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.
"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)
I've tried two of his audiobooks now and could not get through either one. I'm not exactly sure why his writing style disagrees with me so badly, but it does. Maybe it is the fact that he feels the need to have show his character's first and last name each time the address each other....
Having not done any Hemmingway since I had to in
High School (40 years ago), this was a incredible experience. The 16 hours flew by. Great presentation.
I've listened to this audiobook literally 50 times since I first bought it. The story, itself, is already amazing but they did a superb job on the audio. This book will show you what its like to be a real man instead of someone with a faux hawk who walks around a mall text-messaging and trying to hook up with cougar moms all day. Every boy should be forced to read this at age 21 and when he's done, should be punched in the face.
Hemingway has a way with turning a typically feminine way of introspective storytelling into a novel brimming with testosterone. Unlike modern adventure writers like Jack Higgins and Tom Clancy, Hemingway creates a real world both physically and emotionally. Similar events occur-- guns, murder, sex, bombs, heroism, treachery-- but here I feel like I lived it, whereas with others I feel like I watched a movie. And, as I have found is so critical with audio, the interpretive reading is very good.
Other reviewers' complaints that the foul language has been censored is incorrect. Hemingway wrote it as it is read here. Unprintables, and foulnesses, and obscenities in the milk of, are all Hemingway.
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Truly an outstanding performance. I enjoyed this book far more than Farewell to Arms. Frankly I don't understand why we didn't read this instead in high school.
Solid Hemingway book. Sorry that publishers allowed author's words to be censored. Kind of silly in today's world of Netflix and the Internet.
Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
It must be more than thirty years since I first read this title, but it has lost none of its impact, its relevance or importance. I recall that after I first read it I went on a Hemingway bender, reading one title after the other until I made myself sick of his work! I feel like doing the same thing again (reading more Hemingway), but a bit older I think I will exercise some temperance and enjoy what I have just drunk in. I don't think the futility of war that comes through the words can ever be truly lost no matter whether your view is that this is an uplifting book (which I subscribe to) or it is a depressing one.
As for Cameron Scott's performance, I thought it good. He captured the futility and the tension. The characterisation was ok, too. I would have liked the up-beat passages to lift a bit more (like his cinematic performance as "Tunner" in "The Sheltering Sky", perhaps), but overall he was more than just serviceable. Afterall, it is so hard to read a classic such that the voice that you hear from the narrator is the voice that was already in your head. Certainly, this reading did not offend my preconceived view of any of the characters.
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!
Yes. It is excellent fiction that carries a moral message.about how terrible war is.
Pilar- She had to be strong and wise for everyone.
The end-when Roberto is telling Maria why she has to go on.
It made me teary in one or two places.
It is a candidate for " The Great American Novel " of the 20th century.
"For whom the bell tolls"
I decided to try this one as I wanted to experience some of the classics that have passed me by. All I can is 'its a masterpiece' what have I been missing! I'm going through all his work now-can't get enough he's a genius. So believable, so much detail without ever being boring, so tender yet describes man's inhumanity to man so graphically yet without a hint of gratuitousness. Buy it you'l love it. The narrator is absolutely suburb and reads the work as if he has read it a thousand times and knows it intimately and thoroughly loves it, which gives the whole experience a ***** rating.
"It Tolls For Thee"
This is a masterpiece. So human, so true.
There is no more to say.
"Read this One."
My wife happened to buy this book the same day that I downloaded it. So I have made my way through by reading it and listening to it, (though never at the same time!). To be honest the narration of this book is extremely flat. In conversation between the lead character and his love interest for instance, the narration becomes irritating in the extreme, leading the listener to wish they would just shut up and go to sleep. This does not happen when reading the book, which is a much more enjoyable experience altogether.
"Brilliant account of Spanish Civil War"
Just finished listening to the unabridged version of 'For whom the bell tolls'. Enjoyed the book thoroughly. Great study of the American dynamiter based in camp with the Spanish rebels. A number of the characters catch the imagination - in particular Pablo. He's not an attractive character - not trustworthy, not a team player, a drunk - and yet he plays a key role in the unfolding events. He clearly resents the presence of the young American - and yet he has a begrudging respect for some of his skills and thought processes. For much of the book it resembles a play rather than a novel - as we follow the unfolding interactions between the players based in the cave in the mountains. However eventually we move to some marvellous action scenes - as the cavalry arrive, as rebels are cut down and, finally, the taking of the bridge.
The book is a wonderful war story - and tackles head on the conflicts, the challenges to individuals and groups, the brutality and the heroism. And Hemingway brilliantly intertwines the romance between the Spanish girl and the American hero. And thrown in through the book a great account of bullfighting, failed matadors and anti heroes.
"A CLASSIC BUT NOT FOR EVERYONE."
Having never read any Hemingway before I decided it was time to be educated. For me this is by far the best way to tackle For Whom The Bell tolls because I really don't think that I would have had the staying power or necessary imagination to power through the book, however, Campbell Scott's narration brings it to life wonderfully. For other Hemingway novices though I have to add that this by no means an 'easy listen' and if you want fast moving action I wouldn't chose this (are all of Hemingway's books like this?). The layers of human relationships, action and history are built up so painfully slowly that I needed perseverance to keep going and the language is old fashioned and peculiar sounding, obviously reflecting the times and Spanish translation. Before long though I was hooked, not so my teenage son who was listening; after a 5 minute argument was narrated in minute detail he lost interest and he couldn't believe that they were still just talking about blowing the bridge up even though I'd been listening for hours.
"Simply a classic"
A truly powerful novel, enhanced by the author's use of an almost biblical style in translating Spanish dialogue to English. Beautifully written, and I defy the reader not to cry at the end.
The narration was first class, and totally suited the characters and setting for the novel
Robert of course
Couldn't wait to put it on in the car
I'm struggling to get through this book.
It's not terrible, but I can't really warm to it in the same way I did with The Old Man And The Sea. I think it is partly because the narrator of latter was absolutely incredible, and the narrator of this one is just fairly good.
"good reading but he needs mis pronounces shone"
the guy says shone weirdly. apart from that it's a great story and a decent performance. Ivanhoe is up next. wish me luck
A thoroughly philosophical book with a great story narrated well. Hemingway is masterful in conveying detailed accounts of life outdoors in wartime.
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