I’ve read a fair amount of Ernest Hemingway’s work over the years and a couple Hemingway biographies to boot, but Ken Burns’ Hemingway on PBS captures the essence of the man and shows many of his vulnerabilities.
What surprised me was the number of head injuries Hemingway sustained over his life. He was concussed during his war years as well as being injured by shrapnel which may have affected his circulation in later years. Hemingway was concussed again in Paris while trying to install a lamp. Some of Hemingway’s erratic behavior might have been caused by brain damage from these head injuries, like the Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) many National Football League players suffer from.
In my opinion, Hemingway did his best work in the 1920s with In Our Time, The Sun Also Rises, and A Farewell to Arms. In 1954, Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature, but books like The Old Man and the Sea lack the scope and power of his early books. Are you a Hemingway fan? Do you have a favorite book of his? Did you watch Ken Burns’ Hemingway? GRADE: A