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4.4 out of 5 stars16
4.4 out of 5 stars
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This book takes you on a journey through different continents and cultures. It allows you to travel the world in the company of a traveller who is not only experienced, but also sensitive to local customs and traditions.
As you read it you get to know not only the author, but you feel as if you have spent time in Hemingway's company. The book is richly illustrated with stunning photographs which tell a lot in addition to the printed text.
The numerous quotations from Hemingway's novels help to make the book more coherent, and also give insight on Hemingway's life.
An excellent read for Hemingway fans, for those who know little or nothing about him, or for anyone who is interested in seeing different cultures and ways of life.
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on 8 November 2005
I really like Michael Palin's travel documentaries, both the BBC TV programs and the books based on the programs. He has a knack for finding interesting people and places, and he presents it all with wit and charm and a personal engagement that is beguiling. The books are beautiful with lots of great color pictures, most taken by photographer Basil Pao.
This book is based on the BBC TV program where Mr. Palin traveled to all of the places where Ernest Hemingway had lived and traveled. One can't really say the program "follows Hemingway's footsteps" because some sequences are presented out of order, but it's all there:
Chicago and northern Illinois (Hemingway's youth)
Italy (WW I and duck hunting)
Paris (Hemingway's start as an author)
Spain (running with the bulls, bullfighting)
Key West (fishing, boxing)
Africa (hunting, airplane crash injuries)
Cuba (fishing, Hemingway's home for 20 years)
Montana and Idaho (dude ranches, Hemingway's death)
Each chapter that describes a place almost invariably leaves the reader smiling and thinking that it would be interesting to visit that place oneself.
Incidentally, my high opinion of this book (and the associated TV program) has nothing to do with any interest in Hemingway's authorship. I read "The Old Man and the Sea" when I was in high school, and have not read anything by Hemingway since. Still, I find his life interesting, and I think that Michael Palin has made a great travelogue by visiting the various places and telling about Hemingway's life.
I can especially recommend the audio version of this book, which is read by Michael Palin himself. He does a great job of delivering the dialog of the various people, all with their different accents.
Of course, the audio version of the book does not include the beautiful photographs, so the very best strategy might be to get both, and listen to the audio version while commuting and then look at the pictures when you get home.
Rennie Petersen
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on 6 January 2000
In bed with flu over the holidays, I read Michael Palin's new book in one day and really enjoyed it. It is an easy and light read, with Michael Palin's great sense of humour and self-deprecating charm keeping you going throughout. But while Palin is a wonderful and genial travel companion, he is not a literary critic, and ultimately I found the book a bit superficial and light.
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on 10 November 1999
Palins lucid and emotive style has engineered a text that is both informative and a pleasure to read. The collation of Hemmingway and Palin, in tandem with the astounding images littered throughout the piece creates a book that daren't be put down. It would make an excellent gift for Christmas.
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on 8 November 1999
I've avidly followed the TV series and I think the book is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Michael's wit and general 'niceness' for want of a better word shine through. I had the pleasure of meeting him at W/S Galleries in Bristol and he is a top bloke. He gamely signing anything put in front of him including one young lady's chest!
Regarding the book itself, it is an unusual contrast of personalities between Palin and Hemingway but this is a strength rather than a weakness. Palin's viewpoint makes for a more insightful read with the juxtaposition of the characters and lives of the two men. The chapter on the Florida Keys had a particular resonance for me as I've visited Key West. The six toed cats are a real tourist attraction and I've met Bill Clinton, the neutered ginger tom who is pictured in the book. Incidentally Basil Pao's photograph's are stunning and very evocative, the annotated satellite photograph's are very useful and informative.
All in all a first class book, which I shall be giving to a couple of my friends as an early Christmas present.
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on 18 February 2007
This is another great travel book by Michael Palin but, for me, it started off quite slowly and felt like any other TV Travel book.

However as it went on the book got more and more interesting, and for someone who hasn't seen the series or read much Hemingway, it really felt as though I was reading a short but thorough biography of him.

It made a good book to read on holiday and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys travel writing and/or Hemingway.
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on 9 December 2007
This is not just an excuse for a travel book. In the normal style of a Palin travelogue the narrative is rich in descriptive detail bringing the landscape into a 3D for the reader. But the diversity of the romantic locations are cleverly used as a powerful canvas to paint the life of Ernest Hemingway on.

Palin has researched this in some depth and is obviously a fan of the writing. This book appears to be a labour of love and not just a cheap stocking filler. For those of us who would like to know more about Ernest, his books and his life this is a good place to start. Its like asking a trusted friend for advice on a complex subject. Armed with this advice the reader will be encourage to make their own judgement on a complicated man and his extraordinary life.
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on 29 December 1999
This is another good book to come from Micheal Palin. He is undoubtedly television's greatest travel writer and presenter and this book ( and television series ) is another example of that . It is well written in Palin's unique style and once it is picked up it is hard to put down ( I had finished it by Boxing day ) However it is not quite as good as his earlier works. One almost feels that this was one adventure too many. Micheal Palin is not, by any stretch of the imagination remotely like Ernest Hemmingway. This makes it difficult for Palin to accurately trace Hemmingway's life and as a result the book seems a little distant and lifeless. This contrasts to Palin's earlier books which were written during true adventures, which shows in the way in which the books were written. However this was a good read and I would reccomend it to anyone with an interest in either Palin, Hemmingway or travel.
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This is another brilliant account of a Palin journey. It is very specific in it's remit but still covers some incredible countries. It has the usual beautifully reproduced photography and is written with Palin's wonderful sense of description and humour. He visits such varied places and culture on this trip that there is something for everyone in this book. A great piece of travel literature.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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on 3 October 2011
For admirers of Michael Palin's travel tales, this book is an essential companion. If you have seen the TV programme you can relive the experience and hear Michael in your head as you read. His style of writing is so fluid and engaging that the pages turn themselves.
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