HEMINGWAY airing on PBS is created and produced by renowned documentarian Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, known for the highest level of historical programming. This is a three-part documentary chronicle of the life of the famed author Ernest Hemingway that remade American literature and was was likely responsible for influencing most authors more than any other writer in American history.

Hemingway is a six hour series divided into three parts that show the contradiction of the grandiose man. We are taken into his tumultuous life that peaks behind the curtain of a man we all know but truly knew little about. 

The documentary looks at the authors life covering his excesses, vices and failures. Writer Geoffrey C. Ward is the pen to paper. Peter Coyote narrates. 

It’s a captivating production that fulfills our curiosity that maybe we didn’t know we had. It shows us the man beyond the myth in a captivating unfolding way that takes us on a journey of who he really was. In takes a look at Hemingway the man beyond the myth and reflects on a life and legacy while paying tribute to his complex personality.  We see his talents and his flaws before his storied demise that includes racism with casual racial slurs and anti-Semitism. 

Midas touch actor Jeff Daniels is the voice of Hemingway. He reads from actual letters and published works. The authors four wives are voiced including that of Meryl Streep.

Hemingway was fascinated by words and prose and always tried to understand their meaning. His first novel was "The Sun Also Rises" which was written in 1926 and looked at post-war American life in Europe.

Hemingway the documentary is a story that takes us across the world  of this author who was known not to be the nicest guy. It delves into alcoholism, gender shame, depression, ego, struggles and darkness of ones spirit rooted in ones background and view of the world.  

Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois in 1899. He had five brothers and sisters and was the second child. His father was a depressive who committed suicide and later influenced him in his own death. He was doted on by his self-absorbed mother who was an overpowering opera singer and music teacher. His mother pretended that he and his sister were twins to the world. She sometimes dressed them both up as boys and then other times as girls. She cut their  hair in bobs with bangs. She told them  to play with tea sets and guns. Both parents influenced his life.

His adult days began as journalist who spent time in Cuba, Africa and Paris - all places that all influenced his writings. 

In this series, we learn about his children and there is even an interview with his son Patrick is. There is an actual real video of Hemingway himself reading replies from cards. He committed side in 1961 just 19 days before turning 62.  

A worthwhile watch as we go along the journey of how he enjoyed success early in his life and one man's story but the one thing I would have liked to see was his legacy. How he left his mark on not just literature but on culture. The name Hemingway is revered as one of the greats to this day. We see how he did it but it would have benefice to see what he has left us with. A final chapter of wrapping up all the Hemingway name means today would have been an appropriate and needed conclusion to put it all in context. But even without it, Hemingway is a great watch and a true lesson in history.

“They’ll be reading my stuff long after the worms have finished with you” 
- Ernest Hemingway, to one of his wives 
Photo: PBS.org

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