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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.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Detailed and beautiful

Cambell Scott does an exquisite job of bringing these chatacters alive. Salud Hemingway. Salud Scott!

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The Censorship Is Part of the Original Text

Best Hemingway book in my opinion. Great performance.

However, just gotta say:
Several reviewers decried this "sanitized" version of the book. Whenever characters curse in the story, certain words are replaced with "unprintable" or "obscenity." Such as "That we blow up an obscene bridge and then have to obscenely well obscenity ourselves off out of these mountains?" (quote from page 45 of my print edition).

Having owned multiple print versions of this text, I can assure you that this is the full, complete text as printed, not some version that was cleaned up for audible listeners. When this book was first published, I don't believe that American publishing companies allowed obscene language to be printed, and as far as I know, no author approved "uncut" version of this book exists, or at least I have never seen it.

As it is, I believe that the way Hemingway works these censored obscenities into the dialogue and narrative is actually quite clever, and that it adds a sort of meta layer to the story. Like Hemingway is purposely drawing attention to censorship or something. Remember that he was, after all, a modernist writer, and although he wrote perfectly enjoyable straightforward stories, he also was part of a literary movement that was often deliberately weird and self aware.

Anyways, get the dang book. It's great!

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really irritating accent, hard to focus on the sto

I couldn't finish it regretfully. irritating accent the narrator ia trying to put on. I'll try another narrator

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Good but long

For me the drawback of this book is only the length. Hemingway has beautiful, poignant writing in several pieces of this story, but some of it is just too drawn out to the point where all poignancy is lost for me. I wasn't particularly a fan of the massively long Pablo back story chapter (or any of the back story chapters for that matter) or the amount of time given to the love story (Maria was a weak character in my opinion).

The story grabbed my interest in the beginning and was able to maintain it only because I wanted to know what happened with the bridge at the end. I really liked several of the characters and the ending was heart-wrenching for me.

The only real downside to me was what I previously mentioned as the overly lengthy aspects.

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  • Jim Fuqua
  • Hendersonville, TN United States
  • 10-10-16

Gripping Story

Gripping story. I started this book to study Hemingway's sentence structure. Found that the descriptive color was his strength.

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Monotone

Reading was without color. Even Donne's quote got crushed. There was also a lack of any sense of meter. Too bad.

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Just read it because it's that good!

This is a book you try to convince others to read because it is just that good. You won't be disappointed in this Hemingway's depth of knowledge of Spain and it's people is undeniable through this writing.

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Truly enjoyed!

I was completely hooked from the very beginning. The story is masterfully written and the narrators performance is exceptional. I was brought in by the action but ultimately found myself enthralled in the romance between the characters. Hands down my all time favorite. This performance is why I joined Audible!

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Loved the book, despised the censorship...

Any additional comments?

This is the first Hemingway book that I have read. I enjoyed it greatly for a variety of reasons. Hemingway does a phenomenal job with describing everything from the settings, to the characters in the novel. I really enjoyed the dialogue between Jordan and the voice in his head. I would recommend this book wholeheartedly except for the fact that the "strong language" was edited out, and I did not know about that prior to purchase. Had I known that, I would have bought the print version.

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Overall good

This is a classic, though at times as with all Hemingway novels some of the poetics are a bit tedious and annoying... But it is great nonetheless. One thing about the actual audio production, there is a point where they must change microphones or production equipment because the reader sounds completely different. So much so that I had to stop listening for a day or so to forget the old voice...