Ah, ’tis a good strong yarn, about the sea, and all the legends that surround it.


The Hemingway patrols : Ernest Hemingway and his hunt for U-boats    New York : Scribner, 2009 Terry Mort Journalists United States Biography, Hemingway, Ernest, 1899-1961 Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing.     ix, 254 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG  

From the summer of 1942 until the end of 1943, Ernest Hemingway lived in Havana and spent much of his time in the Gulf Stream hunting German submarines in his wooden fishing boat, The Pilar. This phase of Hemingway’s life has only been briefly touched upon in biographies of Hemingway but was of enormous importance to promoting his image.

Over a year before his patrols the U-boats were torpedoing Allied tankers and threatened America’s ability to wage war in Europe. Hemingway’s patrols were supplied with fuel by the U.S. Navy, and he viewed these missions as both patriotic duty and adventure. More than that they provided some of the sea stories for The Old Man and the Sea and Islands in the Stream.

Terry Mort’s portrait of Hemingway also brings us his wife Martha Gellhorn (who was scornful of Hemingway’s patrols), a naval account of the U-boat attacks in the vicinity, and a reiteration of Hemingway’s claims of what the patrols meant to him. Drawing on the writer’s letters, Gellhorn’s memoirs, and the log of The Pilar, Mort reveals another chapter in the life of a master of self promotion who never found a submarine and spent most of the rest of the war playing poker behind the lines while posing as a war correspondent.

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