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Almost Hemingway

The Adventures of Negley Farson, Foreign Correspondent
Rex Bowman and Carlos Santos

BUY Cloth · 288 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813946672 · $29.95 · Aug 2021
BUY Ebook · 288 pp. · ISBN 9780813946689 · $29.95 · Aug 2021

Would it surprise you to learn that there was a contemporary of Ernest Hemingway’s who, in his romantic questing and hell-or-high-water pursuit of life and his art, was closer to the Hemingwayesque ideal than Hemingway himself? Almost Hemingway relates the life of Negley Farson, adventurer, iconoclast, best-selling writer, foreign correspondent, and raging alcoholic who died in oblivion. Born only a few years before Hemingway, Farson had a life trajectory that paralleled and intersected Hemingway’s in ways that compelled writers for publications as divergent as the Guardian and Field & Stream to compare them. Unlike Hemingway, however, Farson has been forgotten.

This high-flying and literate biography recovers Farson’s life in its multifaceted details, from his time as an arms dealer to Czarist Russia during World War I, to his firsthand reporting on Hitler and Mussolini, to his assignment in India, where he broke the news of Gandhi’s arrest by the British, to his excursion to Kenya a few years before the Mau Mau Uprising. Farson also found the time to publish an autobiography, The Way of a Transgressor, which made him an international publishing sensation in 1936, as well as Going Fishing, one of the most enduring of all outdoors books.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, a fellow member of the Lost Generation whose art competed with a public image grander than reality, once confessed that while he had to rely on his imagination, Farson could simply draw from his own event-filled life. Almost Hemingway is the definitive window on that remarkable story.


Negley Farson lived his life like a headlong attack, and Rex Bowman and Carlos Santos keep pace with him. Almost Hemingway is a beautifully written account of an avatar of a vanishing breed—the adventurer. It is a distinct pleasure to barrel through Farson’s vivid life with the authors.

Mary Dearborn · Ernest Hemingway: A Biography

Negley Farson. The name alone conjures up the incredible life story. This twentieth century epic unfolds in the authors’ capable hands, sweeping across the continents and spanning two world wars, bringing back the romance and excitement of the foreign correspondent. In lively prose, the authors show how he lived by his wits, struggled with alcohol, and needed little more than a manual typewriter and a telephone to do his job.

Nicholas Reynolds, author of New York Times bestseller Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway's Secret Adventures, 1935-1961

A lively, engaging, and fast-paced tale of an incredible adventurer. Farson, the author of travel books published from the 1930s through the 1950s--ranging from the Caucasus to Africa, but also including a book on the Blitz and the apparently immortal Going Fishing--investigated the politics, the ordinary life, and the flora and fauna of almost every continent. He interspersed his observations about the lives of others with reports of his own daredevil expeditions crossing treacherous mountain paths and fording rushing streams.

Nancy L. Green, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, author of The Other Americans in Paris: Businessmen, Countesses, Wayward Youth, 1880-1941

Although Farson 'managed to hide the deepest parts of himself,' the authors draw on his memoirs, letters, and reportage to create a lively chronicle of his peripatetic adventures... A brisk tale of an eventful life.

Kirkus Reviews

About the Author(s): 

Former reporters for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Rex Bowman and Carlos Santos have been professional authors for more than fifty years. Rex Bowman has written for Time, the Washington Times, and New York Times Upfront. Carlos Santos has covered stories for the New York Times and People magazine as well as for the Associated Press. They are coauthors of Rot, Riot, and Rebellion: Mr. Jefferson’s Struggle to Save the University That Changed America (Virginia).

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