For Whom the Bell Tolls Book Review (2020)

Ernest Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899, in Illinois, U.S. and died on July 2, 1961 in Idaho, U.S. He was an outstanding American novelist and short-story writer, being honored with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. His full and adventurous life, as well as his witty, reasoned and masculine writing style, established him as one of the most powerful influences on fiction in the 20th century.

In 1937 Ernest Hemingway, a journalist, traveled to Spain to write about the civil war that was taking place there, for the North American Newspaper Alliance. Three years later he published the epic For Whom the Bell Tolls book, a novel based on those tumultuous times in Spanish history and the terrible events that took place during the Spanish Civil War. For more books with the same topic, take a look at our best Spanish Civil War books.

For Whom the Bell Tolls Book

The story begins in May 1937 at the height of the Civil War. This novel is a story that tells of love in all its diverse forms: love for one’s country, love between people and love of justice. Find out all of this in our For Whom the Bell Tolls book review.

Robert Jordan, a young American who fights as an irregular soldier for the Republic and encounters his love, Maria, a young Spanish woman. His young idealism is fed by the love for the country and its values. Robert was not even a soldier, but a college professor on leave. Initially, he went to Spain full of idealism for the Republican cause and believed confidently that he was on the side of the good guys.

He enlisted as a member of a guerrilla group who were fighting secretly behind enemy lines. He was sent to assist with the difficult and dangerous task of blowing up a Fascist-controlled bridge and made the acquaintance of his fellow guerrillas in the camp.

This story takes place during Jordan’s 72 hours hiding out in the mountains at the guerrilla camp and the characters in the story are the inhabitants of the camp – a motley crew of peasants that include the beautiful, young Maria who has taken refuge at the camp after being raped by enemy soldiers. After fighting in the war, Robert Jordan became cynical about the Republican cause and loses his innocence and idealism.

The main themes in For Whom the Bell Tolls book are the loss of innocence in a war that devastates both sides as well as degrading the value of human life. Hemingway deals with these themes using his mastery of language and knowledge of human nature. It is thought that with this novel, Hemingway crafted a book that is simultaneously original and charming whilst retaining the macho and ruthless mood of the times. It is widely regarded as Hemingway’s best novel.

Author

Michael Englert

Michael Englert

Michael is a graduate of cultural studies and history. He enjoys a good bottle of wine and (surprise, surprise) reading. As a small-town librarian, he is currently relishing the silence and peaceful atmosphere that is prevailing.