HEMINGWAY, Ernest. Green Hills of Africa. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1935.
8o. Original light green cloth (some fading and slight discoloration to spine and along edges; some minor spotting to endpages); dust jacket (some very light edgewear). Provenance: Charles Thompson and his wife, Loraine (presentation inscription).
FIRST EDITION. A DEDICATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY HEMINGWAY TO HIS FISHING AND HUNTING FRIEND, CHARLES THOMPSON on the front free endpaper: "To Charles and Loraine with love from Poor Old Papa."
Hemingway and Thompson met in April of 1928, when the Hemingways (Ernest and a very pregnant Pauline) were on a five-week vacation in Key West. Thompson's family owned a variety of island businesses, including a cigar box factory, a hardware store, and a fishing tackle shop. Thompson taught Hemingway how to fish for tarpon and red snapper. John Dos Passos, while visiting Hemingway in Key West, enjoyed an afternoon ocean fishing with Hemingway in Thompson's boat (see Lynn, p. 373-74). Four and a half years later, in December 1933, the Hemingways and Thompson departed for Nairobi.
Green Hills of Africa is a barely fictionalized account of the African safari Hemingway took with his wife Pauline, Charles Thompson ("Karl" in the narrative), and Philip Percival ("Pop"), the great white hunter who had guided both Winston Churchill and Teddy Roosevelt, on separate safaris, and charged $1,000 a month for his services. In his foreword Hemingway states: "Unlike many novels, none of the characters or incidents in this book is imaginarythe 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."
The trip soon became competitive between Hemingway and Thompson, because the author felt himself the better hunter and was infuriated by what he perceived as Thompson's good luck. At one point Thompson brought down a rhinoceros whose small horn was longer than the large horn of Hemingway's rhino; in the book Pauline says to her husband, "Papa, please try to act like a human being. Poor Karl. You're making him feel dreadful," prompting Hemingway to comment: "We had tried, in all the shoot, never to be competitive I knew I could outshoot him and I could always outwalk him and steadily, he got trophies that made mine dwarfs in comparison" (quoted in Hemingway, by Jeffrey Meyers, New York, 1985, p. 263).
The working title through 1934 was The Highlands of Africa, but "Hemingway decided on the present title sometime in January 1935" (Baker, p. 165). The printed dedication reads: "To Philip, To Charles, and To Sully." The other dedicatees are Philip Percival, who is "Jackson Phillips" in the book, and Jim Sullivan, an ironworker friend in Key West. In the book Pauline is only identified as " P.O.M." (or Poor Old Mama), and Hemingway's "Poor Old Papa" in the presentation inscription is no doubt a play on this. Hanneman A13a.