Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy by Nicholas Reynolds
Ernest Hemingway's Secret Adventures, 1935-1961

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...doesn’t adequately address how depression, narcissism, and celebrity treatment may have affected the writer’s conduct. In concluding that Hemingway was “a gifted but overconfident amateur” in politics and espionage, Reynolds overstates the toll those pursuits took on the writer.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A "riveting"* international cloak-and-dagger epic, here is the stunning untold story of a literary icon's dangerous secret life -- including his role as a Soviet agent code-named "Argo" -- that fueled his art and his undoing

In 2010, while he was the historian at the esteemed CIA Museum, Nicholas Reynolds, a longtime American intelligence officer, former U.S. Marine colonel, and Oxford-trained historian, began to uncover clues suggesting Nobel Prize-winning novelist Ernest Hemingway was deeply involved in mid-twentieth-century spycraft -- a mysterious and shocking relationship that was far more complex, sustained, and fraught with risks than has ever been previously supposed. Now Reynolds's meticulously researched and captivating narrative, Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy, "looks among the shadows and finds a Hemingway not seen before" (London Review of Books), revealing for the first time the whole story of this hidden side of Hemingway's life: his troubling recruitment by Soviet spies to work with the NKVD, the forerunner to the KGB, followed in short order by a complex set of secret relationships with American agencies, including the FBI, the Department of State, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a precursor to the CIA.

Starting with Hemingway's sympathy to antifascist forces during the 1930s, Reynolds illuminates Hemingway's immersion in the life-and-death world of the revolutionary left, from his passionate commitment to the Spanish Republic; his successful pursuit by Soviet NKVD agents, who valued Hemingway's influence, access, and mobility; his wartime meeting in East Asia with communist leader Chou En-Lai, the future premier of the People's Republic of China; and finally to his undercover involvement with Cuban rebels in the late 1950s and his sympathy for Fidel Castro. Reynolds equally explores Hemingway's participation in various roles as an agent for the United States government, including hunting Nazi submarines with ONI-supplied munitions in the Caribbean on his boat, Pilar; his command of an informant ring in Cuba called the "Crook Factory" that reported to the American embassy in Havana; and his on-the-ground role in Europe, where he helped OSS gain key tactical intelligence for the liberation of Paris and fought alongside the U.S. infantry in the bloody endgame of World War II.

As he examines the links between Hemingway's work as an operative and as an author, Reynolds reveals how Hemingway's secret adventures influenced his literary output and contributed to the writer's block and mental decline (including paranoia) that plagued him during the postwar years -- a period marked by the Red Scare and McCarthy hearings, which destroyed the life of anyone with Soviet connections. Reynolds also illuminates how those same experiences played a role in some of Hemingway's greatest works, including For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea, while also adding to the burden that he carried at the end of his life and perhaps contributing to his suicide.

A literary biography with the soul of an espionage thriller, Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy is an essential contribution to our understanding of the life, work, and fate of one of America's most legendary authors.

*William Doyle

 

About Nicholas Reynolds

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Nicholas Reynolds worked in the fields of modern military history and intelligence for forty years. He served in the Marine Corps for 30 years, rising to the rank of Colonel, then moved to the CIA, eventually working as curator of the CIA Museum. He is a graduate of Swarthmore College and received his D. Phil from the University of Oxford. He lives in northern Virginia. Author Image 1
 
Published March 14, 2017 by William Morrow. 384 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy
All: 3 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Above average
on Dec 04 2016

Although Reynolds is forced to guess about much of Hemingway’s secret life as a spy, his conclusions seem consistent with the well-known portrait of the novelist striving to prove his manliness and power.

Read Full Review of Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy:... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Below average
on Sep 14 2017

...doesn’t adequately address how depression, narcissism, and celebrity treatment may have affected the writer’s conduct. In concluding that Hemingway was “a gifted but overconfident amateur” in politics and espionage, Reynolds overstates the toll those pursuits took on the writer.

Read Full Review of Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy:... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Bob Hoover on Mar 10 2017

An engrossing read for Hemingway buffs as well as casual readers, “Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy” adds more fascinating details to a life that remains continually fascinating.

Read Full Review of Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy:... | See more reviews from Star Tribune

Reader Rating for Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy
92%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 9 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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