Ernest Hemingway first published “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” in the September, 1936, issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. Later, it was among the stories collected in Hemingway’s The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories. The reception of Hemingway’s fiction has always been intertwined with the understanding of Hemingway as a figure. Hemingway was the consummate sportsman; few others in American history, with the possible exception of Teddy Roosevelt, have come to symbolize with such consistency the spirit of the outdoorsman. Yet Hemingway’s characters add an interesting and telling dimension to this myth. Their solitude is almost always interrupted, and their ruggedness almost always complemented by sensitivity and aesthetic sensibility. Because “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” does not represent this Hemingway norm, it stands apart from the author’s other short fiction. Its hero, Francis Macomber, is anything but the consummate sportsman. He is inept and somewhat cowardly, but Hemingway portrays him with sympathy, revealing the anxiety and tragedy that such narrow definitions of manhood can produce. The juxtaposition of Francis Macomber and his nemesis, Robert Wilson, clearly underscores this tension, as does Macomber’s struggle to win the favor of his perpetually jaded wife, Margot. Margot’s final act has been the source of great debate among critics for decades, and it is difficult, upon reading and rereading the story, to determine any one simple explanation for her actions. The story is based upon an actual scandal that had taken place in Kenya involving a wife, a love affair, and the wife’s implication in the death of her husband, which was suppressed in the media and covered up by the British government.