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The Hemingway Women Paperback – December 17, 1998


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The Hemingway Women + Paris Without End: The True Story of Hemingway's First Wife + A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 556 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (December 17, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393318354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393318357
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #571,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

On the overloaded shelf of Hemingway biographies, this perceptive group portrait claims a unique spot. Focusing on his wives, lovers, and female friends, Bernice Kert highlights aspects of the writer's personality that are often shrouded by his hypermasculine public image. Women were certainly attracted by Hemingway's swaggering charm and boundless vitality, but they also discerned an underlying strain of sensitivity and vulnerability he concealed from the world. Although a friend once remarked that Hemingway was the only man he knew who really hated his mother, Kert's stereotype-shattering depiction of their combative relationship limns Grace Hall Hemingway in more nuanced terms than her son ever did and reminds readers that much of Hemingway's creativity and competitiveness came from her. The wives emerge as people in their own right, though journalist Martha Gelhorn was the only one to find her career more interesting than being Mrs. Hemingway. Kert's portraits of the unwitting models for the author's heroines reveal significant differences between the actual Agnes von Kurowsky and the fictional Catherine Barkley in A Farewell to Arms, between Duff Twysden and Brett Ashley in The Sun Also Rises. Hemingway tended to write about the ideal female; Kert restores the real women who shaped his life and art. --Wendy Smith

Review

“Absorbing. . . . Hemingway's life [becomes] a symphony of movements defined by the women he loved.” (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt - The New York Times)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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If you really want the truth about Hemmingway and the women in his life read this one and save your money.
Hovercraft
He admired Martha Gellhorn, the wife with by far the most spunk, for being a good journalist, until they were married.
Anne Salazar
If you have any interest in Ernest Hemingway the husband, not the writer, this is a book you will truly enjoy reading.
Anna V. Carroll

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Mariano L. Bernardez on April 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book, written with style and interest, is a sound ,balanced and well documented research on the lives and marriages of Ernst Hemingway with this four wives , Hadley Richardson (portayed in A Moveable Feast), Pauline Pfeiffer (Green Hills of Africa), Martha Gelhorn -a writer herself- (The fifth column) and Mary Welsh (A dangerous summer), inteligently ilustrated, amusing and covering also his famous lovers: Adriana Ivancich (his Renata in Across the river and under the trees) and Jane Kendall Mason (Brett Ashley herself in the Sun Also Rises) and the affairs that ended and started his marriages leaving a lasting pattern in his literature. It's an amusing and interesting book for those who love, hate or ignore Hemingway. It also explores his difficult and influencing relationship with his mother.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Anne Salazar on December 7, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is as much fun to read as a great novel and has all the ingredients of a great read, as they say: love, hate, success, adventure, etc. For the most part, Ernest Hemingway is remembered as a mans's man, an adventurer who loved bullfights, safaris, hunting, shooting, fishing. But at heart he was a man who needed to be taken care of, but resented every woman who tried. All of his wives were from the same basic mold: adverturers and writers (was Hadley a writer?) and all of them wanted nothing more than to be with this exciting man who loved and adored her. That is, until they got married. Then the fun for him was over and he resented being taken care of by a woman who he thought of as a sex object, and he couldn't fathom that they might be able to cohabit the same body. In his letters he pleads for his women to always love him and take care of him, but in reality he resented them for doing just that. He admired Martha Gellhorn, the wife with by far the most spunk, for being a good journalist, until they were married. He wanted her to stay home with him, but she resisted his control. So what does he do? He meets another journalist, Mary Welsh, and immediately, on first sight, falls in love with her and begs for her to take care of him and to always love him. Which she did. And he immediately hated her for it. And it destroyed her.

It is so ironic that the man who professed to hate his father for committing suicide (albeit blaming his mother for it) would in the end take his own life. Of course, by that time he was a shell of the adventurer/writer/lover, and was beset by illness, both psychiatric and otherwise, none of which he would allow treatment for.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By maureen horvath on January 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
Bernice Kert has given me my first true understanding of who Hemingway was and why he did the things he did. His choice of women, more so the women he married and the woman who gave birth to him are phsycoanalysis at it best. I now see the "Peter Pan" in Hemingway, not the masculine adventurer,hunter and "man's man". I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and recommend it highly.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By ShoeLovr on January 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was inspired to read this book after reading The Paris Wife. Hadley Richardson was such an interesting woman in her own right, and reading The Paris Wife made me want to read about the other three wives and what they were like. What I loved most about this book was the picture it paints of Hemingway himself. He could be a real brute, but at the same time what a fascinatingly flawed human being. Nothing I didn't love about this book. Very well written and hard to put down.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Oksol VINE VOICE on July 13, 2008
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Update after second reading: Author obtained primary material from the subjects themselves; this may be the most important "new" biography of Hemingway to date. Highly recommend it after you've read earlier biographies of Hemingway; this can be read as first bio of Hemingway, but I think you will enjoy it more if you've read others first.

Earlier review: This book will save you the trouble of reading the autobiographies, the biographies, and selected letters of Ernest Hemingway and these five women (his mother and four wives).

But you will enjoy reading the autobiographies and selected letters first, and then coming back to this book to fill in the gaps.

The writing is stilted -- often reads like a PowerPoint presentation -- compared to the writing actually done by its subjects. Specifically, "How It Was" by Mary Welsh Hemingway is a joy to read, and I recommend that before reading "Hemingway Women."

As a reference to fill in the gaps, this is an important book for the Hemingway fan(atic).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Janine on March 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
I listened to the audio of this book and I really enjoyed it. Honestly, I am not a fan of Hemingway's books and stories but he sure was a complex man. For some reason, I find fascinating the events of the first half of the 20th Century. Living in Miami and having been to the Key West and the Hemingway House several times, made this book so real. If we ever end the ridiculous travel ban to Cuba, I would love to see his house there. This book flows well and the audio narration works.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hattie on September 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book on many different levels. Following his travels from the 20s through the 50s presents a good review of history , while watching his personna develop with fame and fortune, gives an interesting look at the struggle within the creative process.
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