the Good Soldier: John McCain and Hemingway

No literary figure, Senator John McCain often pointed out, had more influence on how he conducted his life than Robert Jordan, the hero of Ernest Hemingway’s 1940 novel about the Spanish Civil War, For Whom the Bell Tolls.

In his most recent book, The Restless Wave, written in collaboration with Mark Salter, McCain wrote about his impending death by observing, “’The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it,’ spoke my hero, Robert Jordan, in For Whom the Bell  Tolls. And I do, too. But I don’t have a complaint. Not one.”

McCain first read For Whom the Bell Tolls when he was 12, and he returned to it in succeeding years. “It’s my favorite novel of all time. It instructed me to see the world as it is, with all its corruption and cruelty, and believe it’s worth fighting for anyway, even dying for,” McCain observed earlier this year in an interview. The title of McCain’s 2002 memoir, Worth Fighting For, comes from the same For Whom the Bell Tolls passage that he quotes in The Restless Wave.

With so many literary heroes to pick from, McCain’s choice of Robert Jordan is revealing. Robert Jordan is no superhero, capable of overcoming all odds. Even in the 1943 movie version of For Whom the Bell Tolls, starring Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman, Jordan dies alone. In the passage McCain cites in The Restless Wave, Jordan lies concealed behind a tree with a submachine gun, hoping he can delay the heavily armed fascist troops who have been pursuing him and the guerrilla band he is with.

Jordan has gotten himself into this position by traveling from America to Spain to flight with the Loyalist forces supporting the democratically elected government of the five-year-old Spanish Republic, which in 1936 came under siege from a fascist military coalition led by General Francisco Franco, who ruled Spain from the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939 until he died in 1975.

Jordan knows that his own death is a certainty. He has sustained a broken leg as a result of the horse he has been riding falling on him. No matter what he does, he cannot flee. The best that he can do is sacrifice his life so that others, including the woman he loves, may live. “You’ve had as good a life as anyone because of these last days,” Jordan tells himself. “You do not want to complain because you have been so lucky.”

As he faces the end of his life, Jordan’s bravery reflects his character, but just as important are the choices that have brought him to this point. He is not a professional soldier, although he comes from a family in which his grandfather fought in the Civil War for four years. Until now Jordan has led a quiet life as an instructor in Spanish at the University of Montana. As a child he saw a lynching, but he was too young to do anything about it.

What has led Jordan to abandon the comfortable life he was leading in America is the prospect of the Loyalist defenders of the Spanish Republic being overwhelmed by a fascist cabal relying on foreign aid. During the Spanish Civil War, America was neutral as a result of a bill President Roosevelt signed on May 1, 1937, banning the export of arms and ammunition to the warring parties in Spain.

By contrast, neither Germany nor Italy saw any reason to remain neutral when they believed they had much to gain from helping a fascist ally. As historian Adam Hochschild notes in Spain Is in Our Hearts, his account of the Americans who fought in the Spanish Civil War, the German and Italian contributions to Franco were immense and gave both nations a chance to test out weapons they would use in World War II.

Some 19,000 German troops and instructors saw action in Spain or helped train Fascist troops, and nearly 80,000 Italian troops fought for Franco between the start of the Spanish Civil War and its conclusion. The Soviet Union, which for a period identified itself with the Loyalists, provided only limited aid by comparison.

For Hemingway, who made four trips to Spain to report on its Civil War for the North American Newspaper Alliance, Jordan was an admirable figure who reflected what was best about the 2,800 Americans who went to Spain to fight on the Loyalist side. Jordan knows that the Loyalist side he is on is capable of great cruelty. He is no fan of the Communists who are part of the Loyalist alliance. But Jordan sees the flaws in the fascists as so much greater than those of the Loyalists that he does not back away from the commitment he has made to the war.

In this commitment Jordan mirrors Hemingway, who in a 1937 letter described the Spanish Civil War as “the dress rehearsal for the inevitable European war.” Hemingway raised money in support of the Loyalist side, and with his future wife, the correspondent Martha Gellhorn, who travelled to Spain with him, he went to the White House for a showing of the pro-Loyalist film, The Spanish Earth, before President and Eleanor Roosevelt.

In the end Hemingway had to content himself with doing his best rather than getting the outcome in Spain that he wanted, and so finally must Robert Jordan. What makes Jordan admirable is what made McCain admirable—his unwillingness to sit on the sidelines and watch democracy be undermined.


More on the newly published Short Story, “A Room on the Garden Side”


The Real Message Of Hemingway’s ‘New’ Story

Published for the first time, ‘A Room on the Garden Side’ features a narrator much like Hemingway who shrugged off his journalistic ethics and followed his heart in WWII.

The publication of Ernest Hemingway’s 1956 short story, “A Room on the Garden Side,” in the current issue of The Strand Magazine, a literary quarterly, has generated widespread interest. Until now “A Room on the Garden Side” was available only through the Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

“A Room on the Garden Side” is a find for anyone interested in Hemingway, but what is surprising about the story, which is set during World War II, is how much it speaks to the present moment when America’s obligations to other nations, especially our European allies, have been thrown into question by the Trump administration.

The turning point in “A Room on the Garden Side” comes when Robert, the story’s narrator and a Hemingway stand-in who, like Hemingway, is called “Papa,” explains why he is engaged in combat that he might easily avoid. Robert’s explanation for the obligation he feels to take part in the war reflects the life he has chosen for himself, and the art of “A Room on the Garden Side” lies in the way we are gradually brought to identify with Robert.

To help readers come to terms with “A Room on the Garden Side,” The Strand has published it with a thoughtful afterword by Kirk Curnutt, a board member of the Ernest Hemingway Society.

The title of “A Room on the Garden Side” refers to the location of the room Robert has been given at the Ritz hotel just when Paris has been liberated from Nazi control. The situation parallels that of Hemingway, who arrived in Paris on August 25, 1944, with a group of irregular troops he had gathered in the small French village of Rambouillet.

At the time Hemingway was officially a correspondent for Collier’s, but in Rambouillet he went far beyond his journalistic role, casting aside the doubts he expressed about himself earlier in the year when he wrote his wife, thejournalist Martha Gellhorn, “Just feel like horse, old horse, good, sound, but old.” In conjunction with Colonel David Bruce of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of today’s CIA, Hemingway and the French irregulars with him at Rambouillet did their best to defend the village and locate the scattered German forces around it. When General Jacques LeClerc, whom the allies had given the honor of liberating Paris, arrived, they gave him the information they had gathered and then followed LeClerc’s Second Armored Division to Paris before entering the city on their own.

Paris liberation

In his diary, OSS Against the Reich, Bruce, who later served as ambassador to France and England, records how, when he, Hemingway, and their driver entered Paris in their jeep, the Champs Elysees was free of traffic and they were able to make their way to the Travellers Club and from there to the Ritz, where Hemingway was fondly remembered from the time he spent as a young writer in Paris in the ’20s.

“A Room on the Garden Side” takes place within the confines of the Ritz. It includes much that is factual. Hemingway uses the first names of partisans who were with him and recounts an actual meeting that he had at the Ritz at this time with the French novelist Andre Malraux. But the heart of the story hinges on conversations with himself and others that Robert has about writing and warfare. We don’t get much about wartime Paris or the charms of the Ritz in “A Room on the Garden Side.”

Hem and Buck Lanahan WW II

Robert, who is relaxing by reading Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal, speaks about such French writers as Marcel Proust and Victor Hugo and in doing so, he is forced to acknowledge that, although a writer, he is now using his time to fight rather than write. By way of justifying himself, Robert, who admits that he enjoys combat, observes, “I did it to save the lives of people who had not hired out to fight. There was that and the fact that I had learned to know and love an infantry division and wished to serve it in any useful way I could.”

The justification is brief in terms of the space it takes up in “A Room on the Garden Side” and departs from Hemingway’s own history, making no mention of the difficulty he got into as a result of what he did in Rambouillet. It is against the protocols of the Geneva Convention for war correspondents to take part in fighting, and rival correspondents, resentful of Hemingway’s actions in Rambouillet, reported him to the military.

In early October 1944, Hemingway was ordered to report for a hearing at the headquarters of the inspector general of the Third Army, but the last thing the Army wanted to do was punish America’s leading novelist and send him home. Hemingway was acquitted of all the charges against him at a hearing at which, he later acknowledged, he was coached ahead of time on how to give answers that would keep him out of trouble.

With Buck

The impact of the hearing on Hemingway was to make him even more confident that he was right to take up arms when he did.  It was not, he believed, enough to bear witness to history. It was necessary to act.

Twelve years later, when Hemingway fictionalized the events of 1944, his convictions had not changed, but the bitterness that had prompted him to write a friend in the wake of his hearing, “Beat rap,” was gone. Robert has no hesitation about returning to battle, and nothing in “A Room on the Garden Side” suggests that Hemingway worried that in the future an American president might turn his back on the moral values Robert espouses.

In a 1956 letter to his publisher, Charles Scribner Jr., Hemingway, who two years earlier received the Nobel Prize for Literature, was confident enough about “A Room on the Garden Side” and four other short stories that he wrote at this time to assure Scribner, “Anyway you can always publish them after I’m dead.”

Ernest HEMINGWAY during Spanish Civil War.
In December 1937 Ernest Hemingway was covering the Loyalist assault on Teruel, the walled town in the bleak mountains of Southern Aragon, Gen. Franco was planning to use this corridor route to the Mediterranean thus seaparting Barcelona from Valencia and Madrid. Robert CAPA the photographer and Hemingway would with some colleagues drive daily to Teruel from Valencia and return each evening.
Valencia. Dec. 1937. Hemingway visiting the front line.

New Hemingway Short Story!

Happy Saturday morning, all Hemingway readers. A new story has been found and published from 1956, 5 years before Hem’s death. Hemingway of course did not feel it was finished so please keep that in mind but i can’t wait to read it.  Hope your summer is going fantastically!  i added photos.Best wishes, Christine

You can finally read this Ernest Hemingway story about Paris after WWII

On Aug. 14, 1956, Ernest Hemingway wrote to publisher Charlie Scribner about five short stories he had written: “I suppose they are a little shocking since they deal with irregular troops and combat and with people who actually kill people….Anyway you can always publish them after I’m dead.”

More than six decades later, fans can finally read one of the long-unpublished stories.

“A Room on the Garden Side” centers on a fictionalized version of Hemingway at the Paris Ritz Hotel toward the end of World War II, and is punctuated with books, liquor, soldiers and a love of Paris — all familiar trademarks.

Hem in Tweed

The Hemingway Estate granted publishing rights to The Strandquarterly literary magazine in last October.

“With a precious little gem like Ernest Hemingway, you don’t ask any questions,” managing editor and Hemingway aficionado Andrew Gulli said. “You just count yourself fortunate that you get the chance to publish something by one of the greatest writers in the 20th century.”

Hem at typewriter

The 3,000-word story is narrated by Robert, or “Papa,” a clear representation of Hemingway himself, with a sense of pathos for times gone by and the sacrifice of soldiers. It quotes heavily from the poem “Les Fleurs du Mal,” by Charles Baudelaire, charging the story with poignancy over the ways the city of Paris was changed by the war.

“It has some of his favorite themes,” Gulli said. “What I really found interesting is there is some humor and laughter and the talk of people who just won a battle, but beneath that you see a sadness for the people that died during the conflict.”

Hem and Buck Lanham WW II

Hemingway wrote “A Room on the Garden Side,” more than a decade after WWII, a conflict during which he had served as both reporter and unofficial soldier. Only one other story in the quintet he wrote in 1956 was previously published, according to Kirk Curnutt, board member of The Ernest Hemingway Foundation and Society.

“In 1944 when he is one of the first Americans into Paris on the day of the liberation, it is a very profound moment for him — for reclamation of freedom, but also the reclamation of a city that was stolen from him as well,” Curnutt said.

Bumby, WWII

“A Room on the Garden Side” takes place just after the liberation of Paris at the end of the war, where Robert and a ragtag group of “irregulars” — members of the French resistance — sit drinking and reminiscing with the famous Charley Ritz in his namesake hotel on the Right Bank of Paris. The Ritz was Hemingway’s favorite hotel away from home throughout his life.

Scholars like Curnutt have known about the story — 15 handwritten pages — for some time. (It has been housed at the Library of Congress and John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.) But this is the first time the story will be published for the wider public.

Paris liberation

“[The Estate has] steered away from commercializing anything unpublished,” Gulli said. “They were very kind to give the story to The Strand because they understand we have a good track record of publishing unpublished works. They want to make sure that if something is released that it will honor the memory of Ernest Hemingway.”

The magazine, and Gulli in particular, have tracked down and published similarly overlooked works by the likes of John Steinbeck, Tennessee Williams, F. Scott Fitzgerald, H.G. Wells and Mark Twain. “A Room on the Garden Side” is being solely published in print, not online.

With Buck

“To me it’s not like Hemingway is an unknown writer and that this will bring him back into competition,” Gulli said. “It’s more of the passion to have a writer that you’ve admired and revered your whole life and to get it published in Strand magazine — it’s a wonderful feeling to know Hemingway is gracing our pages.”

New York Times Review of The Old Man and The Sea: Sept 7, 1952

Please read the NYT review of Hemingway’s Masterpiece and how it was received in its Day. And the reviewer taught at my Alma Mater. Media added by me. Enjoy the analysis and thank you for reading and being interested in Hemingway 119 years after his birth and 57 years after his death. Best, Christine


September 7, 1952
Hemingway’s Tragic Fisherman

By Ernest Hemingway.

The “Old Man” is a Cuban, without money to buy proper gear or even food, and past the days of his greatest strength, when he was “El CampÈon” of the docks. He fishes for his living, far out in the Gulf Stream, in a skiff with patched sails. It is September, the month of hurricanes and of the biggest fish. After eighty-four luckless days a marlin strikes his bait a hundred fathoms below the boat. The old man, Santiago, is “fast to the biggest fish that he had ever seen and bigger than he had ever heard of.” The ultimate is now demanded of the craft which a half-century of fishing has taught him.
It is a tale superbly told and in the telling Ernest Hemingway uses all the craft his hard, disciplined trying over so many years has given him. Both craft–writing and fishing–are clearly in mind when the old man Santiago thinks of the strangeness of his powers as fisherman. “The thousand times that he had proved it meant nothing. Now he was proving it again. Each time was a new time and he never thought about the past when he was doing it.” When the boy who took care of him asked if he was strong enough now for a truly big fish, he said, “I think so. And there are many tricks.”
In “Big Two-Hearted River,” one of the best and happiest of his early short stories, Hemingway sent a young man very like himself off alone on a fishing trip in completely deserted country in northern Michigan. They young man, Nick, needed to be alone and to control his thinking with physical tiredness and to get back to something in himself to which memories of fishing seemed to offer a clue.
The actual fishing was even better than his memories of it. He “felt all the old feeling.” The trip was a success because Nick, grateful for the purity of his pleasure, was able to set himself limits. He did not go into the deep water of the swamp where the biggest fish were, but where it might be impossible to land them. “In the fast deep water, in the half light, the fishing would be tragic. In the swamp fishing was a tragic adventure. Nick did not want it.” There was plenty of time for that kind of fishing in the days to come.
“The Old Man and the Sea” written more than twenty-five years later, in the maturity of Hemingway’s art, is a novella whose action is directly, cleanly and, as he would say, “truly” told. And in it Hemingway has described a fishing adventure which is tragic, or as close to tragedy as fishing may be. In “The Old Man and the Sea,” as in the early “Big Two-Hearted River,” the art and the truth come from a sense of limits. In the new story, however, a man exceeds the limits, and pays a price for it that is more than his own suffering.
The line of dramatic action in “The Old Man and the Sea” curves up and down with a classic purity of design to delight the makers of textbooks. But what Santiago brings back suggests something new about Hemingway himself, defines an attitude never so clearly present in his other work.
Hemingway’s heroes have nearly always been defeated, or have died, and have lost what they loved, even though the stories seemed at first to celebrate purely physical courage and prowess. The important thing was the code fought by, and keeping the right feeling toward what was fought for, and when something had been won, not to let the sharks have it.
Usually the hero has been alone in his defeat, like Lieutenant Henry in “Farewell to Arms,” walking back to his hotel in the rain, or Robert Jordan dying at the bridge in “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” or Harry Morgan, also a Gulf fisherman, in “To Have and Have Not,” gasping out, with a bullet through his stomach, “One man alone ain’t got no bloody. . .chance.”
Often his people have been profoundly bitter in defeat, like Belmonte, the matador, in “The Sun Also Rises,” sick with a fistula, jeered at by the crowd, putting his head on the barrera, not seeing or hearing anything, just going through his pain, or the demoted Colonel Cantwell in “Across the River and into the Trees,” trying to find abusive enough epithets for Truman and the political generals and a writer whose face he doesn’t like. “Seems like when they get started they don’t leave a guy nothing,” the boy says at the end of “My Old Man.”
This is the nothingness, the “nada” of the famous parody of the Lord’s Prayer in “A Clean Well-Lighted Place.” This is the world of the non-religious existentialists like Heidegger and Sartre, a world of self-imposed codes and devotions sustained wholly by the courage and will of the individual, by his capacity for facing his own truths, for leading an “authentic” existence. If he fails, he encounters nothingness, meaninglessness, both in human society and the indifferent realm of nature.
In “The Old Man and the Sea,” it is all quite different. The old man has learned humility, which he knew “was not disgraceful, and carried no less of true pride.” Humility understands the limits of what a man can do alone, and knows how much his being, the worth and humanity of his being, depends on community with other men and with nature, which is here the sea. Santiago has the language to express this, as the American Harry Morgan did not. Santiago speaks in those formalized idioms from the Romance languages which in so many of Hemingway’s stories have served to express ideas of dignity, propriety and love. Santiago lives in a good town where he had been happy with his wife, and where there is now the boy. He had taught the boy fishing, and the boy loves him. “QuÈ va,” the boy says devotedly. “There are many good fishermen and some great ones. But there is only you.”
Hemingway we know was himself a champion, a great winner of boxing matches and game fishing contests at Key West and in the Bahamas in the Thirties. But in the later stories, in an uncomfortably personal way, it seemed not enough for the hero to know he was a champion. He needed adulation from those around him, from waiters, people of old families and especially sexually satisfied women who had so little being apart from him that they created none of the moral demands, the difficult ups and downs of any normal human relationship.
It is a little like this with Santiago and the boy, but the old man, to repeat, has humility, and the shared craft of fishing is a reality between them. What he brings back to the boy at the end of the story implies a human continuity and development that far transcends this individual relationship. When Santiago says “Man is not made for defeat,” he is not thinking primarily of the individual.
Even without the boy Santiago is not alone on a sea, which, with its creatures, he knows well and loves with discrimination. The sea is feminine for him, as it is not for the motorboat men. The Gulf Stream takes him out where he wants to go, and the trade winds bring him back, with lights of Havana to guide him. When the huge marlin strikes, he is bound in shared suffering with a fellow creature for whom he finds adjectives like “calm” and “beautiful” and “noble.” Santiago does not like to kill, and he does like to think, except about sin, which he is not sure he believes in.
Santiago’s simplicity together with the articulateness of his soliloquies sometimes makes him seem a personified attitude of his complex creator rather than a concrete personality in his own right. The action is wonderfully particularized, but not the man to whom it happens and who gives it meaning. The talk of baseball, of the “great DiMaggio” and the “Tigres” of Detroit does not help in this. And the references to sin inevitably recall that other American story of the pursuit of a big fish in which Melville went rather more deeply down among “the strong, troubled, murderous thinkings of the masculine sea,” that dark invisible sphere formed “in fright” as well as love.
But these are simply the bounds rather than the faults of a short tale magnificently told. Like “Across the River and into the Trees,” “The Old Man and the Sea” (a September Book-of-the-Month dual choice) is an interruption in the long major work which has engaged Hemingway since the war. But it is not a disturbing interruption, as “Across the River” sometimes was in its moments of tastelessness and spleen. In his imagination of the fishing in “The Old Man and the Sea,” Hemingway has, like the young man in “Big Two-Hearted River,” got back to something good and true in himself, that has always been there. And with it are new indications of humility and maturity and a deeper sense of being at home in life which promise well for the novel in the making. Hemingway is still a great writer, with the strength and craft and courage to go far out, and perhaps even far down, for the truly big ones.
Mr. Davis, Professor of English at Smith College, writes frequently of the techniques of creative writing.

Where is Hemingway’s Soul? Writer Michael Patrick Shiels looks for answers.

Where is Hemingway’s soul? A writer says he knows.

Very nice article. Some photos added by me. Best, Christine

Modern America’s most revered, complex and troubled novelist Ernest Hemingway – the man known as “Papa” – traveled (and took his readers) to battlefields and bars in places such as the beaches of Normandy and the canals of Venice, plus the Congo, Caribbean and China, to name a few.

Hemingway hunted German U-boats (from his fishing boat) off Key West; survived multiple plane crashes; and avoided being gored at the “Running of the Bulls,” in Pamplona, Spain before doing himself in with his favorite shotgun on an early July day near Sun Valley, Idaho.

Hem statue in Bar, Havana

Robert Wheeler authored “Hemingway’s Havana: A Reflection of the Writer’s Life in Cuba,” featuring rich photography, and “Hemingway’s Paris: A Writer’s City in Words and Images.”

Since the sun never sets on Hemingway’s logistical legacy, where, I asked Wheeler, does he think Hemingway’s soul is most palpable: Petoskey? Paris? Pamplona?

Hem married to Hadley in Horton Bay Michigan

“I would have to say based on my travels Hemingway’s spirit can be found beautifully in Havana. I think the spirit of him as a young apprentice writer in love with Hadley is alive and well in Paris,” said Wheeler. “But in Havana you can find his spirit not only walking in the sea breeze along the Malecon, but also in the various cafes he frequented.”

Hemingway drank mojitos in Havana at the earthy La Bodeguita del Medio; and his “Papa Doble” daiquiris at the snazzy La Floridita, where a life-sized statue of him is seated at the bar. Most travelers to Havana make a pilgrimage to visit Hemingway’s former home “Finca Vigia” and its grounds, which has been restored by Lansing-based Christman Company.

Finca Vigia

“You can especially feel Hemingway’s presence through the voices of the people there who knew him or knew of him. He left them with beautiful memories and with tears,” said Wheeler, who researched the book by traveling to Cuba via Toronto.

“I’ve never flown to Cuba on a flight from the United States, but there are certain ways you can,” Wheeler explained. (Canadians, by contrast to U.S. citizens, can fly freely to Havana due to the absence of a trade embargo.) “Americans have to provide a reason why they are traveling there. It’s very easy, though, to say, for instance, that you’re writing an article for your local newspaper. Then you maintain a record of that and keep your receipts and have an itinerary you can show if need be.”

Verandas at the finch

Wheeler’s first Hemingway read was “The Garden of Eden,” which was published posthumously in 1986.

“From the second I opened that book I was hooked,” he said. “It was a foreign land; it was a man and woman on an extended honeymoon in Mediterranean France. After that I went on to read Hemingway’s Nick Adams series, so, in a sense, I went from France right over to Michigan.”

Hemingway set the Nick Adams stories in Northern Michigan towns such as Horton Bay and Mancelona where he grew up summering on Walloon Lake. A life-sized statue of young Ernest Hemingway was unveiled in the center of Petoskey in summer of 2017.

The statue unveiled last year in Petoskey, Michigan of Young Ernest Hemingway

Could another Wheeler book featuring Hemingway’s roots in Northern Michigan be in the works?

ContactTravel Writer Michael Patrick Shiels at His radio program may be heard weekday mornings on 92.1 FM. His latest book is “I Call Him Mr. President – Stories of Fishing, Golf and Life with my Friend George H.W. Bush”

Thank you, Michael Patrick Sheils for this article as well as Robert Wheeler for his book on Hemingway and Cuba. Best, Christine

All Photos for a change

Hem with boys and cat
hem back row right
1918 Nurse Agnes von Kurowsky and American Red Cross volunteer Ernest Hemingway, Milan, Italy. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
Hemingway with Patrick, John “Bumby”, and Gregory “Gigi”), at Club de Cazadores del Cerro, Cuba. Photograph in Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

Below are a few photos that are not published as often as some. Hope you enjoy them. Best, Christine


Hem and his father
Hem with his beloved Black Dog (a spaniel stray that adopted Hem)

hem and Mary
The early days in PARIS, On the left, Hadley with Bumby
Hadley near the time of her wedding
Hem and Gregory, his third son


Hemingway and Bumby/Jack, his first born
Early love in WWI Agnes Von Kurowsky

Enough photos for Today!  C

Thank you, Brandon King

I posted this in January but i read it again last night and it deserves to be posted again. A man after my own heart. Please read. I added some different photos. Best to all, Christine

Lessons from Hemingway: A guide to life

Brandon King / Red Dirt Report
“A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway.

YUKON, Okla. — I’m sitting an office surrounded by books I’ve read time after time. Each word, each stanza says something different yet I keep reading.

This is what it must feel like to be religious and captured by something through and through.

Each day, I attempt to write something new and original in hopes to capture the spirit of something yet to be said.

This, and many other lessons, I learned from one of the greatest American writers who ever lived.

Ernest Hemingway is more than a writer; he is something which doesn’t pass through life often.

Hemingway was a man of originality who cursed clichés and lived as though death bit at his heels. Eventually, he would give up running.

I began reading Hemingway shortly after high school. As an 18-year- old who had grown up in the small, yet growing, town of Yukon, culture was a commodity few and far between. It was as barren as it was lonely. At the time, I was reading pieces from writers like Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot. They were powerful yet they lacked a punch I wanted to read.

Hem and Scott
Young Ezra

It wasn’t until a trip to Half-Price Books which my perspectives would change.

A blue book was fringed on the corners from being dropped too often. In silver letters, it read A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. As a literary nerd, I had heard the name yet the words and meanings were not there yet.

Since this time, I have read all but two of Hemingway’s pieces. In a near obsessive state, I have found a voice which echoes through the halls of time and continues to speak to those tired of the monotony of modern living.

With each novel and short story, Hemingway provides a lesson for each reader. This should be the goal for any writer worth his or her words. Without meaning, a writer is no more than words on a deaf ear.

Before reading Hemingway’s work, I would find myself asking questions that people could only speculate the answer to. By the time I was finished, I would wonder why I hadn’t thought of that solution before. Though his work deals with death and despair mixed with the feelings of age and war, Hemingway shows us that the world can be seen in any light.

Subjects like love and loss are covered in almost every piece of work. It’s easy to summarize the passing of someone you once loved as painful. It’s quite another thing to express it the way Hemingway did.

Green hills of Africa

For most readers, we all have experienced what it’s like to fall in love with someone and have the hands of death snatch them before their time.

At least I have.

the Sun Also Rises. He lost Brett.

The lessons of Hemingway can give those without a voice a map to find how to express themselves. This is the problem with society as it progresses; just because civilization continues to survive does not mean that civilization grows.

For you, the reader, when was the last time you picked up a novel and read it for what it was worth? When was the last time you enjoyed yourself as you read something so profound that you could feel it touch your heart?

According to the PEW Research Institute, 26 percent of American adults have not read a single book over the past year. This means that no new ideas and possibly no creative endeavor has been established in over a year.

I could list every reason as to why you should learn the lessons of Hemingway but nothing good ever came free. As I’ve learned from Hemingway, “there is no friend as loyal as a book.”

Lessons come by easier for those wanting more out of life. Complacency is a mutual dish that is best served to those who want to survive. For writers and free-thinkers like Hemingway, there is more to life than survival.

It’s the stakes of being original and true. Listed below are the books that have helped me deal with certain issues. If you are interested, please invest in your local library and read on.

To quote Hemingway, “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

A Farewell to Arms: Depression, death and love

The Sun Also Rises: Masculinity, maturity and adventure

The Old Man and the Sea: Aging, death, trying against all odds

For Whom the Bell Tolls: War, destruction, and courage

A Moveable Feast: Dealing with family, memories, and depression

The Garden of Eden: Skepticism, faith and originality



Brandon King

Brandon King is a journalism student at OCCC, working towards becoming a professional writer….

Drew Barrymore: Hemingway Fan. Who knew?

DREW’S 10 Favorite books to take with her to a Desert Island  (Media added by me).

Who knew that Drew Barrymore likes Hemingway?

On her list of her 10 favorite books that she’d take if marooned on a desert island she had Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. Her comment was “I defy a woman to read this and not cry. It is so romantic, and epic – even when it takes place in one room.”

Since I’m sure you’re curious by now, the other 9 were the following:

The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz. “This is a book I found at a very hard time in my life and it rescued me. It offers succinct and approachable advice about how to behave in life.”

Still Life with Woodpecker, by Tom Robbins. “A love story that’s filled with poetic analogy, this man speaks in strange and delicious descriptions.”


Endurance, by Alfred Lansing. “This taught me that if you lead, you need to take peoples personalities into account when you guide them. Shackleton is a brilliant hero.”

Frannie and Zoey, by J.D. Salinger. “This book surprised me. I didn’t see it coming and yet it wasn’t trying to trick me; it made me feel like a welcome fly on the wall.”

Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris. “If anyone knows what it’s like to be alone on Christmas I’m sure they will have wished they had this book. It’s a humor guide for what could seem lonely and it sets you up for joy.”

Hmm, a bit of a dark message there!

Women, by Charles Bukowski. “Bukowski is my favorite, for me he was always on point.”

Full of Life, by John Fante. “This mans perspective of the journey of pregnancy and birth is an eye opener into the member of the other sexes perspective.”

Oh The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss. “Because you sometimes need to be reminded your journey is meaningful in the sweetest way. Hope for all ages.”

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, by Robert Fulghum. “Even as adults we need to be forced to go back to basics. This book is nostalgic but makes you think.”

And then of course, rounding at the list, A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway.

The 100 Greatest Novels Ever Written? You be the judge.

So! What say you? Are these the 100 Greatest Novels ever? There can only be one per author (Explaining why there is only one Hemingway novel on the list!) These are not in any order of greatness but are merely alphabetical. So here you go. PBS has put this together so read Jay Oliver’s article. Interesting!


Jay Oliver May 23, 2018

Using the public opinion polling service “YouGov,” PBS and its producers conducted a demographically and statistically representative survey asking around 7,200 Americans to name their most-loved title, according to the web page.  PBS said tallied results were organized by an advisory panel of 13 literary professionals.

Criteria allowed for works of fiction from all over the world, as long as the novels were published in English. They allowed only one title per author.

Reporters and editors in the Yakima Herald-Republic’s newsroom were given copies of the list to find out which titles were the most popular — and to see who’s read the most from their newsroom staff.

The most widely read title by newsroom respondents is Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Two books tied as the second most-read — “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” by Mark Twain and E.B. White’s “Charlotte’s Web” — while George Orwell’s “1984” was the third most widely read in the newsroom.

John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” and “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens tied with C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia” series as the fourth most read titles.

Rounding out the top five was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” which was read by as many folks as two other series — J.R.R. Tolkein’s “The Lord of the Rings” and “Harry Potter” from J.K. Rowling.

Here’s the List (alphabetical not by greatest of the great.)

1984 by George Orwell
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Alex Cross Mysteries (series) by James Patterson
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Another Country by James Baldwin
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
The Chronicles of Narnia (series) by C.S. Lewis
The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Doña Bárbara by Rómulo Gallegos
Dune by Frank Herbert
Fifty Shades of Grey (series) by E.L. James
Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
Foundation (series) by Isaac Asimov
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Games of Thrones (series) by George R.R. Martin
Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Godfather by Mario Puzo
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
Hatchet (series) by Gary Paulsen
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Hunger Games (series) by Suzanne Collins
The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Left Behind (series) by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Looking for Alaska by John Green
The Lord of the Rings (series) by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Martian by Andy Weir
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Mind Invaders by Dave Hunt
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
Outlander (series) by Diana Gabaldon
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
The Shack by William P. Young
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
The Stand by Stephen King
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Swan Song by Robert McCammon
Tales of the City (series) by Armistead Maupin
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
This Present Darkness by Frank E. Peretti
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Twilight Saga (series) by Stephenie Meyer
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
The Watchers by Dean Koontz
The Wheel of Time (series) by Robert Jordan
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

This is me: Hmm. Food for thought. I was at first shocked that For Whom the Bell Tolls  was not here but as noted, only one book per author permitted.  Happy Memorial Day to all!  C