10 for days afterward.

    Now I am moving on to The Old Man and the Sea.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benjamin San Marcos, CA, USA 06-04-07
    Benjamin San Marcos, CA, USA 06-04-07
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    "Very satisfied"

    This was my first experience with an audio book, and I was impressed. Having never read this classic, I figured a long driving trip would be a perfect opportunity to try audible.com's offering. The reader amazed me with his ability to use foreign accents and different voice tones -- acting out the various characters. Without question, this was worth the money. I will surely buy other audio books in the near future.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George Wyoming 03-10-15
    George Wyoming 03-10-15

    Mountainbiker, Skier, Riverman, Dzedo

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pushing the Limits in 1940"

    I first read this book in high school in the late 60s. In re reading/listening recently, it came across as very musty and dated. It was published during WWII. EH pushed the limits of what was permissible in terms of writing about sexuality and the use of profanity. (He apparently could more freely write about war and violence.) There's a lot of sex, violence and profanity in the book and none of it seems gratuitous. But the contrivances that EH was forced to employ - these seemed artificial and diminished what is otherwise a very powerful read. FWBT is very strong but is also sappy and chauvinistic. I would recommend it as THE Hemingway book to read in order to glimpse why EH is at once considered one of our most accomplished writers but also one of our most ridiculed. It is not his best book but I know of no other book of his that so well reveals his unique strengths along with his weaknesses. A must read for anyone interested in EH, which is anyone interested in American literature. Finally, Campbell Scott is a very good narrator. Hope he does more audiobooks.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessie DALLAS, TX, United States 02-11-14
    Jessie DALLAS, TX, United States 02-11-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Dont listen to the silly reviews"
    What did you love best about For Whom the Bell Tolls?

    This book is NOT censored. It is an odd device Hemingway employs by substituting "obscenity" or "unprintable" for Spanish cuss words. Well narrated, great writing.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chrissie Brussels, Belgium 03-01-13
    Chrissie Brussels, Belgium 03-01-13 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Choose another Hemingway instead"

    Hemingway uses special "literary techniques" in "For whom the Bell Tolls" that rather than enhancing the reading experience detract from it. Please see the list below. The ending is totally soppy. You learn nothing about the Spanish Civil War, and a better explanation for why Robert Jordan decided to fight with the Republicans should have been given. The scenes depicting physical attraction were bland and insipid. Some dislike the macho behavior of Hemingway's characters, but this doesn't bother me. I see it as typical of the times, and Pilar is the best character of this novel. She is a strong, intelligent, no-nonsense woman! What remains undeniably true though is that Hemingway can draw a scene so you see, hear, smell and feel it in your pores. It is interesting to see what goes through a soldier's mind, but there is so much wrong with this book I cannot justify a better rating.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with Scott Campbell's narration, except that a few bomb blasts fell flat. Even a good narrator cannot save a bad book.

    May I suggest A Farewell to Arms instead?!


    ************************

    Through chapter 7:
    This is what is bugging me:
    1. The dialogs are NOT in the least believable. None of them.
    2. Swear words are replaced with "unprintable word" or "obscenity". This is ridiculous and disrupts the prose! "F*/k you" will be written, "obscenity you", for example. Crazy! Hemingway wrote the book this way; it has not been censored later.
    3. In the 30s people did not speak with the terms "thy", "thee", "thou art". This is driving me nuts. WHY has Hemingway done this?
    (Answer: In Spanish there are different forms of pronouns that show the relationship between the people talking. Since the characters were speaking in Spanish, Hemingway wished to provide this information even in English.)
    4. Robert Jordan is holier than "thou" (:0)), and it drives me crazy. SUCH a perfect soldier with SUCH motivation, and he is SO devoted to his job.
    5. To top it all off the love between Maria and Robert Jordan jumps out of nowhere. The same day they meet they are in bed, no, actually a sleeping bag, and then she says in one of those above mentioned dialogs that she doesn't know how to kiss. Jeez! (OK, if one is a little patient an explanation is given.)
    6. And what is this with calling Robert Jordan Robert Jordan?. Everyone else goes by one name, usually a nickname!
























    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
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  • Amazon Customer
    UK
    5/10/16
    Overall
    Story
    "Read this"

    A book of truth, of meaning, of life and death. If you read nothing else, read this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Helen
    2/23/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A book that must be read"

    A fabulous book with wonderful characters, all of whom I know so well despite being with them for only three days of there lives. Brilliantly written, brilliantly read- as good as it gets.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr S
    Dorking, United Kingdom
    9/28/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Certainly a classic but it was really slow paced."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I enjoyed the story but it is painfully slow in places with lots of overthinking and moralising. I understand that the action against the fascists needed to be explained as it was written prior to WWII. With hindsight this gave the book a lack of pace and you really wanted the book to get back to the matter in hand. The love scenes are excruciating - "I love you my little rabbit" says the hero of the book to his girlfriend on numerous occasions. The Spanish Civil War story was interesting and it certainly was exciting during the action sequences. There are a few references to flashbacks to bullfights and how "glorious" there were. A sentiment most people these days would disagree with.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Ernest Hemingway? Why or why not?

    Yes I will at some point. I've listened to "The Old Man and the Sea" which has a lot more pace and was interesting and exciting.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Campbell Scott?

    I found Campbell Scott's voice a bit one toned and monotonous. His character voices were all very similar but he could certainly pronounce the Spanish words very well.


    Was For Whom the Bell Tolls worth the listening time?

    Yes but in half the time.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bianca
    London, United Kingdom
    7/26/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "What a great classic!"
    Where does For Whom the Bell Tolls rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is a wonderful audiobook, the writing and the reading. A very good one to own.


    Any additional comments?

    It is such a subtle and intense book. You see how humans reach their worst and their best by faced with extreme situations like death, fear, hope when there doesn't seem to be anything left. I particularly liked the way Hemingway's writing resonates the original Spanish, localising the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Trilingual reader
    London, UK
    7/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "great expressive reading, good spanish"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    great story any day, no trouble to follow the plot, very suspenseful


    What did you like best about this story?

    The suspense


    Which character – as performed by Campbell Scott – was your favourite?

    Richard Jordan


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    his death


    Any additional comments?

    I am a linguist, as oppose to some other audiobooks, the Spanish was really good. I often cringe, here: not once.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Troy
    thrapston, United Kingdom
    5/28/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "GREAT BOOK"
    If you could sum up For Whom the Bell Tolls in three words, what would they be?

    GOOD-GREAT-FANTASTIC


    What other book might you compare For Whom the Bell Tolls to, and why?

    Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell. Same period, same conflict. Although this is Fictional, Orwells is factual.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    To be fair I stayed riveted all the way through.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    who clung together in the darkness.................BEFORE A THUNDERING DAWN !!


    Any additional comments?

    GREAT READ/LISTEN. TRULY ENJOYABLE.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gregory
    United Kingdom
    5/16/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Lumbers along."
    Would you try another book written by Ernest Hemingway or narrated by Campbell Scott?

    No.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Dead pan ending...sort of dead pan all the way through for me.


    What aspect of Campbell Scott’s performance might you have changed?

    would like to try Hemingway narrated by an Englishmen.


    Did For Whom the Bell Tolls inspire you to do anything?

    No.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Len
    Moss, Norway
    2/14/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Descriptive Masterpiece"
    What made the experience of listening to For Whom the Bell Tolls the most enjoyable?

    Almost being there


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The Old Man


    Have you listened to any of Campbell Scott’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    First I have listened to


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Illustrates well that Civil War is Never Civil


    Any additional comments?

    Read the Book, then see the film.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • christian
    POISSY, France
    10/2/12
    Overall
    "Strangely mesmerising"

    This is one of the classics everyone has heard of, but I had not read it. The audiobook is excellent, the narrator does a great job, and the story, though it evolves slowly by today's standards, is gripping, specially if you are interested in the Spanish Civil War. Apart from the hero and his band, bit player characters on the sidelines, based on real-life protagonists of the War, can be seen: Andre Marty, Karkhov alias Kolstov, etc... As the book progresses towards its conclusion, things become more tense, fraught with danger, and one comes to realize that Hemingway "invented" some of the writing techniques commonly used today in thrillers. I recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ian
    Burntisland, United Kingdom
    4/12/12
    Overall
    "Who is Thee?"

    The narration is a little dull, as is the story. There is something strangely captivating about it, despite all that and the characters have an almost unlimited depth to them, but it's not the most colourful book I've listened to...

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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