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For Whom the Bell Tolls is a novel loosely based on Ernest Hemingways own experiences in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s Before I delve into the book itself I thought it would be best to give some background information on Ernest Hemingway and on the Spanish Civil war and the circumstances surrounding it Hemingway was born July 21 1899 in Oak Park Illinois and the second of six children His father Clarence Hemingway was a physician and his mother was a devoutly religious woman with a talent for music When he was young Ernest acquired the nickname champ which he relished and felt it showed his rowdy hard-nosed outdoor sense of adventure He had garnered his fathers passion for hunting and fishing in the north woods of Michigan a period of his childhood which left important impressions later reflected in several of his short stories such as Up in Michigan and Big Two Hearted River In high school Ernest edited the school newspaper excelled in football and boxing and ran away from home twice Upon his graduation seventeen year old Hemingway headed to Kansas City to enlist in World War I in outright defiance of his parents objections However the army rejected Hemingway despite his repeated efforts due to permanent eye damage incurred from his years of boxing Yielding finally to the armys rejections he added a year to his age and was hired as a reporter for the Kansas City Star a national newspaper While working at the Star Hemingway continued his efforts to participate in the war and finally succeeded when he joined a volunteer Red Cross ambulance unit as a driver In 1918 he was very seriously injured at Fossalta on the Piave River Hemingway received twelve operations on his knee an aluminum kneecap and two Italian Decorations After a long period of painful recuperation in Milan Ernest Hemingway joined the Italian infantry to fight again
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