Ernest Hemingway Biography Of A Man Who Was Larger Than Life

Ernest Hemingway, biography on one of an author who ranks as one of the greatest writers in American history, but his own personal life reads like a fascinating novel.

If anyone could be described as being larger-than-life, American writer, Ernest Hemingway could.

He began life in 1899, as Ernest Miller Hemingway, in Oak Park, Illinois. Reared in an upper middle class environment, his father was a physician and his mother had trained as a singer. The family spend summers in Michigan, were Ernest became a great lover of the outdoors. Biographers describe him rather like Huck Finn, roaming the Michigan woods barefoot and wearing a straw hat. This love of the nature remained with him all his life.

When Ernest graduated High School, his uncle helped him land a job as a reporter on the Kansas City Star. He never attended college. Ernest only stayed at the Star for about six months. Unable to enlist in the armed forces, due to an eyesight problem, Ernest volunteered to drive ambulances for the American Red Cross in Italy.

During his time in Italy, Hemingway was seriously wounded in the legs and feet by shrapnel. He was eventually taken to the Red Cross Hospital in Milan, where he spend part of the summer and fall of 1918.

While cooped up in the hospital Ernest fell in love with a nurse, but their love affair came to an abrupt end, when she jilted him, for an Italian officer. Later, he used some of these experiences in his novel A Farewell to Arms.

Despite his broken love affair with the beautiful nurse, Ernest married his first of four wives, Hadley Richardson in 1921. Soon the couple moved to Paris, where Ernest was part of the literary group later called The Lost Generation.



Ernest and Hadley had one son, Jack, nicknamed Bumby. The family survived on money Ernest made writing short stories and working as a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star. But, they were relatively poor. The couple found the money to travel to Austria and Spain, where Ernest discovered bullfighting and the running of the bulls in Pamplona.

Ernest was not lucky in love. He divorced Hadley in 1927 and married second wife, American heiress Pauline Pfeiffer. They traveled to Key West, Florida, and although they had no real plans to stay, eventually bought a home there. Key West was a laid-back place and Ernest spend a great deal of time deep-sea fishing with friends.

Today, his home is open for visitors and a popular spot for those visiting the city. The house is a Registered National Historic Landmark and guided tours are offered. It was in the Key West home that Hemingway worked on: Death in the Afternoon, Green Hills of Africa, To Have and To Have Not, For Whom the Bell Tolls and his play The Fifth Column, in addition to many short stories.

Ernest spent part of each day writing, but also found time for drinking with his buddies and more fishing, sometimes off the coast of Cuba. He did some traveling to Spain, and Wyoming. Thanks to a generous gift from Pauline's Uncle, they took a much-anticipated African safari, which lasted several months.

However, by the mid-1930s, Ernest was carrying on a quasi-clandestine affair with Martha Gellhorn, also a journalist. In a nutshell, she was blond, beautiful and young. Martha became his third wife in 1940.

During World War II, Ernest spent most of his time in Cuba and Key West. He worked semi-officially, through the US Embassy in Cuba patrolling the seas searching for German submarines on his own boat the Pilar. Then, as a journalist again, he covered D-Day and the final Allied push to victory in Europe. It was during the war he met his final wife, Mary, who he married in 1946.

Through it all, Ernest continued to write. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.

But by the late 1950s Ernest was not well. In 1959, he and Mary moved to Ketchum, Idaho and purchased a house. Besides high blood pressure, he was treated for depression at the Mayo Clinic. In addition, he had never fully recovered from injuries sustained in two planes crashes while on a second safari in Africa. There were several incidents which seemed to indicate suicidal tendencies. On July 2, 1961, Hemingway took his own life with a shotgun. He is buried in a small cemetery in Ketchum.

© High Speed Ventures 2011