Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

Chicago & MichiganItaly ParisSpainKey West CubaAmerican West



Palin takes a moment to read some of Hemingway's thoughts on his surroundings.


We leave Entebbe for London tomorrow. The bad weather has cleared, the oppressive humidity lifted and, after bone-rattling rides through the bush, the pool at the Lake Victoria Hotel looks inviting.

Though we've not been here long it seems like a lifetime. Africa has a way of imposing its own time scale, reducing our busy western lives to its own pace, its own stately rhythm. In Africa the concept of the eternal seems much more meaningful. It also allows you more time to take things in. Events become clearer and impressions sharper and memories more indelible.

Perhaps that's the way it was for Hemingway. He spent less than ten months of his life in Africa and yet from it came two books (one, admittedly, posthumous) and two of his greatest short stories - "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" and "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber."

Life in Key West and Cuba may have been safer, but never as intense.



Palin recounts the first plane crash that Ernest and Mary Hemingway endured on their 1954 African safari. Forty-eight hours after they crashed near Murchison Falls and were rescued by a passing sight-seeing boat, they crashed again. The second crash was more serious. Hemingway sustained a ruptured kidney, a sprained arm and leg, crushed vertebrae, a paralysed sphincter, a burnt scalp and the temporary loss of hearing and eyesight. He and Mary were incorrectly reported dead in several newspapers around the world. Hemingway had the pleasure of reading his obituary days later, very much alive, in a cafe in Venice.


Get the free RealPlayer to view clip or read the transcript.


Photo credit: Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection/John F. Kennedy Library, Princeton University. Book covers: Princeton University Library.

HEMINGWAY ADVENTURE | BEHIND THE SCENES | RESOURCES | CLASSROOM | PALIN SHOP