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A chance encounter in Spain in 1959 brought young Irish reporter Valerie Danby-Smith face to face with Ernest Hemingway. The interview was awkward and brief, but before it ended something had clicked into place. For the next two years, Valerie devoted her life to Hemingway and his wife, Mary, traveling with them through beloved old haunts in Spain and France and living witA chance encounter in Spain in 1959 brought young Irish reporter Valerie Danby-Smith face to face with Ernest Hemingway. The interview was awkward and brief, but before it ended something had clicked into place. For the next two years, Valerie devoted her life to Hemingway and his wife, Mary, traveling with them through beloved old haunts in Spain and France and living with them during the tumultuous final months in Cuba. In name a personal secretary, but in reality a confidante and sharer of the great man’s secrets and sorrows, Valerie literally came of age in the company of one of the greatest literary lions of the twentieth century.Five years after his death, Valerie became a Hemingway herself when she married the writer’s estranged son Gregory. Now, at last, she tells the story of the incredible years she spent with this extravagantly talented and tragically doomed family.In prose of brilliant clarity and stinging candor, Valerie evokes the magic and the pathos of Papa Hemingway’s last years. Swept up in the wild revelry that always exploded around Hemingway, Valerie found herself dancing in the streets of Pamplona, cheering bullfighters at Valencia, careening around hairpin turns in Provence, and savoring the panorama of Paris from her attic room in the Ritz. But it was only when Hemingway threatened to commit suicide if she left that she realized how troubled the aging writer was–and how dependent he had become on her.In Cuba, Valerie spent idyllic days and nights typing the final draft of A Moveable Feast, even as Castro’s revolution closed in. After Hemingway shot himself, Valerie returned to Cuba with his widow, Mary, to sort through thousands of manuscript pages and smuggle out priceless works of art. It was at Ernest’s funeral that Valerie, then a researcher for Newsweek, met Hemingway’s son Gregory–and again a chance encounter drastically altered the course of her life. Their twenty-one-year marriage finally unraveled as Valerie helplessly watched her husband succumb to the demons that had plagued him since childhood.From lunches with Orson Welles to midnight serenades by mysterious troubadours, from a rooftop encounter with Castro to numbing hospital vigils, Valerie Hemingway played an intimate, indispensable role in the lives of two generations of Hemingways. This memoir, by turns luminous, enthralling, and devastating, is the account of what she enjoyed, and what she endured, during her astonishing years of living as a Hemingway.From the Hardcover edition....

Title : Running with the Bulls: My Years with the Hemingways
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780345467348
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 368 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Running with the Bulls: My Years with the Hemingways Reviews

  • J.L. Sutton
    2018-11-29 18:32

    Since her interview with Ernest Hemingway in a Madrid hotel in 1959, Valerie Hemingway’s life has been inextricably linked to the Hemingway family. Running with the Bulls: My Years with the Hemingways is Valerie’s account of time she spent with Ernest Hemingway (as his personal secretary at the end of his life) and then as a Hemingway herself after meeting and wedding Ernest Hemingway’s estranged son, Gregory. Some readers have been put off that this is not strictly speaking about Ernest Hemingway. Rather, this is Valerie Hemingway’s memoir. While the focus, in the first half of the book, is on Ernest Hemingway, it is a Hemingway seen through a young woman’s eyes. The last half of the book (after Ernest Hemingway’s suicide) centers on Valerie’s marriage to Gregory (and his mental instability). Valerie’s account of her life with the father (Ernest) and then the son (Gregory) tie the book together and make it her own. Interesting reading!

  • Jason Koivu
    2018-11-23 00:10

    Prepare to witness people getting trampled, if you're going to read Running With The Bulls, the true story, in her own words, of a foster child who by chance ends up a close confidant to Ernest Hemingway in the last years of his life. Most know by now of the terribly troubled end to Hemingway's otherwise seemingly carefree and lively life (although it should be noted that he surrounded himself with people and made them stay up all night drinking and partying because he had insomnia due to a sort of fear of those lonely, dark hours of the night, an early precursor to his later mental issues), and it was this party atmosphere that Valerie got roped into under the loose pretense of being his personal secretary. For a girl who'd lived an orphan's life, growing up in foster houses and convents, and who wished to cultivate a writer's career, it would seem a pretty lucky stroke for her to end up in the position she did, and therefore it becomes difficult to listen to her whinge about it. Indeed, there is a great deal of the "woe is me, but aren't I the put upon one" going on as Valeria plays the reluctant hero or passively accepting martyr, if you will, in the course of her being sucked up into the Hemingway circus. One feels as if this perhaps is partly for show. With most all of the principle players dead at the time of the book being published, it's a bit of a one-sided story. We have to take Valerie's word at face value and hope for the sake of justice to all she slanders, that she actually is speaking the truth. Ernest, his wife Mary and their son Greg come in for the most criticism. Greg receives the attention of half the book and duly so since Valerie married him. It was not an altogether pleasant marriage as Greg (view spoiler)[ turned out to be a transexual with deep-rooted psychological issues. (hide spoiler)]But all is not doom and gloom or venom from a scorned viper. There is praise and pity for all, as well as great insight to "Papa," really the only reason anyone would likely read Running with the Bulls. And it is apparent that Valerie took something quite positive from her time running with the most important of Hemingways: Directness. You see, Ernest Hemingway wrote in the compact style of the journalist. After all, that was his occupation at the start of his writing career, so why wouldn't that style carry over to his fictional work? It did, and now there's a huge contingent of Hemingway-haters who don't think he could actually write because he used simple language. I was one of those people at one time, I must admit. But what I didn't see was his intentional attempts at directness. He purposefully meant to get at the point in the most direct way possible so that there would be no ambivalence to his meaning. Valerie's writing has an admirable directness. You may not agree, you may not like what you hear, but you must admit she does not mince words.

  • Jim
    2018-11-30 17:34

    If I could sit down to a few beers with American men of my choice, living or dead, Hemingway would be right up in the top 5 along with Robert Ruark and Ted Roosevelt. I think Hemingway has had his life examined in print to a greater extent than even JFK; it seems that anyone who knew him even slightly has written a book about Hemingway; some have written more than one. Valerie Hemingway is one of those.Actually, Valerie was only involved with Hemingway for a couple of years, getting in on the butt end of his time in Spain and tagging along as nominal secretary for a year in Cuba before the Hemingway holdings in that country were bequeathed to the Cuban people. She doesn't admit to any involvement with the author other than that of employee and Girl Friday, but seems to have been exceedingly close to Papa, a kinship that was resented by Hemingway's wife, Mary. I ask myself why a man in his sixties would take on an unskilled woman just out of her teens to be his live-in secretary and swim naked in his swimming pool, but perhaps I am being unfair to Valerie. It seems like something is left unsaid here, however.So Papa takes up maybe the first third of the book. The remainder is concerned with Valerie's continued relationship with the Hemingway clan, in particular the author's son Gregory, whom she married and who eventually became the author's daughter Gloria. This is probably the most interesting part of the memoir. Val married into an incredibly screwed-up family, and in reading her account you wonder just why she was willing to tough it out as long as she did.The book is written in plain, no-nonsense language and I found her accounts of her exploits with the Hemingway family and their associates to be totally engrossing. Bear in mind that it is Valerie's memoir, not Ernest's biography, and Valerie didn't go into any great amount of self-analysis or critique for her own motives in any of this drama. A solid read, and a good addition to the hoard of Hemingway literature.

  • Richard Wheeler
    2018-11-29 22:21

    This is an extraordinary memoir, written in graceful, subdued language by an Irish newswoman who became Hemingway's personal secretary and confidante during his last years, when he was struggling. She was on hand for the somber chapters of Ernest Hemingway's life, when depression overtook him. She was there at the Finca during the Cuban revolution. She helped Mary sort through Ernest's things after he killed himself. And later, she married Ernest's troubled son Gregory, and settled in Montana (where she still lives, long after she and Gregory parted). There is a deep tenderness and kindness threading through this memoir. She lives in Bozeman, which is also the home of Patrick Hemingway, the sole surviving Hemingway son.

  • Ray Zimmerman
    2018-12-03 18:33

    True to the Spirit and the LegacyValerie Hemingway acquired her opinions and observations honestly. Running with the Bulls reflects three decades of interaction with the Hemingway family. She served as Ernest Hemingway’s secretary for more than a year. She traveled with Ernest and his wife Mary in Spain and France, and lived at their estate in Cuba during those final months they spent in that nation. After Ernest Hemingway’s funeral, she returned with Mary to retrieve manuscripts and personal papers, which she later catalogued for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. She remained friends with Mary Hemingway even after marrying her estranged stepson Gregory, who rarely spoke of his father, although he was once the favorite son. She birthed four of Hemingway’s grandchildren, albeit after his death.The tragedy of Ernest Hemingway’s death is mirrored by a different tragic death on the part of her husband. Family can get complicated. Nevertheless, she was there as Ernest traveled with his memories, and saw, in retrospect she witnessed the terrain where the writer achieved his greatness, from Pamplona to Cuba and Key West, to New York. She also gained an intimate acquaintance with Idaho and the Mountain West where he came to his final defeat. Her writing style was honed as a reporter for various magazines and secretary to three literary figures. The book is a fascinating read, and one of the best written nonfiction books I have ever read.

  • Kaia
    2018-12-05 21:18

    First half of the book was interesting, but after E.Hemingway died, the second half was just sad when Valerie married E.H.'s transvestite son. She spends a lot of time name dropping and explaining why E.H. (61 years old) requires her(age 20) to be with him most of the time as his "secretary" which includes swimming nude while E.H.'s Minnesota born wife Mary turns a blind eye. There is much more to this story than Valerie indicates which makes one wonder how much is fabricated. She also picks and chooses which of E.H.'s letters are to be destroyed to protect his memory and destroys any from her to E.H. Face it, older men don't fall in "love" with young girls for their minds! Mary Hemmingway is very intriguing and it would have been interesting to learn more about what made her tick. Also would have liked to hear more about E.H.'s thoughts and dreams during the last part of his life. Doesn't it seem strange that although he confided his plans to commit suicide to only Valerie, she would not care enough to try to prevent it by discussing with a professional or Mary H.? If someone you care for deeply tells you they are planning to take their own life would you turn away and say it is their choice and do nothing?

  • Chuck
    2018-11-29 16:17

    Dysfunctional! This is the memoir of an Irish woman who as a young girl worked for and became a close associate of Ernest Hemingway and his family. She later married Ernest Hemingway's youngest son and was for many decades an ally and a friend. Without going in to detail this is a story of rich people. their drinking, their sexual issues, their lifestyle and the people associated with that lifestyle. There are some interesting spots including the loss of their Cuban home when Castro took over Cuba and their meetings with him. The book takes place in Spain, France, Bimini, Cuba, Key West, New York, Sun Valley and all the jet set places. All in all, it is a story of dysfunction and an expose of a lifestyle that I hope is very limited in these days.

  • Jeff
    2018-12-03 00:40

    Great book that fills in a lot of the details about the last years of Ernest Hemingway's life, from the dangerous summer to his suicide. Written by Valerie Hemingway, his secretary and later wife to his youngest son and later a journalist.Although the book covers Valerie's entire life, the focus is mainly on her relationship with the Hemingways, Ernest, Mary and Greg, which begins when she's sent to interview Ernest at a Madrid hotel in 1959.The last line of the second-to-last chapter speaks volumes: "More than twenty-eight years had passed since that fateful day when I walked into the Suecia hotel in Madrid to interview Ernest Hemingway. From that day on, for better or worse, my life was inextricably linked to the Hemingway family." And a dysfunctional family it is.

  • David
    2018-11-21 16:37

    eBook- Halfway through this book..... I was prepared to really not like Valerie Hemingway, her writing style, and her story. Other than her 'feelings' about knowing of the suicide in advance (spoiler alert...EH killed himself); I find her writing to be very believable and interesting, and not grandiose. One of those not famous people who has written a good book and who I would really like to meet. Update- the book drags a bit as she explains her life with Hemmingway's son Gigi (who eventually had a sex change operation) and she makes up some pretty big excuses for their lack of parenting, their bad marriage, etc. But nonetheless a fascinating story.

  • Linda
    2018-11-12 21:21

    This was written by the ex-wife of the son of Hemingway who later became a woman. Valerie Hemingway kept the Hemingway name, obviously, but she really earned it by helping Ernest out with his manuscripts and writing. She transcribed for him. She lived with he and Mary, the last wife, down in Cuba. I found this story quite interesting with unusual points of candid observations that I hadn't found in other books about Ernest Hemingway and his family. I change my rating though as I have thought about the book in retrospect. It wasn't amazing it was just really good.

  • Bill Hines
    2018-11-30 22:22

    Another perspective A very interesting read and perspective on Hemingway, although the latter years of his life. However, the authors own story and insight into Hemingways kids is very interesting.

  • Peggy Donahue
    2018-11-15 23:10

    A Witness to HistoryI'm very glad that I read Valerie Hemingway's book. Like all family stories, this one deserved to be told. Blessings.

  • Lori
    2018-11-23 20:10

    I love learning more about Hemingway. Very interesting read!

  • Kathy LeJeune
    2018-11-29 21:37

    I am giving this book 5 stars, it was well written and Anne Flosnik did a great job reading the book. I listened to this in my car. When I drove into my garage, I did not want to get out of my car. I wanted to keep listening. I am a huge fan of Ernest Hemingway. Valerie had an interesting and heartbreaking life during those years. What an adventure!

  • David Simpson
    2018-12-11 23:22

    His secretary's autobiographyAlthough only about 1/3 of the book was about Papa himself, the entire book is her life story as it was affected by a chance meeting with him. It's an interesting look into the world through the eyes of the privileged in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

  • Bart
    2018-11-12 18:18

    By the time you've finished the first chapter of Running with the Bulls, its author Valerie Hemingway is, in the strictest sense of the world, incredible. By the time you've come to the end of the book, you begin to wonder if Valerie is actually Anna Kashfi - Marlon Brando's first wife and later "biographer."Everything about the women is similar; Valerie, a young journalist, had no idea who this Ernesto character was in Spain - some novelist or other, in 1960 (when Hemingway was the world's most famous writer). Kashfi, a young actress, had no idea who this Brando guy was in Hollywood, in 1956 (when Brando was the world's most famous actor). Both were able to give truth and candor, and adolescent insights about art, to their men, because they were unafraid of their men's celebrity because they were oblivious of it. Money and celebrity meant nothing to either - yet somehow divine provenance chose them to write tell-all biographies.Valerie, to her credit, went much further than Anna. While Kashfi satisfied herself with having Brando's first child and turning him into a certifiable lunatic, Valerie never quite got to have Papa's child but would marry him instead - presiding over his conversion from transvestite to transsexual.What makes these books most interesting - in the trainwreck sense of the term - is the wide-eyed-innocent characters these women believe themselves to be. That is, writing about men whose achievements were unmarked by the orbits of their eventual biographers, Valerie and Anna somehow turn their respective biographies of Hemingway and Brando into autobiographies. And then come all the blameless coincidences.Everywhere you look, beginning with their accidental encounters with the men who dominated their fields, Valerie and Anna are savagely undone by coincidences. But while Anna seems crazy enough to believe about half of what she writes, one gets the impression Valerie is plotting at all times.Neither book is worth reading. But both are kind of fun to write about.

  • Johnsergeant
    2018-11-25 20:33

    UNABRIDGEDNarrated by Anne Flosnik12 hrs and 33 minsPublisher's SummaryA chance encounter in Spain in 1959 brought young Irish reporter Valerie Danby-Smith face-to-face with Ernest Hemingway. The interview was awkward and brief, but before it ended, something had clicked into place.For the next two years, Valerie devoted her life to Hemingway and his wife, Mary, traveling with them through beloved old haunts in Spain and France and living with them during the tumultuous final months in Cuba. In name a personal secretary, but in reality a confidante and sharer of the great man's secrets and sorrows, Valerie literally came of age in the company of one of the greatest literary lions of the 20th century.Five years after his death, Valerie became a Hemingway herself when she married the writer's estranged son, Gregory. Now, at last, she tells the story of the incredible years she spent with this extravagantly talented and tragically doomed family.In prose of brilliant clarity and stinging candor, Valerie evokes the magic and the pathos of Papa Hemingway's last years. Swept up in the wild revelry that always exploded around Hemingway, Valerie found herself dancing in the streets of Pamplona, cheering bullfighters at Valencia, careening around hairpin turns in Provence, and savoring the panorama of Paris from her attic room in the Ritz.In Cuba Valerie spent idyllic days and nights typing the final draft of A Movable Feast, even as Castro's revolution closed in. After Hemingway shot himself, Valerie returned to Cuba with his widow, Mary, to sort through thousands of manuscript pages and smuggle out priceless works of art.Valerie Hemingway played an intimate, indispensable role in the lives of two generations of Hemingways. This memoir, by turns luminous, enthralling, and devastating, is the account of what she enjoyed, and what she endured, during her astonishing years of living as a Hemingway.

  • Rhea
    2018-12-01 20:39

    I suppose it's my own fault for not fully taking into consideration the title Running with the Bulls: My Years with the Hemingways, and assuming that it would mostly be about Ernest Hemingway. Valerie Dandy-Smith, Ernest's secretary during the final years of his life, relays her sometimes charming, sometimes horrifying, but most often miserable experiences she endured with varying members of the H family. I wasn't sure how well the book would resolve after Hemingway's suicide, and it did at times get a bit tedious having to read about all the vagaries of NY literati. (So much name dropping! Who cares that she had a baby with Brendan Behan!) Maybe I'm being too critical. It picks up again when the youngest son, Gregory, marries Valerie and then becomes a transvestite. The novel ends with the father/son relationship, and its inadequacies, but there seems to be a bit more focus on Greg in the final lines. Not sure how I feel about it.

  • Cherop
    2018-12-09 22:14

    I read this book because I wanted to see if there was anything in it about Ernest Hemingway's time in Africa. There were only general mentions of hunting expeditions. The book is quite interesting and covers some time during the author's life in Cuba and travels in Spain.

  • Catherine
    2018-11-12 16:19

    This is not a Hemingway biography. It is Valerie Hemingway's memoir, which begins when she began working for Ernest Hemingway at about the age of nineteen. She worked for him while he traveled with his wife and various friends, mainly in Spain, and his home in Cuba, where he lived in the late '50s. The book occasionally dragged and I sometimes got lost trying to keep up with the numerous characters. The second portion of the book, after Ernest's death, centers on Valerie's relationship with Ernest's widow and Valerie's dysfunctional marriage to Ernest's youngest son, Greg, whom Ernest had been estranged from. As has been widely publicized, many of the Hemingways suffered from mental illness, and Greg was no exception. Overall, this was a very interesting book and Valerie's story was worth reading.

  • Nora
    2018-11-29 17:18

    A must read if you crave more details about EH life. This book is written by Valerie Hemingway. She met EH when she was a young Irish girl (18years). Valerie was sent from Ireland to interview EH in Pamplona during the running of the bulls. The two hit if off and V ended up being EH personal secretary for many years. The book is written from personal experience, first hand information. She ended up marrying EH's youngest son, Gregory. Thus starts the most bizarre marriage/experience I have ever read. Very interesting and insightful regarding EH personal makeup, sexual identity, attitudes, narcissism, behavior, writing. All of these insights are the result of examining Gregory and his life's journey.....very good read.

  • Robin
    2018-11-14 21:30

    I recently read The Paris Wife and this seemed like a good "bookend" for Hemingway's life. This memoir recounts the author's time with Ernest and last wife Mary as a secretary and general factotum. He told her that he was going to commit suicide, but only after she had established herself. She worked in the publishing field in a variety of positions. She continued to have a connection with the Hemingways by marrying Ernest's son Greg/Gloria (google him!)after bearing Brendan Behan's (is illegitimate politically incorrect?)son. It's interesting to read about her adventures. The part about meeting Castro while retrieving some of Ernest's Cuba possessions was fascinating.

  • Heather
    2018-11-10 22:39

    The author briefly lived/travelled with Ernest Hemingway and his wife and she tells many interesting tales of how Hemingway and his entourage lived. It is difficult to tell how truly close she was to the author, but she was entrusted with sorting his papers after his death so I kept thinking that she thought she knew him more closely than she actually did. She continues her entanglement with the Hemingways by marrying the black sheep son. Unfortunately, her description of that part of her life is too edited -- she lived a fascinating life and met many famous and accomplished people but her own character is a bit hidden.

  • Jessi
    2018-11-16 17:27

    For two years, Valerie traveled with Ernest Hemingway and his fourth wife, Mary. The descriptions of the bullfights are vivid. The descriptions of her relationships... not so much. Whether it's because she's a trained journalist (keeping feelings out of it) or it's because it was so far in the past, it doesn't feel like there's a connection between the author and what's happening.The same is true of her marriage to Ernest's son, George. It sounds like a horrific experience, one that she seems to relate so matter-of-factly. A great book for a book club discussion.

  • Joe
    2018-11-25 23:29

    Fascinating first-hand account of Valerie Danby-Smith's time spent with Earnest Hemingway at his house in Cuba and on globetrotting trips as his personal secretary. She provides insight into his character that few others can. Valerie takes Hemingways last name when she marries his son Greg and the story contiues with the eventual breakup of their twisted/tormented marriage. The story is a bit disjointed as it switches from an account of Earnest Hemingway to Valerie's disfunctional marriage, but the first half of the book is not to be missed.

  • Gaye Marshall
    2018-11-13 21:16

    It was an interesting read and told more about the writer than I think she realized. The constant name dropping was a little annoying but the reflection on how she felt the reader would prefer to read these things then her own impressions of the situation is very telling. She describes her mother early on and I doubt if she realizes the irony. Also an interesting look into Ernest Hemmingway's life and politics.

  • L
    2018-11-22 21:36

    Very interesting story of Valerie Hemingway's life with Ernest Hemingway, as a secretary and latter with his son, her husband. I read this to provide some background to the Paris Wife. This story does not address the first wife of Hemingway, except in passing, but I was curious about his other wives., although this book takes place during Hemingway's time with his wife, Mary and his subsequent death.

  • Anna Pottier
    2018-12-06 18:28

    When I first stumbled across this book, it struck me that there are only a handful of people or less in the world who know what it is like to have been young, green, and suddenly in the company of a writer at the top of his game. Valerie Hemingway's book is a fascinating read, taking the reader into the heart of the life she led with Ernest (and Mary) Hemingway in his last years. She writes beautifully, recreating scenes and giving us a keen sense of what she experienced. Highly recommended!

  • Amy Wilcer
    2018-11-13 19:34

    This was a very interesting read about one person's experiences with Hemingway towards the end of his life. I would recommend it to anyone who is a Hemingway fan who also is not uncomfortable reading about the Hemingway family's dysfunction (a lot of which was caused by Hemingway and/or seemingly passed via DNA to his children).

  • Dana Nucera
    2018-11-26 16:35

    This book is a must read for anyone that is interested in Ernest Hemingway. He was a very interesting individual, and is famous not only for his literary work, but for his life style. He lived his life fully and without regrets or second guesses. This book is more insight into the life of Hemingway written by a person who eneded up spending most of her life involved with the Hemingway family.