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The Hemingway Patrols: Ernest Hemingway and…

The Hemingway Patrols: Ernest Hemingway and His Hunt for U-Boats

by Terry Mort

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201734,638 (3.63)2
  1. 00
    The Crook Factory by Dan Simmons (alanteder)
    alanteder: Hemingway didn't encounter U-boats on his patrols, but for some fictional Hemingway & the Crook Factory gang vs. the Nazis in Cuba "The Crook Factory" by Dan Simmons is recommended.

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Considering that Hemingway and his Crook Factory cronies (I guess technically the term is for the land-based part of the operation, but I rather like it as an all-encompassing title) never actually encountered any U-Boats, Nazis, Falangists or Fifth-Columnists you might expect this to be a pretty thin volume with a lot of "fishfighting, fish slinging and fishshitting" to paraphrase Zelda Fitzgerald's famous summary of "The Sun Also Rises." Hemingway's third wife Martha Gellhorn would definitely have had a few choice words of a similar nature and probably expressed quite a few of them at the time.

I did actually enjoy Terry Mort's book quite a bit though due to his overall research on U-Boats and the Gulf and Caribbean theatres of World War II and on Hemingway's and Gellhorn's lives before and after their 1940-45 marriage. There were all kinds of tidbits and trivia that were interesting and Mort's description of sea-borne navigation by the stars was very evocative.

The logs of Hemingway's boat Pilar were quite sloppily kept and no great revelations come from there. The single longest entry of a possible distant U-boat sighting is quoted and is quite matter-of-fact. Whether Hemingway was just getting rare war-time fuel for his pleasure boat, gathering research for a future book (which somewhat materialized in the final section of "Islands in the Stream") or occasionally just creating a Boy's Own Adventure for his sons, his joy of the sea comes through in Terry Mort's book.

So along with Erika Robuck's "Hemingway's Girl", Paul Hendrickson's "Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961" and, as Norman Mailer said when introducing Ernest Hemingway's youngest son Gregory's "Papa: A Personal Memoir", this is another book you can put in the column of "finally a book about Hemingway where you don't have to decide he is a son-of-a-bitch."

p.s. If you do want some Hemingway vs. Nazi spies there is always the fictional "The Crook Factory" by Dan Simmons. ( )
  alanteder | Feb 25, 2014 |
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In memory of Sergeant E.V. Mort, who spent countless hours flying in a PBY over the Caribbean and South Atlantic, looking for U-boats
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Ernest Hemingway died by his own hand on July 2, 1961.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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