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Publisher's Summary

A former CIA officer and curator of the CIA Museum unveils the shocking untold story of Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway's secret life as a spy for both the Americans and the Soviets before and during World War II.

While he was the curator of the CIA Museum, Nicholas Reynolds, a longtime military intelligence expert, began to discover tantalizing clues that suggested Ernest Hemingway's involvement in the Second World War was much more complex and dangerous than has been previously understood. Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy brings to light for the first time this riveting secret side of Hemingway's life - when he worked closely with both the American OSS, a precursor to the CIA, and the Soviet NKVD, the USSR's forerunner to the KGB, to defeat Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

Reynolds digs deep into Hemingway's involvement in World War II, from his recruitment by both the Americans and the Soviets - who valued Hemingway for his journalistic skills and access to sources - through his key role in gaining tactical intelligence for the Allies during the liberation of Paris to his later doubts about communist ideology and his undercover work in Cuba. As he examines the links between his work as a spy and as an author, Reynolds reveals how Hemingway's wartime experiences shook his faith in literature and contributed to the writer's block that plagued him for much of the final two decades of his life. Reynolds also illuminates how those same experiences also informed one of Hemingway's greatest works - The Old Man and the Sea, the final novel published during his lifetime.

A unique portrait as fast paced and exciting as the best espionage thrillers, Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy illuminates a hidden side of a revered artist and is a thrilling addition to the annals of World War II.

©2017 Nicholas Reynolds (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

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What listeners say about Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy

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So entertaining you'd think it was fiction

This was an amazing book for any Hemingway fan. Although non fiction it's written like any great spy novel. A must read.

11 people found this helpful

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Hemingway between the West and the East

An extraordinary life by an extraordinary person. This book follows the role that Hemingway played during the Spanish civil war, in the the subsequent battle between the Allies and the Axis and in the the follow up Cold War. The author does show the good and the bad traits that Hemingway possessed without any sugarcoating and he does give his sources as many times as possible, making the story more believable and credible.
I would recommend this book to any big Hemingway fan that would like to get a glimpse on the life experiences that resulted in the masterpieces that Hemingway has written.

3 people found this helpful

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Not for me

I found the performance to be one of the worst I've listened to, monotone and droning, the content is unexceptional made all the worse by lacklustre narration, this is the first book I've given up on.

2 people found this helpful

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The Hemingway You Didnt Know

A very behind the scenes look at the authors personal life. Interesting, conflicting, but not surprising. Thie story ends abruptly as did the authors life.

1 person found this helpful

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A character, a patriot, but not entirely admirable

What did you love best about Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy?

I enjoyed the details of the complex life of the man. I've never been a huge fan of his books, or of the outsized caricature of his personality. But this book provided a lot of insights to his way of thinking, both good and bad.

Have you listened to any of Fred Sanders’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

The narration did not distract, and I don't think I ever noticed glitch or a glaring mispronunciation, or if I did, I didn't care. So, that counts as a win.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Amongst all the gloriously heroic accounts (it is a rather fawning book, it has to be said), I think I found the most disturbing part (the part that reinforced my notion of Hemingway as a narcissist and egomaniac beyond all his supposed heroism) were his actions with French partisans prior to the liberation of Paris, under the guise of a newspaper correspondent. It's just the kind of thing this kind of man would do, never realizing the consequences beyond himself. And the obfuscation, half-truths and lies of omission in his official accounts of the situation put him in a long list of Presidents, Attorneys General, and other high profile citizens who just don't recall what happened, when it's not convenient.

Any additional comments?

All that being said, I enjoyed the book. And I will re-read a number of Hemingway's books. Perhaps I will go in with a new perspective, and separate the artist from the man.

1 person found this helpful

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Who knew!?

This should be a TV series. Fascinating story, not just about Hemingway, but about history.

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Fascinating

Never knew so much about Hemingway and his involvement in the war. What a remarkable and admirable man!

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Captivating

An intriguing classification and overview of an amazing man's passion, purpose, popularity, pursuits, places and people. The writer and the narrator make it a very interesting listen and exploration of the early 20th Century.

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Sailor,soldier,spy

Hemingway was much more complicated than I expected. The political world will never care about anyone but their own goals. The far right, the far left don’t care about anyone. In the end I am so sorry that the treatment for mental illness only caused him even more complications.

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Interesting

Some of the facts seem like a little bit of a stretch, but overall worth a listen. Especially for Hemingway fans who want to know more about his political leanings and opinions on Russia and the Cold War.

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  • Adam williams
  • 03-21-17

Extremely interesting

This is an amazingly insightful book, I've read many Hemingway autobiographies. some broad stroke and some more focussed on a single part of his life and how it affected the whole. This slots in perfectly with those and is a fine addition to any scholar of Hemingway.

The book is also a compelling story, some sticking power is required when the narrative halts briefly to fit in the great number of names, dates and facts contained in this impressive work.

To conclude, the book is great whether you're a stone cold devourer of anything Hemingway, a Hemingway scholar, or just like real life stories of spying, danger and intrigue.

Can't recommend it enough.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Paul Christian
  • 10-20-20

Terrible

Quite simply an awful performance from the narrator. One of the strangest voices I’ve ever heard and impossible to follow or understand. Like a robotic beep. Couldn’t get past chapter 3! Appalling!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-26-20

Very Interesting

I really enjoyed all aspects about this book.
Ernest was an enigma; a man who loved action and being out there in the world.
It seems that after all the wars and adventures he participated in he had an empty hole in his heart and fell into a sad depressive pit before losing it completely.
Great listen honestly 😃👍