Paul Hendrickson’s most recent book is an unconventional exploration of the life of Ernest Hemingway that has earned praise for its fresh insight into one of the most chronicled literary figures of the 20th century. Hemingway’s Boat: Everything he Loved in Life and Lost, 1934-1961 focuses on the years of the legendary writer’s life when he was owner of Pilar, the 38′ cabin cruiser in which Hemingway traveled the waters between Key West, Cuba, and the Bahamas. A national best-seller and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Howell Raines calls Hemingway’s Boat a “sterling summation of the entire Hemingway canon [that] shows what has eluded some very able scholars. A writer’s life can contain two conflicting existences, one of purely original genius and one of irreversible destructiveness.”
Hendrickson is also the author of Sons of Mississippi, a look at the legacy of racism in the families of seven Mississippi sheriffs, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award in 2003. He was a journalist for 30 years before becoming a professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize six times during his years at the Washington Post. His other books include Looking for the Light: The Hidden Life and Art of Marion Post Wolcott, which was a finalist for the 1992 National Book Critics Circle Award; and The Living and the Dead: Robert McNamara and Five Lives of a Lost War, a finalist for the National Book Award in 1996.
Hendrickson was born in California but grew up in the Midwest and in a Catholic seminary in the Deep South, where he studied seven years for the missionary priesthood. This became the subject of his first book, published in 1983: Seminary: A Search. He recently received his second fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and is now at work on a book about the architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Hemingway’s Boat (2011)
Sons of Mississippi (2004)
Looking for the Light (2003)
The Living and the Dead (1996)
Seminary: A Search (1987)