Hemingway at Eighteen

Hemingway at Eighteen
Hemingway at Eighteen

Hemingway at Eighteen

The Pivotal Year That Launched an American Legend
By Steve Paul, Foreword by Paul Hendrickson


256 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth, PDF, EPUB, Mobipocket

Cloth, $26.99 (CA $35.99) (US $26.99)

ISBN 9781613739716

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Oct 2017)


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In the summer of 1917, Ernest Hemingway was an 18-year-old high school graduate unsure of his future. The American entry in the Great War stirred thoughts of joining the army. While many of his friends in Oak Park, Illinois, were heading to college, Hemingway couldn’t make up his mind, and eventually chose to begin a career in writing and journalism at one of the great newspapers of its day, the Kansas City Star. In six and a half months, Hemingway experienced a compressed, streetwise alternative to a college education, which opened his eyes to urban violence, the power of literature, the hard work of writing, and a constantly swirling stage of human comedy and drama. The Kansas City experience led Hemingway into the Red Cross ambulance service in Italy, where, two weeks before his 19th birthday, he was dangerously wounded at the front. Award-winning writer Steve Paul takes a measure of these experiences that transformed Hemingway from a “modest, rather shy and diffident boy” to a young man who was increasingly occupied by recording the truth as he saw it of crime, graft, exotic temptations, violence, and war. Hemingway at Eighteen sheds new light on this young man bound for greatness and a writer at the very beginning of his journey.


"A remarkably fine, absolutely illuminating book." —Scott Donaldson, author of Hemingway vs. Fitzgerald: The Rise and Fall of a Literary Friendship

“Do we need another Hemingway biography? Absolutely, if it’s as intelligent, insightful, and big hearted as Hemingway at Eighteen. This is a Hemingway few of us know—dazzlingly talented but still young, pulsing with ambition, and searching for his place in the literary world. Steve Paul has given us the origins of a legend.” —Candice Millard, author of The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey

“In Hemingway at Eighteen, Steve Paul has given us an engaging and insightful work that shines a light on that crucial year in Hemingway’s life, when he first tasted the world raw and the foundation of the famous prose style was laid at the Kansas City Star.” —Daniel Woodrell, author of The Maid’s Version and Winter’s Bone

“A delightful book, about a boy becoming a man, and a newspaper hack becoming one of our finest writers. Steve Paul’s biography will surprise even those who thought there was nothing new to know about Ernest Hemingway.” —Rick Atkinson, author of An Army at Dawn

"[A] clear, concise, sympathetic account of a gifted young man discovering who he is-and what he can do." —Kirkus Reviews

“Steve Paul, a master hand at the venerable newspaper where the young cub Ernest Hemingway got his start, here gives us a lively and fascinating account of a formative year in the life of a great writer.” —Richard Rhodes, author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Making of the Atomic Bomb

“Paul, a veteran of the Kansas City Star’s editorial staff, provides generous insight into the paper and the city, and his expert interest in Hemingway parallels his fond appreciation for the newsroom’s “clack of typing mills and the smoke of countless cigars.” —Booklist

“Beginnings are important in literature and life. Steve Paul, one of the Kansas City Star’s own, has given us a thoughtful and lively account of a seminal year for Ernest Hemingway.” —Seán Hemingway, editor of The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway: The Hemingway Library Edition

Author Biography

Steve Paul was an award-winning writer and editor at the Kansas City Star for more than 40 years. He is a former board member of the National Book Critics Circle and the author (and photographer) of Architecture A to Z, the editor of Kansas City Noir, and co-editor of War + Ink: New Perspectives on Ernest Hemingway’s Early Life and WritingsPaul Hendrickson is the author of Hemingway’s Boat. After a long career as a staff writer at the Washington Post, he became a senior lecturer in English at the University of Pennsylvania. A previous book, Sons of Mississippi, won the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction.