Ken Burns’ Hemingway hits PBS

Award-winning filmmaker meets award-winning author in the new documentary, Hemingway. (Photo courtesy of PBS)

Ernest Hemingway was an American novelist, short story writer, and journalist. He published seven novels, six short story collections, two non-fiction works, and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. 

Several of his works are now classics of American literature, including For Whom The Bell Tolls, The Old Man and the Sea, and The Snows of Kilimanjaro.

Hemingway’s life wasn’t always about success. Ken Burns’ new short PBS series, Hemingway  details the life we didn’t know he lived. It is a three-part, six-hour documentary film, examines the visionary work and the turbulent life of Ernest Hemingway which aired on April 5.

The secret life of an American Icon

Ken Burns is known for his award-winning documentaries The Civil War and Baseball.  Burns’ latest series pushes the myths and legends about the man out of the way, showing viewers what his life truly was like.  The glory and the awards were Hemingway’s accomplishments but not his life.  

Each work by Hemingway was based on experiences of his own, such as his African safaris, experiences in three wars, and even old local friends from Key West (one of the many places Ernest Hemingway called home).

Burns’ describes Hemingway’s life, touching on the recurring themes that are seen in the modern era.  Burns, in a recent interview, describes everything that added up to the man that is Ernest Hemingway.  “Here we have a story – a great writer who’s a minimalist with spare pros…You got this edifice of this macho guy that has to be done… you begin to appreciate the demons that are going to catch up with him in his 61st year.  Many come from childhood and come from experiences in life [including] abandonments by women, PTSD in war, alcoholism [and] chronic brain injuries.”

I enjoyed Burn’s latest documentary for its detailed analysis of who Ernest Hemingway was behind all the fame.  Burns’ was able to capture the darker side of Hemingway, while still exhibiting the author’s experiences with struggles in the 21st century.  The particular part that I enjoyed the most was the details through letters and notes that showed how Hemingway lived his life.  

You can find Hemingway reruns on the PBS station or on


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.