For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway is set during the intense fighting of the Spanish Civil War, a conflict Hemingway participated in as a journalist. The story focuses on the willingness of men to die in the service of a cause, even when those deaths will ultimately be meaningless. The setting is a pivotal battle against Franco, the writing does not flinch from portraying the cruelty and violence of war, but then Hemingway was not known for flinching. The main character, Robert Jordan, is an American. He volunteers to undertake a suicide mission, the destruction of a crucial bridge. Of course, he has a love interest. Maria is a village girl whose family was killed by the fascists. The bond men develop in war, the bravery required of them, the pain of betrayal by comrades, and the ultimate price of armed conflict are all dealt with deftly.— Deon Stonehouse
Ernest Hemingway's masterpiece on war, love, loyalty, and honor tells the story of Robert Jordan, an antifascist American fighting in the Spanish Civil War.
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” and one of the foremost classics of war literature.
For Whom the Bell Tolls tells of loyalty and courage, love and defeat, and the tragic death of an ideal. Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades, is attached to an antifascist guerilla unit in the mountains of Spain. In his portrayal of Jordan’s love for the beautiful Maria and his superb account of a guerilla leader’s last stand, Hemingway creates a work at once rare and beautiful, strong and brutal, compassionate, moving, and wise. Greater in power, broader in scope, and more intensely emotional than any of the author’s previous works, For Whom the Bell Tolls stands as one of the best war novels ever written.
About the Author
Ernest Hemingway did more to change the style of English prose than any other writer of his time. Publication of The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms immediately established Hemingway as one of the greatest literary lights of the twentieth century. His classic novel The Old Man and the Sea won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953. Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. His life and accomplishments are explored in-depth in the PBS documentary film from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, Hemingway. Known for his larger-than-life personality and his passions for bullfighting, fishing, and big-game hunting, he died in Ketchum, Idaho on July 2, 1961.
"A tremendous piece of work."
—The New York Times
“For Whom the Bell Tolls is indispensable… the single most insightful thing I have ever read about the consequences of war.”
"My favorite novel of all time. It instructed me to see the world as it is, with all its corruption and cruelty, and believe it’s worth fighting for anyway, even dying for."