A new image of Hemingway; Ernest Hemingway: Selected Letters 1917-1961, edited by Carlos Baker. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 948 pp. $12.95.

Carlos Baker, author of the definitive Hemingway biography, has assembled from the thousands of extant letters a reasonably coherent life story, an image of Hemingway through all of his ages and stages. The first Hemingway is the brash, iconoclastic young newspaper reporter and war lover, flexing his writing muscles, filling his letters with deliberate misspellings, bad grammar, and worse jokes. The last is the sick and exhausted man, old beyond his years, lecturing and patronizing his devoted comrades.

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