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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A revealing light on the life of a writer and his muses
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,...
Published on April 12, 2000 by Mariano L. Bernardez

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11 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Neither fish nor fowl
As an aficionado of literary biographies, I was intrigued by this one's unique concept. In the end though, I can't say it's more than an honorable failure.
If the idea was to enrich our understanding of Hemingway by examining him from these feminine angles, it simply doesn't work. The portrait of the author that emerges is less focused and cohesive than that...
Published on December 8, 2001 by Eric Krupin


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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A revealing light on the life of a writer and his muses, April 12, 2000
This review is from: The Hemingway Women (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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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE REAL HEMINGWAY, December 7, 2007
By 
Anne Salazar "inveterate reader" (Huntington Beach, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Hemingway Women (Paperback)
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.

Although Hemingway lived and loved in the early to mid 1900s, it seems a long time ago; the world has changed so much! No longer do we see artists and writers living as paupers in France, as expats and proud of it! It was a different time and place, to be sure. But it's fun to read about.

I have not read a lot of Hemingway's novels (The Old Man and the Sea enthralled me when I first read it), but you don't have to be familiar with his writing to love the man and this book. This book, like no other biography I have read, shows the man through the eyes of the women he loved, and resented, and ultimately betrayed, beginning with his mother and continuing on through four wives and several beautiful women who he chased and wooed but for various reasons never made lasting connections with. Please read this book. It is important and entertaining and scholarly all at once.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight to Hemingway, January 19, 2002
By 
maureen horvath (Savannah, Georgia, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Hemingway Women (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
5.0 out of 5 stars A captivating read, January 9, 2012
By 
ShoeLovr (San Diego, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hemingway Women (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice reference., July 13, 2008
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This review is from: The Hemingway Women (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Reads almost like fiction, March 31, 2006
By 
Janine (Miami, Florida) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Hemingway Women (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
5.0 out of 5 stars A good interesting read.., September 5, 2011
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This review is from: The Hemingway Women (Paperback)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, March 25, 2014
By 
Hovercraft (St. Louis, MO) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Hemingway Women (Paperback)
After plowing through Paula McLain's THE PARIS WIFE I felt the need to fill in the gaps. What a delight to find this well written and entertaining book. Far and away superior to McLain's best seller. Perhaps through word-of-mouth and more publicity by the publisher this book will get the well deserved attention it deserves. If you really want the truth about Hemmingway and the women in his life read this one and save your money.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! A well-written book that details the women that truly changed Hemingway's life., April 26, 2014
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This review is from: The Hemingway Women (Paperback)
After reading several books about Hemingway's life in Paris, the successful years of publishing that followed, and the odd mixture of personalities that soon populated his stories, a realistic and provocative look into the women he loved and married. The puzzle pieces come together to answer who best influenced his female characters. Best read in a long time!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HEMINGWAY BORN TOO SOON, November 13, 2012
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This review is from: The Hemingway Women (Paperback)
This is one of the best researched books I've ever read, and that is saying a lot. The late Bernice Kert really did her homework!

She quotes Hemingway telling a friend that his mother never forgave him for not getting killed in the war (WW1) so she could become a Gold Star Mother. While the comment made me chuckle, it explains how he felt about his mother. Did his mother really say this to him? Doubtful. If so, she meant it in jest. In reading this book you get to know the unhealthy dynamics of his relationship with his mother.

If Hemingway had been born in 1955 or later, he would not have had to marry all his mistresses. But he was born in 1899 and in the era he grew up in, nice men did not have sex with women out of marriage. The four women she writes about who married Hemingway are all pretty much cookie-cutter gals. All masculine, no-nonsense, putty in his hands, subservient, madly in love with Ernest. So 1920's. However, it appears his wives went after him, not the other way around. He was a very handsome young man. There is no denying that.

This book has everything you ever wanted to know about Ernest Hemingway but were afraid to ask. If you read this excellent book you won't have to shell out extra money for the biographies and autobiographies (as I did) of his wives.

There were chapters that I really cringed through. The African safaris that Hemingway and his later wives conducted where they spent all day murdering wildlife with complete abandon. He spent his life trying to be the macho man everyone thought he was. He and his wives suffered numerous accidents, illnesses and so on. Mary, his last wife, was a walking disaster, it appears. To boot, Hemingway could have cared less about the pain (physical, emotional & spiritual) these women were feeling. Suck it up! Be a man! And they all tried.

You learn at the end of the book that Mary Hemingway was having a very difficult time as Ernest grew older. He became totally smitten with a very young titled Italian girl. Like all his other women she was thin-ish, athletic and thought he was a prince among men. As he had been to wife 1, 2 and 3, once the honeymoon phase was over, he became verbally abusive to Mary. The book claims Mary suggested they separate. She got an apartment in NYC and he remained in Key West. They eventually reunited.

She knew after he returned to Idaho from being treated in a mental hospital that he was fragile. He had tried to kill himself with his shotgun but was stopped in time. And yet she kept the keys to the basement where his guns were stored (with ammunition) on a windowsill upstairs where he could (and did) easily take them. A few days after the first attempt he succeeded. She claims it sounded like someone closing a dresser drawer very loudly. I think not, Ms. Mary. If someone shoots a shotgun in a house you know it is a shotgun not a piece of furniture being abused! However, he did put the gun in his mouth and his head might have muffled the explosion. One can only imagine what, if anything, was left his Ernest Hemingway's head!

His first wife, Hadley, comes off as a Saint. I am sure she was one. She went on to have another life after Hemingway and died happily. Hemingway's father killed himself. Hadley's father killed himself. Martha Gellhorn, his third wife, killed herself. Hemingway's grand-daughter actress Margo Hemingway killed herself. This was one sad family.

Kert paints a happy portrait of young Ernest and Hadley. His wives tended to be older than he was, it appears. All of the wives come from well-to-do families and their relatives send generous checks to keep the Hemingways afloat through the years. Even during the Depression the checks kept coming. No doing without for the Hemingways!

Another cringe-inducing chapter (or chapters) reveals the children (Hadley's son and Pauline's two sons) were left with nannies and relatives all over the world. Ernest and his first son, Bumby, are on a train when he gets word his father has killed himself. Hemingway leaves the youngster with a Porter to continue the journey while Ernest departs and heads for home! Can you imagine doing this with your own small child? But they did. Hadley and Pauline dumped their children continuously to travel all over the world with Ernest on his adventures. Not to do so would be marital suicide as he was constantly bombarded by gorgeous, sexy, and intelligent women. Oy! If only he had been born in the 50s!

By the end of the book you are so mentally exhausted it takes days to recuperate. It is not one of these books you can read front-to-back in one day. The book was meant to be savored like a rare wine, not gulped down like a cola in one sitting. She did a remarkable job in finally painting a portrait of the long-lost and forgotten wives. There is very little information about the children because they were seen and not heard. I guess I will have to read their books on life with Ernest Hemingway to find out how their stories end.

If you have any interest in Ernest Hemingway the husband, not the writer, this is a book you will truly enjoy reading. I never cared for Hemingway or his writings, but did have a curiosity about his life and his many wives. Very glad I found this book. It answers so many questions that were left unanswered in his life and death. A must read.
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The Hemingway Women
The Hemingway Women by Bernice Kert (Paperback - December 17, 1998)
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