Double-Edged Sword: The Many Lives of Hemingway's Friend, the American Matador Sidney Franklin

Double-Edged Sword: The Many Lives of Hemingway's Friend, the American Matador Sidney Franklin

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by Bart Paul
     
 

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Sidney Franklin (1903–76) was the last person you’d expect to become a bullfighter. The streetwise son of a Russian Jewish cop, Sidney had an all-American boyhood in early twentieth-century Brooklyn—while hiding the fact that he was gay. A violent confrontation with his father sent him packing to Mexico City, where first he opened a business, then

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Overview

Sidney Franklin (1903–76) was the last person you’d expect to become a bullfighter. The streetwise son of a Russian Jewish cop, Sidney had an all-American boyhood in early twentieth-century Brooklyn—while hiding the fact that he was gay. A violent confrontation with his father sent him packing to Mexico City, where first he opened a business, then he opened his mouth—bragging that Americans had the courage to become bullfighters. Training with iconic matador Rodolfo Gaona, Sidney’s dare spawned a legend. Following years in small-town Mexican bullrings, he put his moxie where his mouth was, taking Spain by storm as the first American matador. Sidney’s 1929 rise coincided with that of his friend Ernest Hemingway’s, until a bull’s horn in a most inappropriate place almost ended his career—and his life. Bart Paul illuminates the artistry and violence of the mysterious ritual of the bulls as he tells the story of this remarkable character, from Franklin’s life in revolutionary Mexico to his triumphs in Spain, from the pages of Death in the Afternoon to the destructive vortex of Hemingway’s affair with Martha Gellhorn during the bloody Spanish Civil War. This is the story of an unlikely hero—a gay man in the most masculine of worlds who triumphed over prejudice and adversity as he achieved what no American had ever accomplished, teaching even Hemingway lessons in grace, machismo, and respect.

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Editorial Reviews

Jewish Journal

"Bart Paul . . . has brought to life an interesting celebrity whose star has faded too soon."—Morton I. Teicher, Jewish Journal

— Morton I. Teicher

Barnaby Conrad
"Finally! A fascinating, in-depth, warts-and-all biography of the legendary Hemingway hero, surely one of the great picaresque and colorful enigmas of modern times. Ears and tail to Bart Paul!"

-Barnaby Conrad, author of Matador and The Death of Manolete

Valerie Hemingway
"In this well-researched biography, Bart Paul deftly depicts the extraordinary life of the Jewish boy from Brooklyn who became the most famous American bullfighter. Franklin not only was Ernest Hemingway's inside informant while he was writing Death in the Afternoon, the writer arranged for the bullfighter to accompany him to Spain while he covered the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s. Mr. Paul captures Franklin's wavering fortunes, alongside all the glitter, the gossip and the turmoil of the taurine scene in the early to mid twentieth century."

-Valerie Hemingway, author of Running with the Bulls: My Years with the Hemingways

Tony Brand
"Since people began writing about the adventurous life of Sidney Franklin, be it Lillian Ross, Ernest Hemingway or others, [his story] seems to be shrouded in hyperbole, mystery, or just plain b.s. It's taken Bart Paul to come along and tell the whole truth. I am very happy that after all these years, a real biography has finally been written. Congratulations, Bart Paul. Por fin, la verdad."

-Tony Brand, Aficionado práctico and scholar of bullfighting

Washington Times

"A must-read for all those interested in Ernest Hemingway’s life and loves, even if bullfighting leaves them cold."—Martin Rubin, Washington Times

— Martin Rubin

Times Literary Supplement

"Lovingly and engagingly written."—Kate McLoughlin, Times Literary Supplement

— Kate McLoughlin

Jewish Journal - Morton I. Teicher
"Bart Paul . . . has brought to life an interesting celebrity whose star has faded too soon."—Morton I. Teicher, Jewish Journal
Times Literary Supplement - Kate McLoughlin
"Lovingly and engagingly written."—Kate McLoughlin, Times Literary Supplement
Washington Times - Martin Rubin
"A must-read for all those interested in Ernest Hemingway's life and loves, even if bullfighting leaves them cold."—Martin Rubin, Washington Times

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803211292
Publisher:
University of Nebraska Press
Publication date:
12/01/2009
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.30(d)

What People are saying about this

Jewish Journal - Morton I. Teicher
"Bart Paul . . . has brought to life an interesting celebrity whose star has faded too soon."—Morton I. Teicher, Jewish Journal
Washington Times - Martin Rubin
"A must-read for all those interested in Ernest Hemingway's life and loves, even if bullfighting leaves them cold."—Martin Rubin, Washington Times

Meet the Author

Bart Paul has been a critic for the Los Angeles Times Book Review, a writer of documentaries on subjects as diverse as President Truman, Masada, and Nazi atrocities in Poland, and an anthologized writer of short fiction. He lives outside Los Angeles where he raises horses and children.

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Double-Edged Sword: The Many Lives of Hemingway's Friend, the American Matador Sidney Franklin 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No wasted words. Descriptive enough to smell the sage, horses and gun smoke. Waiting for more.