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A Soldier of the Great War By Mark Helprin,

  • Title: A Soldier of the Great War
  • Author: Mark Helprin
  • ISBN: 9780380715893
  • Page: 304
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • A Roman student is torn from his carefree life when World War I breaks out, and fifty years later, recounts the triumphs and tragedies of his existence to an illiterate factory worker.
    A Soldier of the Great War A Roman student is torn from his carefree life when World War I breaks out and fifty years later recounts the triumphs and tragedies of his existence to an illiterate factory worker

    One thought on “A Soldier of the Great War”

    1. Confusing epic with just very long , this book has entertaining sections but cannot justify an investment of 860 pages It tells the story of one Alessandro Giuliani, an Italian soldier who goes off to fight in 1914 and soon shows a propensity for escaping death and injury which is only matched by his proficiency as a rider, his irresistibility to women, his prowess as a mountain climber, his fortitude, his moral strength, his physical strength, his perceptive art criticism, his religious insight [...]

    2. My father wanted me to join him in the practice of law, but I saw how greatly he suffered the requirement of being clever It separated him from his soul, and it didn t get him anything other than a living I suppose it is always true that we gain from books what we can relate to The themes that dominate our daily lives in our teens, our 20 s, 30 s, and so forth vary radically These themes are filters over what we read and absorb, creating a different experience for us each time we read So it is t [...]

    3. I finished this novel with a newborn baby my own, if you re wondering on my chest The book and the baby were literally roughly the same size, so turning the pages without waking the infant was a challenge Also challenging was trying to read after having been awake for three straight days The old saying is definitely true it s tough to read while suffering audible and visual hallucinations At one point, the heat duct in my room starting lecturing me on the European Monetary Union that was when I [...]

    4. Whatever I could possibly say cannot do justice to this book How Helprin uses language is magnificent the dialogue, the thoughts he evokes, the humor, the beauty he paints for the reader I have to give this book five stars, although I have only read half Well now I have completed the book and this makes me so sad I don t want it to end.

    5. When we first meet Alessandro, the soldier from the title, he s an elderly but still vital man who takes a principled stand against a streetcar driver who refused to stop for a would be rider giving chase Alessandro ends up getting off as a kind of protest and faces a distant journey on foot with the impressionable young man who d been left behind Along the way, Alessandro tells him and us quite a story It s filled with events and perspectives prior to the war that hint at the kind of soldier he [...]

    6. A Soldier of the Great War is a compelling read and I was left with a marvelous portrait of a thoughtful man whose life has been horribly distorted and, despite his heroism and accomplishments, and his own longevity, largely wasted by the experience of meaningless war This is mankind s history over and over again, from time immemorial to the present day Helprin s writing technique at least in this book and Refiner s Fire, which I read a year or so ago is to tell a sequence of what seem to be unr [...]

    7. A friend recommended this epic book to me despite knowing I wasn t fond of Helprin s novels Well, he certainly perceived my taste fittingly, and I am forever indebted to him for persuading me to read this beautiful, evocative, deeply resonating story of a soldier scholar living through WW I.This is not like any other war novel I have read, and I ve read a number of them Although you are taken inside the reality of war in the muddy trenches, in the grasp of grenades, marching with battalions, and [...]

    8. It s taking me a long time to read this Not because it s bad Just the opposite The writing is so exquisite that my heart is breaking over and over again and I realize I m not making the time to read Yet I m drawn back every day, and then wonder why I m avoiding it Against the backdrop of the brutality and idiocy of war, the beauty of life and the spirit are awesome, awesome as in the mysterious majesty that raises us to ecstasy.100 pages and I don t want it to end.Breathtaking My god the man ca [...]

    9. This book puts Erich Maria Remarque to shame Beautiful prose highlights a forgotten front of a forgotten war as a student of aesthetics becomes a soldier of World War I in the Italian army The characters brought to life by Mark Helprin are perfectly tragic in their hope and optimism As you read, you desperately try to connect yourself to Alessandro, but as you press on, you come to realize that we are all Nicolo, his companion on the road away from Rome in 1964, ignorant and selfish, thinking no [...]

    10. A Poetic Journey During War and Peace Alessandro grieved His punishment was that nothing in the world could touch him His punishment was that God had put him into battle and preserved him from its dangers In summer 1964, after the operator of a streetcar denies a fare to a young boy, an elder man, Alessandro Guiliani, walks off in protest Alessandro joins the boy, and in their journey from Rome to a far away village, he tells the boy the story of his life from his early days living as the son of [...]

    11. Helprin is not for everyone He s moralistic, his female characters are an afterthought, much of his philosophy is better suited for the 19th century and his books invariably involve military conflict That being said, he s is the most talented writer I ve ever read He can make the most mundane event sound poetic, and his gift for metaphor is staggering There are passages within each of his books which almost literally take your breath away.There is a relentless optimism to all of his stories He i [...]

    12. I tend to race through books, which was a huge mistake with this one A Soldier of the Great War needs to be read slowly with each description and each passage savored It is a gorgeous, almost achingly beautiful book If someone could paint a book, this would be it True art Reading this book is like taking a drug you walk away seeing everything from a different and spiritually deeper angle This book makes me realize how asleep we are, and how much richer life is than we ever stop to notice But als [...]

    13. My pick for the best American novel of the late 20th century Dramatic, engrossing, a long and poignant read, an amazing journey in the midst of war, the discovery of love, all anchored by heartbreakingly beautiful prose.From the Mark Helprin web site used with permission In the summer of 1964, Alessandro Giuliani, an old and partially lame professor of aesthetics white hair and mustaches, white suit, cane is thrown off a trolley on the outskirts of Rome after he comes to the defense of a young a [...]

    14. An old man was reminiscing mostly about his WWI experiences as an Italian soldier At times I wished he would hurry up and get on with the story lines that interested me Then at others I wanted to know about his life and his thoughts This book is not for everyone If you like Joseph Heller Catch 22 ,Vonnegut Remarque you might enjoy this novel It is about 800 pages so I recommend it to patient readers.

    15. You win, Mr Helprin Your fine novel transcends my smart ass review Even so, I give you five out of five pitons driven into the rock face of an impossible cliff in the Italian Alps by a soldier we have come to love on his way to rescue his friend who we hope is not dead You get extra credit for your humorous inclusion of the roller coaster decorating profession.

    16. I always liked books where the protagonist confronts whatever obstacles confront him and overcomes in the end Reading this book,and reading Mark Helprin in general, is like listening to a Mozart Symphony I feel arrested by it s melodies until it s conclusion Helprin s gift for prose is unparalleled His descriptions are so vivid I felt like I was watching a film What I don t particularly like are books, or films that try to portray true life as it were These are ones where the bad guy gets away w [...]

    17. Sois would probably be the greatest novel ever written It is a war story and a love story, a story about God and beauty, a story about perseverance, and it s really funny and quirky at times Mark Helprin is our most intelligent writer, and our most underappreciated I don t read many books than once, but I ve read this one 3 times and some of the passages countless times.

    18. The novel probably deserves than 3 stars Parts of it are very moving, and Helprin has important things to say and creates a wonderful, deeply humane character in Alessandro Giuliani But it was a long, looooong slog It felt like a 40 mile hike More chore than fun.

    19. The Man Who Still Heard MusicThe electricity rose up his spine and he trembled not from shock but because, over the sound of the guns, he was still able to hear sonatas, symphonies, and songs.Alessandro Giuliani is listening to field guns being tested in Munich in 1914, the year before Italy entered the War against Germany and Austria Although mostly interested in the visual arts, Alessandro should know about music and beauty of all kinds as a Professor of Aesthetics, it is his m tier But he lea [...]

    20. Never was I MORE RELIEVED to be done with reading a book as I was with this one This tale, in which Alessandro Giuliani, an aging First World War veteran in his dotage, speaks about his life to a young lad Nicolo in his late teens while the 2 make their way on foot from the countryside to Rome during August 1964, is ponderous and tiresome Alessandro, who grew up and lived a life of ease and comfort up til the First World War, loves to pontificate on just about any subject In this respect, he com [...]

    21. A lyrical, enchanting and sweeping tale that was simply impossible to put down once I started reading This is the story of a human life, the life of a young Italian, Alessandro, at the very beginning of the 20th century, learning to live and love with his family in Rome, mountain climbing in the Italian Alps, and then becoming a man on the battlefields of World War I I don t quite know how to describe it, but there is something almost Tolstoyan in Helprin s wordcraft and the breadth and scope of [...]

    22. This is a beautiful story Allesandro s tale of his life is a love story to his family comrades in arms The author, Mark Helprin, makes us care for the characters in this book and grieve for them their families Allesandro tells his story with charm and humour and he s shown to be a man of substance, feeling and loyalty He travels with a young, uneducated young man who he defended Niccolo is enthralled with the story that Allesandro tells of the war, his part in it, and his loves He comes to reali [...]

    23. A Soldier of the Great War is one of those books that once finished, you have to let yourself ponder what it is you ve just read, let it sit with you for a time, while you formulate your thoughts After being immersed in Alessandro s world for three weeks, it will take me a while to surface It s epic, poetic, heart wrenching, funny, scary, breathtaking, maddening, and leaves you with much to ponder.

    24. An interesting and well written book, but not one of my favorites Helprin is a skilled writer, but not brilliant the story is engrossing and the setting is well chosen, but I think in the end what really bothered me is that the main character, Alessandro, fails to become truly lovable He is admirable in a super hero way infinitely competent, succeeding when he should and failing when he must Although we experience nearly every minute of his long life, his strange and frightening experiences duri [...]

    25. My copy of this book was 860 pages I read 400 pages and finally came to the conclusion that it was a waste of time because I had practically no curiosity about the main or subordinate characters I tossed it.This book was a bestseller when it came out I have no idea why It is essentially a collection of 1,500 word anecdotes with a thin film of connecting glue.Most of what came out of the characters mouths was implausible There s an awful lot of inflated dialogue that sounded to me like words tumb [...]

    26. This is a difficult to categorize book, as it swings from serious to farcical and much of it strains credulity, but oh, what a tale It is fascinating to read about life in Europe around the turn of the century and into the Great War, or what we now called World War I The world was turned upside down by that war, and it is apparent in the book The dynasties die, the nobility fade away, and what is left is the modern world Helprin has a deep awareness to the way the setting of the book allows him [...]

    27. This is really a beautiful and moving story, full of descriptions for all your senses and great dialogue At times, it almost read like a screenplay for some sweeping, dramatic, big screen film The 800 page story moved quickly in short theatrical scenes and, like in real life, important characters could and did emerge at any time I m still trying to figure out one of the recurring themes, and I know some symbolism was just lost on me entirely Still, the book was full of rich stories and vignettes [...]

    28. Ok, I had moments when I considered this book sluggish and long but I always picked it up happily and with interest Overall, I really enjoyed this one This story takes you through the life of a man before, during mostly and after WWI I m sure this one will stick with me for some time to come.

    29. I love this book I am head over heels, blushing when I look at it, butterflies in my stomach, giggling like a school girl, in love with this book This is the first book I ve ever read that I wanted to start again as soon as I finished the last page It has adventure, romance, philosophy, religion, art, nature and so much Breath taking descriptions of both natural and man made beauty, hilarious satire, heart stopping scenes of danger and heart breaking scenes of loss Lovely descriptive writing to [...]

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