AoM Book Club September 2013: For Whom the Bell Tolls

by Jeremy Anderberg on August 23, 2013 · 24 comments

in Book Club, Travel & Leisure


In spite of his faults, of which there are plenty, Ernest Hemingway was without a doubt one of the manliest men of the last century. His life of adventure and ruggedness provides inspiration for men the world over, and his writing paved the way for 20th century prose, both fiction and non-fiction. His writing is often considered terse, as it employed short, declarative sentences, and avoided the fluff and flowery language of “high” literature.

To choose our book for September, we used a reader poll over in the community, and members of the book club selected For Whom the Bell Tolls. Published in 1940 and set in the Spanish Civil War, this is considered one of Hemingway’s greatest works. The story follows Robert Jordan, a young American volunteering as a dynamiter in the war. It’s partially written from Hemingway’s own experiences in that very war as a journalist. There’s plenty to learn about being a man from this story, so join in!


We’re giving you two weeks to get your hands on the book and read the first 10 chapters. We’ll post the first discussion on Monday, September 9th, and then every Monday for the remainder of the month. We’ll announce the October selection a week or so before that one starts up.

Book Club Notes

  • If you’ve missed out on previous selections — The Great Gatsby, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin — you can always peruse the old discussions and add your thoughts. Just because the official discussion is complete doesn’t mean you can’t get a lot of insight as to what’s there from previous months.
  • Speaking of Benjamin Franklin, we’re excited to announce that author and historian H.W. Brands is contributing a Q&A to August’s discussion of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Head over to the community and stay tuned next week for that interview to be posted! 

How to Join the Book Club

We’ll make announcements about the book club here on the main site, while housing the book’s discussion over on the AoM Community in a private group called “The Official Art of Manliness Book Club.” In addition to online discussion in the group forums, we plan to include other great features including video chats and Q&As with some literary experts on the subjects of our discussions.

To join the AoM Book Club you pay a one-time $1 membership fee (the aim of this nominal fee is to simply keep out trolls and hopefully increase your commitment). If you’ve already joined the book club group and paid, you don’t have to do so again. You’ll have access to all our discussions, notes, video chats, and expert Q&As from here on out.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ben August 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm

I’m in! I’m finishing up The Sun Also Rises this weekend, and I should be done in time. That’s the next one on my list of Hemingways to read.

2 Andersen August 24, 2013 at 7:39 am

I need to read more Hemingway!

3 Adam Sell August 24, 2013 at 9:20 am

Excellent choice. I’m really enjoying the book club. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin was thoroughly enjoyable and manly. I’ve read much of Hemingway’s work, but luckily not this one. I look forward to enjoying his sparse writing style with the mandatory alcoholic beverage. It feels wrong reading Hemingway without some spirits.

4 Fedja August 24, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Really can’t remember the last book I’ve read by Hemingway, so this is next on my to-read list.

Thank you for the recommendation.

5 Greg August 25, 2013 at 8:56 am

Can’t wait. On my way to the store. I been searching for something like this book club for a long time, amazing.

6 Wim August 27, 2013 at 11:53 am

finished “voor wie de klok luidt” just last week! i hope it does’nt matter in what language you read the book…

7 JJ August 28, 2013 at 12:44 am


8 Brian August 28, 2013 at 8:00 am

Over the past two years I have made up for my lack of reading and this was by far my favorite Hemingway novel. Second favorite is Islands in the Stream.

9 nik August 30, 2013 at 5:09 pm

I’ve never read Hemingway so I can’t think of a better start.

10 Ardis August 30, 2013 at 8:11 pm

My comment relates to an earlier post where you suggest memorizing poetry, speeches, etc. Below is a poem written during the Spanish Civil War by the republican poet Miguel Hernandez, that became a rallying call to arms for the Republican forces. Its called ” Time is Blood “. Chuikov
is credited with using the poem as his motto, his shibboleth if you will, during the battle of Stalingrad. I hope your readers enjoy it.

It’s blood, not hail, that flogs my temples.
Two years of blood: two enormous outpourings.
Blood that acts like the sun, you come devouring
until the balconies are left empty and drowned.

Blood that is the greatest of all riches.
Blood that was hoarding all its gifts for love.
See it stirring up the tides, startling trains,
discouraging bulls as it inspires lions.

Time is blood. Time circulates through my veins.
In the presence of clocks and dawns I am more than wounded,
and I hear the colliding of bloods of all sizes.

Blood where it is barely possible for death to bathe:
a brilliant flowing that hasn’t grown pale
because my eyes, a thousand years old, have gathered it.
– translated by James Wright

11 Betty September 1, 2013 at 3:38 pm
12 CAH September 1, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Ernest Hemingway is, by far, my favorite author.

I have studied his works and his life for the last 10 – 12 years.

I have always liked boxing (it’s my favorite sport), but reading Hemingway makes me like it even more.

I haven’t bee able to add bullfighting to the list yet (it’s never on ABC’s Wild World of Sports), but I aim to one day before it ceases to exist.

To make the mark that Hemingway did on literature and writing, with no more than a high school degree, is amazing.

13 Betty September 1, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Oops! Sorry, posted the wrong link! But if you need to read “A Farewell to Arms” in the future, you’ll know were to find it.

14 Sugapablo September 2, 2013 at 9:34 am

Blown away that the first three books in this club I’ve already read. :)

Great minds…

15 Chris September 2, 2013 at 10:29 am

Started reading this a few months ago and never finished it. This is great motivation to finish it up now.

16 David Fleming September 3, 2013 at 9:18 pm

I am actually reading this book right now.

17 Craig September 9, 2013 at 11:54 am

I just picked up For Whom The Bell Tolls from the library today. I’ve never read Hemingway. Looking forward to a great manly read!

18 Jim September 10, 2013 at 12:10 am

Awesome Brett, great book. Glad you’re posting again!

19 Keith Peters September 10, 2013 at 6:02 am

I won’t be participating, but you’re all in for a treat. This is not only my favorite Hemingway book, but probably my favorite book of all time. I’ve probably read it around 5 times. Enjoy!

20 turnbull September 12, 2013 at 2:04 pm

great sugg. Was just about to read this one

21 turnbull September 12, 2013 at 5:48 pm

reading this now

22 Jeff Mazza September 14, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Believe it or not I did not enjoy For Whom the Bell Tolls at all. My favorite Hemingway novel is “the Old Man and the Sea”.

23 Gustav Hernandez October 3, 2013 at 1:06 am

@Jeff Mazza, Yeap, I loved that novel too, but I hadn’t read this one yet, so, I cannot emit a fair verdict.

24 Omar Carreto November 23, 2013 at 10:40 pm

I never knew about this reading club I want in…

What is the date for the next book or can anyone explain how it works?

Omar Carreto

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