Green Hills of Africa

Green Hills of Africa

Book - 1996
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His second major venture into nonfiction (after Death in the Afternoon, 1932), Green Hills of Africa is Ernest Hemingway's lyrical journal of a month on safari in the great game country of East Africa, where he and his wife Pauline journeyed in December of 1933. Hemingway's well-known interest in -- and fascination with -- big-game hunting is magnificently captured in this evocative account of his trip. In examining the poetic grace of the chase, and the ferocity of the kill, Hemingway also looks inward, seeking to explain the lure of the hunt and the primal undercurrent that comes alive on the plains of Africa. Yet Green Hills of Africa is also an impassioned portrait of the glory of the African landscape, and of the beauty of a wilderness that was, even then, being threatened by the incursions of man.
Hemingway's rich description of the beauty and strangeness of the land and his passion for the sport of hunting combine to give Green Hills of Africa the freshness and immediacy of a deeply felt personal experience that is the hallmark of the greatest travel writing.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 1996, c1963
ISBN: 9780684801292
0684801299
Branch Call Number: HEMINGW
Characteristics: 295 p. : ill

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lukasevansherman
Jul 14, 2014

"It was a new country to us but it had the marks of the oldest countries."
In the early 30s, Hemingway and his then wife Pauline Pfeiffer (who strangely is never fully named in this book) when to Africa on safari and this book was the result. As a non-hunter, it's perhaps unfair to judge, but you do have to wonder what kind of jerk goes to a foreign land to find exotic animals and blast the crap out of them for no good reason. That jerk is Hemingway. While he's still widely read, his image/persona has suffered greatly and justly so. The hard drinking, fighting, shooting, fishing, screwing, dick-swinging masculine American novelist is a rightly endangered species, and Norman Mailer proved just how adolescent and unpleasant this breed could be. Anyway, the book's not bad, but you learn little about hunting and even less about Africa (like where in Africa?). His attitude towards the natives is mildly paternalistic, sometimes insulting ("You bloody savage!") and while this is non-fiction, you do feel he is making up great speeches for Hemingway the character to say, although they all tend to be bloated, half-assed, and not very interesting. I'd suggest reading this with a Daiquiri outside.

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nancymargrit
Dec 01, 2012

This was not one of Hemingway's best in my opinion. He talks more about hunting than about Africa in this book.

l
Liber_vermis
Mar 02, 2012

This thinly disguised account of a real life big game hunting expedition in Kenya just prior to the Second World War shows how depleted the wildlife had become. Ironically, Hemingway remarks about having read a book titled "Denatured Africa". Hemingway had to go to a lot of effort to find small pockets of game; and then often had to resort to "long shots" to kill his trophies. The members of the hunting party are haphazardly described. Hemingway has his hunting license that authorizes him to bag certain animals and this book describes in detail checking off the list of lives. Considering the age, Hemingway seems quite egalitarian with the Africans encountered.

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Liber_vermis
Mar 02, 2012

Other: Published in 1935, Hemingway only uses the work "nigger" twice.

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Liber_vermis
Mar 02, 2012

"A continent ages quickly once we [foreigners] come. The natives live in harmony with it. But the foreigner destroys, cuts down the trees, drains the water ... and in a short time the soil ... is cropped out and, next, it starts to blow away ... The earth gets tired of being exploited. A country wears out quickly unless man puts back in it all his residue and that of all his beasts. When he quits using beasts and uses machines, the earth defeats him quickly. The machines can't reproduce, nor does it fertilize the soil, and it eats what he cannot raise. A country was made to be as we found it. We are the intruders and after we are dead we may have ruined it but it will still be there and we don't know what the next changes are. I suppose they all end up like Mongolia." [p. 284-5]

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