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The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories (Scribner Classics) Hardcover – Deluxe Edition, July 6, 1999

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Editorial Reviews Review

Returning from a Kenyan safari in 1932, Ernest Hemingway quickly devised a literary trophy to add to his stash of buffalo hides and rhino horns. To this day, Green Hills of Africa seems an almost perverse paean to the thrills of bloodshed, in which the author cuts one notch after another in his gun barrel and declares, "I did not mind killing anything." Four years later, however, Hemingway came up with a more accomplished spin on his African experiences--a pair of them, in fact, which he collected with eight other tales in The Snows of Kilimanjaro. The title story is a meditation on corruption and mortality, two subjects that were already beginning to preoccupy the 37-year-old author. As the protagonist perishes of gangrene out in the bush, he recognizes his own failure of nerve as a writer:
Now he would never write the things that he had saved to write until he knew enough to write them well. Well, he would not have to fail at trying to write them either. Maybe you could never write them, and that was why you put them off and delayed the starting. Well he would never know, now.
In the story, at least, the hero gets some points for stoic acceptance, as well as an epiphanic vision of Kilimanjaro's summit, "wide as all the world, great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun." (The movie version is another matter: Gregory Peck makes it back to the hospital, loses a leg, and is a better person for it.) But Hemingway's other great white hunter, in "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber," is granted a less dignified exit. This time the issue is cowardice, another of Papa's bugaboos: poor Francis is too wimpy to face down a wounded lion, let alone satisfy his treacherous wife in bed. Yet he does manage a last-minute triumph before dying--an absolute assertion of courage--which makes the title a hair less ironic than it initially seems. No wonder these are two of the highest-caliber (so to speak) tales in the Hemingway canon. --Bob Brandeis --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


"'Stamped with the urgency of Hemingway's style - revealing tenderness of feeling beneath descriptions of brutality'" Guardian "In a class by itself - the country, at all hours shines bright and clear in these pages" Daily Telegraph --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Scribner Classics
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Classic Edition edition (July 6, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684862212
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684862217
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ernest Hemingway ranks as the most famous of twentieth-century American writers; like Mark Twain, Hemingway is one of those rare authors most people know about, whether they have read him or not. The difference is that Twain, with his white suit, ubiquitous cigar, and easy wit, survives in the public imagination as a basically, lovable figure, while the deeply imprinted image of Hemingway as rugged and macho has been much less universally admired, for all his fame. Hemingway has been regarded less as a writer dedicated to his craft than as a man of action who happened to be afflicted with genius. When he won the Nobel Prize in 1954, Time magazine reported the news under Heroes rather than Books and went on to describe the author as "a globe-trotting expert on bullfights, booze, women, wars, big game hunting, deep sea fishing, and courage." Hemingway did in fact address all those subjects in his books, and he acquired his expertise through well-reported acts of participation as well as of observation; by going to all the wars of his time, hunting and fishing for great beasts, marrying four times, occasionally getting into fistfights, drinking too much, and becoming, in the end, a worldwide celebrity recognizable for his signature beard and challenging physical pursuits.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By on October 15, 1997
Format: Paperback
"The Snows of Kilimanjaro" contains some of Hemingway's finer short stories. And like many of his works, they resemble his life. Everything from his childhood to his later years in Africa are material for these tales. The stories of Hemingway's recurrent character, Nick Adams, who some say is Hemingway himself, are contained in this book also. All the works bear his distinct imprint, even though many are under ten pages in length. "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" is what I consider Hemingway's most potent short story of all. This collection is a great primer for those who are unacquainted with Hemingway's work and wish to discover his talent.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By JR Pinto on August 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
This very short little volume serves as the perfect introduction to the work and style of Ernest Hemmingway. It contains ten of his most popular short stories. THIS IS BY NO MEANS A COMPLETE COLLECTION OF HIS GREATEST HITS. Notably absent from this collection is "Hills Like White Elephants." However, it does contain such perennial favorites as "The Killers," "A Clean Well-Lighted Place," and "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber." Ultimately, the consumer (like myself) will be tempted to buy The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemmingway, which is not much more expensive.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Plume45 on April 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
The editors at Scribners have chosen ten of Hemingway's short stories for this Paperback edition. Set both in America and
abroad, the subjects of these tales deal with some of his favorite--albeit morbid--literary interests: death, drink, war and illness. Possibly influenced by Anderson's anthology, WINESBURG OHIO, the author actually chooses one character, Nick Adams, to appear in several unrelated stories. Ranging in length from 3 - 33 pages these stories are the offspring of the imagination and morality of a Man's author. His protagonists include a solider, boxer, gambler, game hunters--even simple waiters. Set in Africa, Italy, France and the Chicago environs, this collection will transport readers back to the era of the Lost Generation, when personal choices were often painfully wrong, resulting in social and moral disaster. Vintage Heminway, with subtle hints of his interest in suicide.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
Quite simply, "The Snows of Kilimajaro" is the greatest short story I have ever read. Hemingway's poignant prose powerfully touches the reader with its rather candid narration and lack of verbosity. A stirring portrait of potential wasted and talent corrupted, this story explores the classic Hemingway themes of death and corruption. As the protagonist faces death and bemoans the ruination of his talent by "betrayals of himself and what he believed in" and by "drinking so much he blunted the edge of his perception," the reader realizes the significance of living life in such a manner that when death beckons, the end will come without any regrets, could-haves, would-haves or should-haves. Perhaps no author embodied this philosophy more than Hemingway; a man who truly lived a life without regrets.
Be prepared: this story shall transform your philosophy on existence. Oh yeah, and the other stories aren't half-bad either :-)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nancy on May 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
There are two exceptional stories in this volume: The Snows of Kilimanjaro and The Short Happy Life of Francis Mccomber. Both of these stories satisfied my need for other places and experiences while exploring the familiar ground of long term, mildly satisfactory relationships. The other stories are hit and miss, but still they are Hemingway's and so, if you like his work as I do, they hit the mark more often than they fall short.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Paul-John Ramos on April 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
Ernest Hemingway, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954, left behind an extensive canon of short stories that are varying in quality. This variation is no better realized than in 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories,' a collection of ten shorts written during the 1920s and 30s that are amongst Hemingway's most popular. The best-known is its title story 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro,' which was adapted into a 1952 motion picture with Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward, and Ava Gardner.

'The Snows of Kilimanjaro' pairs with 'The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber' as outstanding stories of this volume and are accordingly first and last. Published in 1936 by Esquire Magazine, 'Snows' tells the story of Harry, a well-traveled American author, who is dying of an untreated infection on the African plains. 'Snows' is a poignant tale about the onslaught of death and how man inevitably leaves this world with unfinished business. The story makes excellent use of flashback that transports us to France, Austria, and Turkey while reminding us that Harry will leave his experiences unrecorded.

'The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,' published in 1936 by Cosmopolitan Magazine, has an existential feel and seems impelled by Hemingway's always-lingering depression. The story takes place during an African hunting trip in which Macomber and his wife, both middle-aged Americans, join a British gun-for-hire while their marriage is on the verge of collapse. The story is a fine commentary on human sexual impulse and devotes much attention to the thought processes of its characters. 'Short Happy Life,' which features hunting scenes, also proves Hemingway's uncanny knack for describing wildlife, their habits, and their surroundings.
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