Title: Hemingway: The Final Years.
Publisher: Norton, New York
Publication Date: 1999
Edition: First Printing of the First Edition
A Fine tight unread copy in a Fine, bright unclipped dust jacket. Michael Reynolds discovered the truth about Hemingway's activities during the war years, which included running a counterintelligence operation in Havana. The postwar period was the most productive of Hemingway's writing life, when he authored the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Old Man and the Sea and received the Nobel Prize. Even as Hemingway graced the cover of Life magazine, his physical and mental health deteriorated while his public image as hunter and sportsman continued to demand the strenuous life. In 1961 he committed suicide, leaving behind the stuff of which American myths are made.This is the final volume in Reynolds' five volume biography of Ernest Hemingway. Bookseller Inventory # 24285
Synopsis: Ernest Hemingway's triumphs as a writer during the 1940s and 1950s accompanied a life of risk and danger. Michael Reynolds discovers the truth about Hemingway's activities during the war years, including running a counterintelligence operation in Havana and riding a landing craft into Omaha Beach on D-Day. The post-war period, when he wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Old Man and the Sea", was the most productive time of Hemingway's writing life but his physical and mental health deteriorated. In 1961 he committed suicide. Using interviews, letters, memoirs and previously classified documents, Reynolds brings his eyes to Hemingway's later years, recreating his life and the atmosphere of post-war America.
Review: If one had to choose just one of Michael Reynolds's five volumes on Hemingway, The Final Years would probably be the best choice. Beginning with the fanfare surrounding the publication of For Whom the Bell Tolls on the eve of the Second World War and ending with Hemingway's suicide in 1961, the book puts all that had come before into perspective even as it probes these last two decades of its subject's life. The amount of detail is staggering--and sometimes, particularly in the case of his troubled fourth marriage to Mary Welsh, painfully discomfiting. (Long before Mary interrupts a conversation between Hem and Lauren Bacall to show Bacall a bullet she keeps for anybody who makes a move on her husband, the reader has figured out that the marriage was not exactly happy.)
The sections on Hemingway's wartime exploits, both in Cuba as a volunteer U-boat hunter and in Europe as a correspondent, are fascinating. But even in these moments--hell, even when he won the Pulitzer and the Nobel--Hemingway was subject to what he called "black ass" bouts of depression, an inherited condition that (as Reynolds notes) wasn't helped by his drinking or his tendency to put himself into dangerous situations in which he could suffer yet another severe concussion. Reynolds has traced the great writer's psychological decline so thoroughly that, when Hemingway puts the shotgun in his mouth in the final chapter, it is not as if the expected conclusion has finally arrived; rather, the reader has been made to feel an even deeper sense of the inevitability of the act. --Ron Hogan
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