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Ernest Hemingway was 'a man who lived it up to write it down' and his life became the root from which his novels grew. At the age of 18 he was awarded a medal for bravery in the First World War; he honed his literary craft in 1920s Paris; his macho image grew with his love of big-game hunting, deep-sea fishing and bull-fighting and was cemented during the Spanish Civil War, when he survived the bombardment of Madrid. But, by the 1940s, the darkness of his alcoholism and violent rages began to weigh heavily. Hemingway had become the patriarch of American literature but he was plagued by unrelenting demons and an insidious disenchantment with life. In this unflinching portrait, Anthony Burgess explores Hemingways fatal contradictions: his arrogance and self-doubt, his machismo and vulnerability. He reveals a man who was as much a creation as his books yet who, even at his worst, reminds us that to engage literature one has first to engage life.
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