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Reviews of For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)

Review by michael a draper (2011-11-11)
Robert Jordan, an American joins the guerrillas on a mountain overlooking a bridge in Spain.
It is 1937 and at the peak of the Spanish Civil War.

One of the group is a woman named Marie who becomes attracted to Jorday.

The men are freedom fighters but the true leader of the group is a woman named Pilar. This is the Spanish for pillar and has the symbol of strength.

We follow the activities of Robert and Marie and their love. It is a justaposition used by the author to show both love and war. With the tender moments, it seems like this is what the freedom fighters are striving for, that the government's totalarianist attitude won't stop them from having gypsies and women and foreigners all work together in peace as equals.

The story mixes historical fact and fiction in a enlightening manner that readers will appreciate and feel that with the depth of the characters they got to know them and the setting.

(This review refers to the 1940 version titled “For Whom the Bell Tolls”)

Review by benchmark (2007-03-22)
Earnest Hemingway is a genius, and this is in many ways the best of his works.

Hemingway uses words a s a blunt instrument, honest and biting hard. Other great authors, offer the equivalent of a witty dinner conversation, tricks and wordplay disguising content; Meanwhile Hemingway delivers effortless reality through his simple, honesty and direct style. All authors should be this good, but, Conrad excepted, they just don't have the life experience and talent.

Review by Sillywabbit (2003-03-14)
A great book by a great man.

One of Hemingway's best works that's set in the time of the bloody and brutal Spanish civil war. Brother against brother, sister against sister.

The story starts in the freezing winter, pine tree filled, hillsides of the Spanish Sierra. Robert Jordan, a young American, working for the Communists meets up with a guerrilla band that is preparing to blow up a bridge. While there, he meets a beautiful girl and is instantly captivated and in love.

As always with Hemingway this is a simple story, or so it seems. A story about a man that goes to blow up a bridge in war time. As always with Hemingway its about SO much more. It's about Spain, its people and their passions. It's about love, how it feels and all that comes with it. It's about life and how we must enjoy every moment because its all so fragile and gone so fast you may not get time to wonder. Robert may die on the very dangerous mission. He and his new found Maria may have just three painfully short days to fit in a life time of love. The future is unknown, even as they day dream and make plans for a future together, that may not come to pass. I think we should all think this way :)

The book, as always with Hemingway is WONDERFULLY written. Full of moments, wit, observations and beauty. If you have ever wondered about Spain, or love, then read this :) In fact go and read all of his works right now!!! What are ya waiting for? Scoot... :)

©Steven Jeffery /, 2017
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