Green Hills of Africa

Green Hills of Africa

Book - 1996
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A 1930s African jungle safari as recorded in the journal of Ernest Hemingway describes the glory of the landscape while bringing to life the story of a land under threat of human incursion
Publisher: New York : Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 1996
Edition: First Touchstone edition
ISBN: 9780684801292
0684801299
Branch Call Number: 813.52 HEM
Characteristics: 295 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm

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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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