Book reviews

Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1940)

Cautionary tale for Americans in the age of Antifa domestic terrorism.

Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls may be dead white male literature, but don’t deprive yourself of a masterpiece just because some Antifa-loving English professor hates white men.

The entire book is a demonstration of how vicious a society can be when it loses its faith.  Whether it’s Spain during the Civil War or the United States beset by Antifa’s domestic terrorism, the political message of Hemingway’s volume is as relevant today as it was in 1940 when it was first published.  The killings and terrorism of the political factions of the Spanish Civil War remind me of the terrorism of Antifa and the criminal Democratic Party’s support not only of abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy for any reason whatsoever but also of infanticide.  Both Antifa and the Democratic Party are as intolerant of political difference as those involved in the brutal Spanish civil war.

What is more saddening on reading this novel is that Spain, which was supposed to be an ostensibly Catholic country, abandoned its Catholicism so immediately during a brief yet bloodthirsty internecine war.  What took millennia to develop as a brilliant form of Western Christianity seemed to be destroyed so quickly.  The master works of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross apparently had no enduring effect on a population so quick to kill each other merely because of partisan differences.  If Spain had maintained its faith of two millennia, the horrors of its civil war would not have been entrenched not only in its society, but also in world history as they have.

However, that is a premature conclusion.  The Spanish civil war was brutal, and Hemingway’s illustration of the brutality sears the synapses, especially chapter ten’s description of the killings of fascists in a certain village.  Maybe the civil war was an essential purge of such weak-willed Catholics who could not live up to their baptismal promises to love one another.  Interestingly, Hemingway’s characters are supposed to be irreligious, but it is obvious in his metaphors and allusions that religious faith is still evident in people’s lives, still seeps through, despite their best efforts to be, as many characters declare, a society “without God.”

After all, the faith is still practiced in Spain.  Even today, with abortion and the medical killing called assisted suicide and euthanasia rampant in what were formerly called “Catholic” countries (like Ireland and Spain), people who actually live their faith and support human life rise to the occasion to fight the fascism of the anti-life (pro-abortion, pro-infanticide, and pro-euthanasia) movement.

If this does not read as a plot summary or one of those saccharine  reviews overusing words like “wonderful” or “great”, then my goal is accomplished.  If you want a plot summary or a digest of poetic language in what is usually called Hemingway’s terse prose, then read the novel yourself and annotate your favorite terms, phrases, sentences, descriptive paragraphs, and trenchant one-liners as I have done.  (Virtually every page of the original 471-page volume has some annotation on it.)

This review is, however, meant to be my perspective on how this masterly novel is a warning of what could happen here in the United States if the domestic terrorist tactics of groups like Antifa or the criminal Democratic Party control not just Washington, but the broadcast media, social media, and other institutions.  That means that we who are faithful Jews and Christians, of all denominations, must fight against the same forces which destroyed so many lives in the Spanish civil war.  Then, they were fascists; now, they are called abortionists, Antifa, and the criminal Democratic Party—a triad whose members are interchangeable.

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