am 20. Februar 2000
Slowly slowly, little by little, the tensions between the characters of this novel build to reveal the incredible and hopeless predicament they find themselves in. I can empathise with those who do not like Hemingway, he is an acquired taste. But push on with this novel. It is far FAR better than the endlessly dull Farewell To Arms, the scene where the old woman recalls the way the Fascists were executed by the peasants is just electrifying, and haunts me to this day. Of all Hemingway books I've read, this is my favourite.
am 19. August 1999
Hemingway relates his experiences as a journalist during the Spanish Civil War in the form of a novel that is his own inner wish of life as he wished he knew it. The story is of an American scholar/warrior, working behind enemy lines (it's hard from the present to understand that the Stanlists were "good" and the fascists "bad", both turned out to be evil, rotten at the core in the end) with a Spanish guerilla band. Many noble, brave acts are performed - even falling in love, having sex is a noble act, as Papa writes it into the plot - the hero dies valiantly, the true heir of an American Civil War hero. Why, in Hemingway's hands, this is regarded as first-rate literature (the stuff of a Nobel laureate?), while in the hands of someone such as a Graham Greene or John LeCarre, it would be regarded as merely well done escapism, is beyond me. There is the usual nonsense on the false, macho bravado of bullfighting and other Hemingway stereotypes appear at intervals. There is certainly enough of the Hemingway literary power to carry the reader through to the end, but in the end I was left convinced that Papa should have stuck to short stories - where he left his lasting mark. As usual, Hemingway is a man trying too hard to prove that he is a man - never becoming one.
am 6. Januar 2000
This book is definitely one of the best classics I have ever read. The imagery, setting, action, and overall milieu was clear and well-written. Hemingway accurated describes the transition of a man in face of death and war. Torn between his obligation to the cause and his love of Maria, Jordan becomes increasing concerned with dying for the individual. The novel creatively portrays the psychological states of many of the people involved in war. I really recommend that you read this.
am 29. Januar 2000
For Whom the Bells Tolls is quite possibly one of the most beautiful books ever written. After reading Clancy and Grisham for a while, I decided to move on to a classic. This perfectly quenched my desire. This is the tale of an American who fights in the Spanish Civil War. Love and War are both perfectly captured in this book. I have never read such a "smart" book that looks into one of the character's mind. I highly recommend it.
am 1. November 1999
There is a Japanese proverb: "The Zen Master strikes the bullseye by not looking at the center of the target." Hemingway strikes the bullseye of his aesthetic in FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS; in the process, he continues to transform our lives and the literature within them. Nothing any other writer of his generation wrote, and few of any generation, can compare to many of the sentences in FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS. Consider such jewels as El Sordo's reflection on life and death when he knows, for good and for sure, that he will not see another dawn: "Living was a hawk in the sky." Robert Jordan's reflections throughout the book give us insight, as other readers have noted in the reviews in Amazon.com, into Hemingway's philosophy but also into Hemingway's ability to create and develop a well-rounded, full-blooded, fully-dimensional man. Hemingway based Jordan on Robert Merriwell, an American guerrilla fighter in the war who disappeared in the Guadarrama mountains while on a mission behind the Fascist lines. Merriwell, like Jordan, was from Montana and formerly, a college Spanish professor. But "living was a hawk in the sky." Yes. Hemingway reminds us in FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS that life is ever more precious for the dreams we dare, the love we share, and the lives we save (most importantly, our own). Jordan possesses none of the nihilism and preoccupation with the self of Hemingway's earlier protagonists. For anyone who thinks this novel does not relate to our so-called cynical age, I would urge them to take a trip to the Thai-Burmese border. My literature students in Northern Thailand said this was the one novel I assigned them--they read THE GREAT GATSBY, IN DUBIOUS BATTLE, FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS, and MAN'S FATE--which they could deeply identify with.
FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS could've been over 1, 000 pages and it still would read as compelling, as intriguing, and as wise as it does in the original 471 page first edition. It speaks to the oppression of the human spirit, an oppression that continues to haunt mankind. It will speak, both as a testament to love and courage and hope and as a warning against indifference and selfishness and cowardice, for all time. Hemingway does in this novel what he continues to do in THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA: teach us that literature is at its best when it gives us life lessons, and not merely reflections on living. Viva Hemingway.
am 1. Dezember 1999
For Whom The Bell Tolls is a epic war novel written by Ernest Himingway that profiles the young American, Robert Jordan, and his 72 days with a anti-fascist guerrilla unit in the mountains of Spain. Himingway also describes El Sordo's last stand very well. Robert is fighting for his beliefs against the fascist. In the mountains, he meets up with other anti-fascist. Pablo, his wife Pilar, and the young, beautiful Maria. Robert soon falls in love with Maria. Robert is there to blow up a bridge, and within the 72 days, he visits the bridge making sketches and planning out the explosion. He and Pablo do not get along to good and Pablo throws Robert's detonator in the river and Robert gets real angry with Pablo. Pablo is a lazy man that stays drunk off of wine through out the story. Robert thinks many times of killing him. After careful planning, he successfully blows up the bridge. On the way back to camp, he has a tragic accident and his severely wounded. Maria, and everyone else escapes. Robert moves around to get behind a tree with his submachine gun waiting to face the fascist army all alone in the deep mountains of Spain.
am 6. Dezember 1998
This book is the best book I have ever read. In it, Hemingway deeply explores the main character, Robert Jordan. The reader is able to get a thorough understanding of this remarkably realistic character. His philosophy is that war is horrible, but necessary at times. He does not wish to execute some orders, but knows that he must. He does not like his fate, but he accepts it. I quickly found myself caught in the strong plot, and enjoyed Hemingway's rich detail. The book is elegant and yet gruesome; there is a stark contrast between the love of Robert Jordan and Maria, and the atrocities of war. This book is excellent. It will make you feel a myriad of emotions and will keep you turning the pages. I strongly recommend this book to all who love Hemingway's novels, because it is simply his best work. Hemingway goes deeper into the characters and their nostalgic reminiscences than any other. For those of you who are not familiar with Hemingway's novels, I strongly recommend that you read this book and become familiar with an outstanding author.
I found the book even better when reading Cliffs Notes on it parallel to the book. It offers some background information and points to interesting developments and to how the author generated some of the flairs of the book.
To me this book is the best of Hemingway. The characters are very distinct and interesting and also there are very few real "action scenes" the tension is raised and lowered all the time, so the reader keeps turning pages.
And of course there is the end, which is much better thant the typical Ken Follet end (everybody lives happy for the end of their days).
am 13. Dezember 1998
I am grade eleven student and chose to read this book for my ISU study. I was required t read the book, report on it and write a thesis essay on it. I found the book to be very sad, romantic and painful. I thought that the use of Pilar's charcter to display the attitude of Hemingway towards the killing of the fascits was incredible. When i read how Pilar explictly descirbed the accounts of the killings, it made my heart ache and i felt like i was part of teh trio sitting on the hill listening to her retelling the story. The part i found most moving was when Robert and Maria, had to say goodye to eachother. I found it heart wretching because they thought that they had overcome all obstacles and then by a single complication, they happy live together was runied. When i read the goodbye scene between the two, i had tears in my eyes. I would recommend to anyone to read this book. I believe it is a truly a great story about the trials and tributulations on love, life and war.
am 2. August 1998
In FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS Hemingway again reveals how war affects the lives of the average citizen. The ones who are called on to fight and die in the war. The people who have no power in declaring the war and above all who don't want the war at all. The ones who are for the most part forgotten when it is over. A lot has been made over his unconventional and individual style but it is really Hemingway's experience that make his books important. He gives us a window into a time and place none will ever again visit and it is in this that we can begin to appreciate what war actually did to a country and it's people and why freedom is a precious commodity. Incidently, to quibble over why a character in a book of this stature would cut her hair is not only to miss the point of the work, but to not even try to find it. If you think you can do it better than Hemingway then write a couple of novels and we'll see if they become standards of American literature.