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For Whom the Bell Tolls | [Ernest Hemingway]

For Whom the Bell Tolls

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.
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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

4.2 (1413 )
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  •  
    01-12-09
    01-12-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Mountains of Spain"

    I have long been a Hemingway fan but have not been through all his writings. If you have any doubt that Hemingway was a literary giant you need only listen to this title. Between listens I would find myself thinking about the characters. The thread of their lives, and their very souls, were exposed brilliantly. I finished the listen days ago and still find myself thinking about it. I feel like I was there, with them, in the mountains, dedicated to the cause. In a sense, I'm still there, heart pressed to the pine needles on the forest floor along side Robert Jordan. In this book, at least, Hemingway was that good. Give it a try; I think you'll like this one.

    23 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Miami, FL, USA 08-06-06
    Joe Miami, FL, USA 08-06-06
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    "Superb!"

    "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.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gordon Kenmore, WA, USA 09-09-07
    Gordon Kenmore, WA, USA 09-09-07 Member Since 2004
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    "Should have read this years ago"

    Wow .. what an astoundingly good book. I had no idea the writing would be so accessible, and at the same time so profound. It is truly a rare thing! I’m left cursing myself for not having read Hemingway years ago. Spend a few minutes refreshing the basics of the Spanish Civil War before jumping in .. then enjoy the ride. Look forward especially to the lengthy description of the smell of death ….it’s a master class in descriptive prose.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trent North Lambton, Australia 04-02-12
    Trent North Lambton, Australia 04-02-12
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    "Great audiobook but appalled it's been 'sanitised'"
    Where does For Whom the Bell Tolls rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the better books


    What did you like best about this story?

    Great writing, fascinating characters and a wonderful story


    What about Campbell Scott’s performance did you like?

    Very much likes Scott's narration. Understated with exactly the right tone for the story.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The story made me contemplative, rather than laugh or cry.


    Any additional comments?

    It seems an abomination that the language has been sanitised. I assume that was done to meet a certain rating, but it seems like a poor decision to say the least. It's 2012, and we're still butchering books?If you can get past that, a thoroughly recommended listen and one I will surely listen to again.

    24 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Maruska Fort Worth, Texas United States 11-03-08
    David Maruska Fort Worth, Texas United States 11-03-08 Member Since 2005
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    "Wow, what a story"

    I have read a number of reviews of this book and found them OK. This was one of the first books of this type that I have listened to. It turns out to my surprise, to be my favorite. I have listened may times now and I have a fairly long commute to and from work. I like the description of the people, era, story. I'm not a literary person to dissect the text. It's just a great story, Just let it unfold, it's worth the time... The narrator is great, he's not mundane or mono-tone, he does a great job on the characters.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GerryO denver 09-29-09
    GerryO denver 09-29-09 Member Since 2007

    book addict

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    "A great story read by a great voice."

    Mr. Scott's narration of this classic is about the best I have heard.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benedict San Francisco, US, Canada 12-12-06
    Benedict San Francisco, US, Canada 12-12-06 Member Since 2003
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    "It's a great book"

    I had not read Hemingway at all except for Old Man and the Sea.

    What I liked about For Whom the Bell Tolls is that it communicated intensely what life was like in the Spanish Civil War. Who needs a history book? You know it won't tell the tale. The remarkable thing about Hemingway is that he describes the whole war in the book. If you wanted numbers, dates and the politics of the war, one more book, or Wikipedia, would do that for you. Otherwise, this books tells the story of partisan warfare; it puts you right there. It tells about war, the soldiers on both sides.

    I am amazed at Hemingway's clarity of perception at the use of simple language to evoke scenes and character.

    I love the use of languge in this book! And the reader was terrific.

    Ben

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John W. Aldis Shepherdstown, WV 08-13-09
    John W. Aldis Shepherdstown, WV 08-13-09 Member Since 2009

    jwaldis

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Don't "Clean Up" Hemingway"

    Editing out the rough language from this book was annoying and unnecessary. I don't even undertand how it was legal!
    Selling me this edited audiobook without first telling me that somebody had "cleaned up" Hemingway's lively and realistic language was also unfair to me, your customer.

    99 of 112 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tammy Palmer, AK, United States 10-29-08
    Tammy Palmer, AK, United States 10-29-08
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    "My first Hemingway and I'm hooked!!"

    I've never read anything from Hemingway but this was fantastic. His discriptions are so specific you can hear the water running, see the snow falling and feel the warmth of the fire. You love or hate his characters because he does such a wonderful job of building their personalities. Can't wait to start my next book.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T.R. Illinois, USA 08-15-11
    T.R. Illinois, USA 08-15-11 Member Since 2009
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    "Wish they hadn't dubed out the swear words"

    The book is great and Hemingway's descriptions of the landscape and people make you feel as if you are there, but the dubbing over of the curse words was rediculous. It takes away from the force of what some of the characters are trying to express. Really not needed. Just note that it has explicit language. This is how censorship begins.

    24 of 27 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 82 results PREVIOUS129NEXT
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  • Martin
    Poulton-le-Fylde, United Kingdom
    10/17/10
    Overall
    "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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Sean
    Co. WexfordIreland
    2/3/07
    Overall
    "It Tolls For Thee"

    This is a masterpiece. So human, so true.

    There is no more to say.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Barry
    Dublin, Ireland
    2/14/12
    Overall
    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • joanne
    tarporley, United Kingdom
    9/8/11
    Overall
    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Robert
    Hampton, Middx, United Kingdom
    2/26/08
    Overall
    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • P. W. Burridge
    uk
    12/14/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Totally engrossing"
    Would you consider the audio edition of For Whom the Bell Tolls to be better than the print version?

    The narration was first class, and totally suited the characters and setting for the novel


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

    Robert of course


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Couldn't wait to put it on in the car


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Philip
    Ireland
    9/2/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    1 of 1 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
  • Showing: 1-10 of 14 results PREVIOUS12NEXT

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