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Green Hills of Africa

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  8,838 ratings  ·  569 reviews
This is the Ernest Hemingway's lyrical journal of a month on safari in the great game country of East Africa, where he and his wife Pauline journeyed in December 1933. Hemingway's well-known interest in - and fascination with - big game hunting is magnificently captured in this evocative account of his trip. It is an examination of the lure of the hunt and an impassioned p ...more
Paperback, First Scribner Classic/Collier Edition 1987, 294 pages
Published October 1st 1987 by A Scribner Classic/Collier Books (first published 1935)
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Andrew I keep thinking this is rhetorical....but if not: P.O.M is poor old mama, a nickname (at least in this story) for Pauline Pfeifer, Hemingway's second…moreI keep thinking this is rhetorical....but if not: P.O.M is poor old mama, a nickname (at least in this story) for Pauline Pfeifer, Hemingway's second wife.(less)
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Jason Koivu
Sep 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The machismo is thick and pungent in Green Hills of Africa, Hemingway's autobiographical account of a hunting trip in Africa. At times it felt like the verbalization of this...

The machismo is thick and pungent in Green Hills of Africa, Hemingway's autobiographical account of a hunting trip in Africa. At times it felt like the verbalization of this...


It is one part self-glorifying portrayal of a man's man and one part vilification of the same man for the same reason. If alpha-dog Hemingway had lived into his 80s, he would've lived into the 1980s, and if he had I feel certain he would've been a contestant on American Gladiators. Afterwards he would've admitted he was acting like a damn fool. That's just how he was, ALL MAN! GRRR! But too introspective to believe his own bullshit.

Aside from that, there are some interesting details on big game hunting, African tribesmen and guides, and the occasional difficulty or ease of language exchange. When not hunting, Hemingway talks books and writers with the few intellectuals he brought with him on the trip or came across along the way. We hear his opinion on the quality of the writer's of his day and just prior. Readers of A Movable Feast or those who know his personal history will catch the thinly veiled criticism of his once mentor Gertrude Stein.

Green Hills of Africa has lyrical turns and can be engrossing, especially if you have read some of his previous work. An interest in hunting might help, too. But of all his output, I could not suggest reading this first as it is not "Hemingway," as in "Have you read Hemingway?" This is more like a supplement for his fans who want to learn more about the man and/or the myth.
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Where a man feels at home, outside of where he's born, is where he's meant to go."
- Ernest Hemingway


Once, when I was 11 or 12, I begged my father to take me Mule deer hunting in Utah. Growing up in the West, among a certain strata of boy, the October deer hunt was a sort of blood ritual. We would take off from school for a couple days, go into the mountains with ou
Nov 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in the craft of writing or Ernest Hemingway
The subject of the pursuit is the elusive kudu, an animal you must hunt alone, like writers must write alone...

In Hemingway’s experimental work, the Green Hills of Africa, he produces possibly one of the earliest works of creative nonfiction, reveals how the search for good land parallels a writer’s search for good material, and most of all, reveals himself—warts and all.

* * *

“Fitting in,” being recognized as an aficionado, or knowing how to be an insider (rather than a tourist) surfaces as a dominant theme in Hemingway
This is non-fiction. It is about a big-game hunting safari taken by Ernest Hemingway and his second wife Pauline Marie Pfeiffer in December 1933. They traveled to East Africa. Aided by native trackers, they hunted buffalo, rhinoceros, kudu and sable antelope. These were the big attractions of the hunt. More important still was who of the hunters would achieve the biggest kill. In my eyes, the competition between the men was extremely childish, the hunt itself gruesome and revolting.

The book is
Santiago Dotta
Hemingway makes me realize I'm a pussy. He makes me realize every male human around me is a pussy.
After reading this book I tried to find Hemingway's masculinity and spirit in every men I know (personally and famous ones), and of course the results where dissapointing.
Then I realized, that EH couldn't live in our era. That there exists a symbiotic relationship between EH and the first half of 20th century.
If you read breifly about Hemingway's life in Wikipedia, you realized his own life is a
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I do have positive things to say about this book but they are so tragically overshadowed by the negative.

Frankly, I found this book boring. Perhaps I'm not the target audience but Hemingway made an East African hunting safari in 1935 seem unappealing. Book Summary: Hemingway goes up a hill, looks for kudu, shoots something, his Africans skin it, and he returns to camp and drinks whiskey. Repeat this about 35 times and you have the book. (Ok, sometimes the beast he kills is bigger and
Roy Lotz
I have a good life but I must write because if I do not write a certain amount I do not enjoy the rest of my life.

I came across The Green Hills of Africa selling for cheap at a used bookstore; and since I vaguely remembered that Hemingway’s famous quote about Huckleberry Finn came from this book (Hemingway thinks it’s the alpha and omega of American fiction), I snatched it up. Well, that quote is certainly in here. It is part of a conversation Hemingway has with an Austrian about literature, which for me was
Samir Rawas Sarayji
The first thing that struck me was the foreword:

Unlike many novels, none of the characters or incidents in this book is imaginary. Anyone not finding sufficient love interest is at liberty, while reading it, to insert whatever love interest he or she may have at the time. The writer has attempted to write an absolutely true book to see whether the shape of a country and the pattern of a month’s action can, if truly presented, compete with a work of the imagination.

This alone was quite interesti/>Unlike
Jan 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hemingway
I was ready to not like this book. I have had a long-term fascination with Spain and had some deeper appreciation of bullfighting so Hemingway’s earlier experiment with non-fiction, Death in the Afternoon, which reflected so perfectly what Miguel de Unamuno had identified as the Spaniards' “tragic sense of life,” was a strong and intriguing read. It certainly prepared me for a Hemingway who could do non-fiction creatively. But a non-fiction book on big game hunting in Africa seemed not my cup. I understoo ...more
Craig Werner
Hemingway can be an irritating son of a bitch and this book is near the top of the "here's why" list. A memoir of Hemingway's hunting expedition to East Africa--an area I spent two weeks in recently--, Green Hills shows absolutely no awareness of the colonial history that structures the relations between the hunter and the numerous Africans who make his pleasure possible. There are a few moments when Hemingway realizes that the men who accompany him are every bit as skilled and courageous as he ...more
Oct 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Green Hills of Africa is set (surprise) in Africa, and it primarily concerns hunting for Kudu and Rhino. Hemingway draws you into the realm of the physical; he draws in precise detail the machinery of the rifles, the approach of the rhino, the canvas of Africa's deep and beauteous terrain.

There are passages in here of remarkable grit and beauty:

"It was a hot place to camp, under trees that had been girdled to kill them so that the se-se fly would leave, and there was hard hunting in the hills,
Berit Lundqvist
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Considering the fact that I, in the mid 70’s, was that squeamish highschool girl who dropped out of biology class the very day we were supposed to dissect a hamster, I’m not the least surprised that I didn’t like this book.

Killing animals is simply not my thing. On the other hand, I can respect if people kill for food. Well, at least on an intellectual level. Kill for fun or pleasure? Not so much.

The story goes like this:
Ernest goes to Africa in the early 1930’s, to
Jul 08, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish-it
If somebody would ask me to describe this book in one sentence, I would say "Ernest Hemingway and his friends are hunting wild animals in Africa." That's it. That's all it ever happens. There is no convoluted plot here, no drama, no love story, no backstabbing, no heroes and villains, just hunting. And by God, is it boring!
For starters, Hemingway is good in describing scenery and landscapes, although he goes into too much detail. He is also good at describing animals. In everything else ho
Victoria Kellaway
Jun 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading Hemingway is always a pleasure but there's something about reading a book on a topic you don't expect to care about (big game hunting, bullfighting) and finding you do care, very much. It's fascinating and inspiring. I loved the interplay between Hemingway and Pop, Hemingway and Karl, Hemingway and M'Cola, Hemingway and the dramatic one. I loved being able to see exactly where I was, all the time. I loved Hemingway on writing but most of all I loved Hemingway on Africa, Hemingway on Amer ...more
Feb 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: precinct-81
A rather boring read, as it is all the time about hunting. However, Hemingway is such a talented writer, he makes up for the shortcomings just by his style.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa, nonfiction, travel
Having just read Ernest Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa, I begin to understand why he shot himself in 1961. I had not read any Hemingway for over thirty years, and I realize now there was a reason for this. There was Papa H in Africa, frequently asserting how he loved the place and the people. Yet he is envious of another member of his hunting party, Karl, who is more successful in grabbing the big trophies. Even when he kills a kudu, which he has been trying to do for the whole length of the book, he has this ...more
This is a difficult book to review. I have never enjoyed Hemmingway's fiction as much as others of his time like John Steinbeck or Sinclair Lewis. That said, this book is special because of its insight to Hemmingway's personality which includes killing everything that gets under his gunsights, drinking excessively, uncontrolled aggression and competition with his fellow hunters and anger and condescension toward his African guides. Hemmingway's account of this trip seem more of an affirmation of ...more
Dec 28, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Read this book because I was in the Chulu Hills in Kenya -- the very place about which Hemingway was writing -- and could barely finish. I've always appreciated the skill with which Hemingway wrote fiction but this is a piece of memoir/reportage in which the writer inserted himself solidly into the story, revealing himself (with the rawest of perspectives) to be a mean, self-absorbed, destructive embarrassment of a person at that point in his life. to be fair, I have read the biography of Martha ...more
Aug 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That was beautiful. Love Hemingway, love him.
Jul 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining and told with a greater depth than at first noticeable, subtle and disturbing under the surface.
Aug 04, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa is a curious piece of writing to judge. For the first hundred pages or so, I sensed the novelist pushing the boundaries of what was intended to be a piece of non-fiction. Literary detectives will have no trouble picking out the beginnings of “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.” Looking back, via Hemingway’s biography, things were starting to sour between Hemingway and his wife, Pauline. And I think it shows a bit in Green Hills. I don’t ...more
On the back of copy of "Green Hills of Africa" I have is this quote from the Times Literary Supplement: "This book is an expression of a deep enjoyment and appreciation of being alive - in Africa. There is more to it than [hunting]; it is the feeling of the dew on the grass in the morning, the shape and colour and smell of the country, the companionship of friends... and the feeling that time has ceased to matter."

I agree with the quote somewhat, but not entirely. Yes, there are beau
Mar 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of the two nonfiction Hemingway books I've read, "Green Hills of Africa" and "A Moveable Feast," this is the superior of the two. Even the portions of this book about writers and writing, a subject "A Moveable Feast" is far more focused on, are fresher and livelier, probably because they were written contemporaneously rather than in hindsight, as was "A Moveable Feast."

While much of "Green Hills of Africa" reinforces the popular image of Hemingway as a manly, swaggering hunter and dr
May 09, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Apart from a few compelling descriptions of hunting and scenery, this book did not hold my attention. I could never really figure out the time jumps; the whole thing came across as one big sweaty alcoholic trek through the African wilderness, interspersed here and there with Hemingway's rambling about the writing process. I suppose there's something to be said for the book's clever layering--the hunt for big game translating into the hunt for good literature and Hemingway's own identity. But the ...more
Rahul Nagar
Mar 22, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
It's all about the bullshit that hemingway had done in Africa. In the very beginning of the book I was getting that feeling "What the hell is he writing about?" but due to my habit of finishing everything that I start somehow I managed to finish reading this junk. It was all about killing and hemingway was running around trying to be the cause of death of several wild animals. Hemingway fans go ahead read it but for me and some sensible people this book is a total failure.
Feb 14, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can't finish it because of it's too macabre for me.
I don't like when Hemingway describe the happiness when the carachters kill the animals. I don't like hunting parties.
So,I don't like this book.
Free download available at Faded Page.

An account of Hemingway's 1933 visit to what is now Tanzania. It includes both safari lore and literary criticism.
Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oftentimes an artist is most deeply revealed by their least known works.
Steve R
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Near the end of this novel, the narrator (named Hemingway - there is no disguise at all in the first person narration of the story) asserts that 'A country was made to be as we found it.' Africa was that country for Hemingway, and this 'novel' - it is really more of an extended journal of entries on how much he enjoyed his time hunting there - is his extended rhapsody of love for its simple pleasures. Especially hunting. The rules for a good hunter are many and of critical importance. One must n ...more
Wayne (The Room Note)
Green Hills of Africa by Ernest Hemingway

"No one knows how to behave in America... Most uncivilized."

Ernest Hemingway, the Nobel Prize winning author in Literature, gave us this slightly fictionalized account of a month long hunt in West Africa. The story follows Hemingway with a group of people, including Mrs. Hemingway at the time, aka P O M, on their journey trying to take down the prized big game of West Africa. The story of itself was fine although rather repetative
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First book I ever abandoned halfway through. 3 7 Aug 18, 2017 02:55PM  
Literary Fiction ...: What would you do if you were Hemingway? 82 23 Oct 27, 2014 11:05AM  

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Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economical and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short story collec ...more
“We have very primative emotions. It's impossible not to be competitive. Spoils everything, though.” 39 likes
“where a man feels at home, outside of where he’s born, is where he’s meant to go.” 37 likes
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