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Wrestling with DemonsCongratulations on your gold book award!


Part biography, part memoir, and part historical fiction, this illuminating mosaic examines Hemingway’s life based on revealing new information about his WWI experience. This book counters the conventional theory that attributes much of Hemingway’s behaviors and drive to succeed to the trauma he experienced as an eighteen-year-old volunteer for the American Red Cross. DeBerg argues that his life was influenced more by other factors, such as jealousy, pride, guilt, and especially fear.

DeBerg skillfully shows that the majority of biographers—including Philip Young, who coined the term “wound theory”—miss the full story. He makes a convincing case that it wasn’t the trauma of war that tormented Hemingway, but rather the fear that his awful truth would come out. He was afraid that people would learn that he was largely responsible for an Italian soldier’s death. The soldier’s name was Fedele Temperini.

Throughout his life, Hemingway was also haunted by several demons, including his parents’ disapproval, remorse, chronic pain, anguish, and a deep-seated sense of rivalry with other writers and war heroes. These demons further haunted Hemingway due to his inherited hypomanic personality. DeBerg explores these demons and explains how each affected his future.

Hemingway, we know, told a different story about WWI. In his story, he was the hero. Living with such a lie, along with his demons, would have weighed heavily on any man. How could an up-and-coming writer like Hemingway cope with these demons?

By writing.

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Author Bio

Curtis L. DeBerg earned a master’s degree in economics and a doctorate in business administration from Oklahoma State University. After thirty-six years as a university business professor—the last thirty at California State University, Chico—he retired in 2020. He authored Traveling the World With Hemingway in Spring 2021 by Wild River Press (Seattle). He shares time between his homes in Miami, Florida and Hendaye, France.

Learn more about the Nonfiction Book Awards here.

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