Hotchner understands the craft of fiction. He has written several articles, short stories, plays, and dramas for television, which appeared on Playhouse 90; he also dramatized for television Hemingway’s “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” “The World of Nick Adams,” “The Fifth Column,” “Fifty Grand,” and For Whom the Bell Tolls.
This book joins a long list of biographical material written about Hemingway, such as Carlos Baker’s Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story (1969) and Mary Welsh Hemingway’s How It Was (1976), but its continuing value for young readers, even though it first appeared in the 1960’s, is indispensable. Although originally intended for an adult audience, a wide range of young readers will enjoy and appreciate this biography for the various levels at which it can be read. Young aspiring writers will find it useful for its didactic information, others will enjoy it as adventure, and youthful critics interested in American literary history can use it as an invaluable tool to aid them in their understanding of modern American literature. Students will benefit by reading Hotchner’s clear prose. His style is mature, sophisticated, and easy to understand.
Although his personal acquaintance with Hemingway was often strained and sometimes confusing, Hotchner’s affection for him is clearly apparent in a portrait that is mature and devoid of sensationalism. For this reason, Papa Hemingway remains important in helping young readers to understand a great American writer.