On this day in 1918, Ernest Hemingway is severely wounded while carrying a companion to safety on the Austro-Italian front during World War I. Hemingway, working as a Red Cross ambulance driver, was decorated for his heroism and sent home.
Hemingway was born in 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois. Before joining the Red Cross, he worked as a reporter for the Kansas City Star. After the war, he married the wealthy Hadley Richardson. The couple moved to Paris, where they met other American expatriate writers, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and Ezra Pound. With their help and encouragement, Hemingway published his first book of short stories, in the U.S. in 1925, followed by the well-received The Sun Also Rises in 1926. Hemingway would marry three more times, and his romantic and sporting epics would be followed almost as closely as his writing.
During the 1930s and ’40s, the hard-drinking Hemingway lived in Key West and then in Cuba while continuing to travel widely. He wrote The Old Man and the Sea in 1952, his first major literary work in nearly a decade. The book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953. The same year, Hemingway was wounded in a plane crash, after which he became increasingly anxious and depressed. Like his father, he eventually committed suicide, shooting himself in 1961 in his home in Idaho.