The making of Ernest Hemingway’s debut novel, the outsize personalities who inspired it, and the vast changes it wrought on the literary world.


A New York Times Best Seller

A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2016


“Magnificently reported.”  – Gay Talese

The best book on Hemingway in Paris since A Moveable Feast.” – Charles Scribner III

“Fiendishly readable … a deeply, almost obsessively researched biography of a book, supported by a set of superb endnotes worth reading in their own right.”  - The Washington Post

An essential book … a page-turner.  Blume combines the best aspects of critic, biographer and storyteller … [she] culls information and quotes from numerous sources and puts the results together with the skill of an accomplished novelist.  [It is] a complicated story, told masterfully.  Everybody Behaves Badly provides the clearest picture yet written of this critical early period in Hemingway’s life.” The Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Brimming … addictive … in Everybody Behaves Badly, the party has just begun and the taste of fame is still ripe … the Lost Generation [is] restored to reckless youth in living black and white.”  - James Wolcott, Vanity Fair

“A fascinating, up-close look at how Hemingway kicked off his spectacular career … compulsively readable.”  - The Houston Chronicle

“Masterfully told … Everybody Behaves Badly is deeply evocative and perceptive, and every page has a Hemingway-like ring of unvarnished truth.”  – Christian Science Monitor

“Meticulously document[ed] … pacily written … Ms. Blume has drawn deeply upon many sources, particularly Hemingway’s own correspondence, to deftly portray the cast of lost characters, their thin-skinned vanities and their quarrelsome insecurities.” – Caroline Moorhead, The Wall Street Journal

“Richly gossipy, beautifully illustrated (with some period photographs that the reader had actually never run across before), and lavishly well written … Blume’s full bore research is matched only by her own gift with words. Everybody Behaves Badly makes for a fine addition to the bookshelf that already contains Hemingway’s own A Moveable Feast, as well as Nancy Mitford’s Zelda, A. E. Hotchner’s Papa Hemingway, and Calvin Tompkins’ exquisite Living Well Is the Best Revenge. It is just that good.” – New York Journal of Books

“A spirited account of a spirited age, when writers saw an opportunity to change the culture … Blume presents a sharp portrait of a young nobody desperately, sometimes maliciously, trying to become a great — if not the great — writer of his time.  Despite the wobbly tower of books about Hemingway, it seems we can’t keep from returning to him, and writers like Blume make it worth our while.” – Los Angeles Review of Books

“Blume’s deeply researched “backstory” enhances the depth [of The Sun Also Rises] and restates its very real significance … What happened between those two points in Hemingway’s life, from being a nobody to very much a somebody, is reconstructed with authority and insight.”  - Booklist, *starred review*

“In this revealing new study, Blume shows that a series of competing internal and external pressures helped birth Hemingway’s now-legendary debut roman à clef, The Sun Also Rises… Blume has carved a mountain of original research into a riveting tale of Hemingway’s literary, romantic, and publishing travails.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Vivid, spirited, and absorbing.”  - Kirkus

“My favorite book of 2016 … a fascinating recreation of one of the most mythic periods in American literature—the one set in Paris in the ’20s—and about the writers and artists who were drawn there: Hemingway’s friends, mentors, lovers, and enemies. Everyone behaved badly indeed, Hemingway worst of all, which is one reason it’s hard to stop reading.” – Jay McInerney

“Blume’s achievement is doubly remarkable. As an award-winning journalist and cultural historian, she revisits the intense nightlife of Parisian bars and cafes and the explosive, rivalrous drama of Pamplona in a chiseled, precise style that would please the master himself. By filling in Hemingway’s purposeful silences and omissions with the story’s real-life people and actual events, she accentuates the author’s artistic genius and enlarges our understanding of the novel’s complex characters and themes. This is a book for novice Hemingway readers as well as veterans of his work.” – The Tampa Bay Times

“Mesmerizing … fascinating … Blume opens up the story in surprising new ways.”  - BookPage

“[An] impeccably researched and resonant account of the true story behind The Sun Also Rises … Everybody Behaves Badly breaks ground by stressing how important The Sun Also Rises was in bringing modernist literature to a commercial audience and, especially, the part Fitzgerald played in helping to encourage Hemingway and shape his manuscript.” – The Financial Times

“Everybody Behaves Badly is … an engrossing and varied tale: raucous and dissipated, pitiable and serious. Blume’s research offers new detail to a well-studied story, and her narrative style is as entertaining as the original [The Sun Also Rises].”  - Shelf Awareness

“[A] must-read ... In Lesley M.M. Blume’s latest release, escape to the real-life world of Hemingway’s groundbreaking piece of modern literature, The Sun Also Rises. The boozy, rowdy nights in Paris, the absurdities at Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls and the hungover brunches of the true Lost Generation come to life in this intimate look at the lives of the author’s expatriate comrades.” – Harper’s Bazaar

“Totally captivating, smartly written, and provocative.” – Glamour

“Engrossing … Revealing … Drawing on journals, letters, and autobiographies of many members of the artistic circles in which Hemingway moved in the early 1920s, Blume  shows how ruthlessly Hemingway betrayed his mentors, skewered his friends in his fiction, and sought to advance his career at all costs.” – The Boston Globe

“[A] vivid character- and fact-filled book … One of the distinguishing features of Everybody Behaves Badly is just how crammed with anecdotes and facts it is — not to mention judgment and analysis. Ms. Blume has cast her net wide and dug deeply and intelligently into primary and secondary sources.  And it is precisely all this assiduousness on her part that makes this such a valuable addition to the vast literature on Hemingway, modernism, Paris in the 1920s, [and] expatriate American culture … Ms. Blume spares us none of the gory details of betrayals — literary and personal — naked ambition, ruthlessness, and all manner of nastiness that went into the making of [Hemingway’s] stunning debut.” - The Washington Times

“Gloriously gossipy, compulsively readable … a welcome successor to Paula McLain’s novel The Paris Wife.  - Annalyn Swan and Mark Stevens, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors of De Kooning: An American Master

“Raucous, fun and smart … [a] stand out.” – The Hollywood Reporter

“Blume uncovers the truth behind the foundational roman à clef of the Lost Generation … required reading.”  – Departures

“In her unsentimental and clear-eyed Everyone Behaves Badly, Lesley Blume gives us a Hemingway who is by far the worst behaved of the louche but marvelously fascinating bunch with whom he haunted the cafes, bars, bistros and beds of Paris in the 1920s.  In telling the appallingly sordid yet richly human story of the genesis of The Sun Also Rises, the breakout novel that made Hemingway a champion and a celebrity, Blume raises questions about the way art exploits life even as she entertains us with real, complex, hurting and hurtful people every bit as magnetic as the characters they became in Hemingway’s hands.” – Elizabeth Frank, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Louise Bogan: A Portrait

“Without sounding unduly disapproving or moralistic, Blume gives us a portrait of the artist as a young opportunist … [an] excellent book.” – The Times Literary Supplement

“Everybody Behaves Badly is a page-turner of the highest order, chock-a-block with more scandal than the latest issue of Us magazine. It also offers deep insight into the paradox that is Hemingway himself … It all makes for fascinating reading, and Blume’s style, which has been compared to Flannery O’Connor and Truman Capote, is easy and engaging.” – Winnipeg Free Press
 “[An] intelligent opus … adtroit … spectacularly good … Blume provides a wealth of knowledge in the tightly packed 332-page study of Hemingway.”  – Idaho Mountain Express
“[A] revealing reconstruction of Ernest Hemingway’s revelry with friends in Pamplona, Spain, in 1925 and how it became the source of his groundbreaking modernist novel “The Sun Also Rises.” – The Sacramento Bee
A wonderful book.” - The Chicago Tribune
“As meticulous a history of the early 20th Century as it is a true drama-fueled page-turner starring characters like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Everybody Behaves Badly ticks both beach read and academic columns.” – Tory Burch Daily
“Fascinating, heavily researched … [this] new book presents a surprising inside look at Ernest Hemingway’s journey to literary acclaim.” – The Gazette (Iowa)
“Lesley M. M. Blume’s Everybody Behaves Badly swims deep in the wine, champagne, absinthe and egos of the time, and takes particular delight in diving to the bottom of the many affairs and scandals, to bring us a view of how Hemingway, well, became Hemingway … a rollicking good read.” – Forbes
“Blume paints a fresh, fascinating portrait of Hemingway just before he made his indelible mark on literature.” – The Story by Kindle (Amazon)
“For those interested in the debauched lifestyles of America’s literary elite, you can’t beat Everybody Behaves Badly, a nonfiction account of Ernest Hemingway’s raucous travels to Pamplona, Spain — the trip that eventually inspired his acclaimed novel The Sun Also Rises. If you’re hoping for a trip filled with drunken antics and too-wild-to-be-true adventures, this is the perfect book to inspire your escapades.” – Bustle

A Book Reporter Favorite Book of 2016

 A Google Play Favorite Book of 2016

About the book

“Everybody Behaves Badly … give them the proper chance.” – Jake Barnes in The Sun Also Rises
 Summer, 1925 Twenty-five-year-old Ernest Hemingway descended upon Pamplona, Spain, for its infamous annual bullfight fiesta with a tempestuous entourage in tow, including a femme fatale British aristocrat, a brash, handsome heir who hailed from two of New York’s great Jewish fortunes, one of America’s most celebrated comedic writers, and a down-on-his-luck childhood friend with a penchant for cynical wit.  The holiday quickly spiraled into a morass of sexual rivalry, gory spectacle, brutal hangovers, and black eyes – and gave Hemingway the material he desperately needed to make his breakthrough as a novelist.
Over the next six weeks, he channeled that trip’s maelstrom into his groundbreaking debut novel, The Sun Also Rises. Upon the release of this revolutionary work — which essentially recast all of that bad behavior as high literature — Hemingway was crowned the voice of his “lost” generation and the leader of the modernist movement in fiction, an honorific that still belongs to him today.
EH-C6143D (photo only)
Hemingway’s 1923 passport photo. Ernest Hemingway Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

In June 2016, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt released Blume’s biography Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises, the first book to tell the full story behind Hemingway’s earliest published novel and how it propelled him to enduring international fame.  This myth-breaking account portrays the fascinating figures of Hemingway’s world in their own words, and brings 1920s Paris, Pamplona, and New York City alive in a rich and unprecedented way.

Reviewers have lauded Everybody Behaves Badly as “essential … a page-turner,” “magnificently reported,” “fiendishly readable,” “riveting,” and “the best book on Hemingway in Paris since A Moveable Feast.”  The book became New York Times best seller shortly after its publication, and has sold foreign editions around the world, including in Germany, Russia, and China.

It has also been optioned for development as a television series.

Blume culled countless letters, interviews, essays, long-out-of-print memoirs, archives, and interviewed dozens of descendants of the characters’ prototypes and the historical icons who played a vital role in bringing The Sun Also Rises to life — including family members and friends of Hemingway, Jazz Age oracle F. Scott Fitzgerald, redoubtable editor Maxwell Perkins, humorist Donald Ogden Stewart, and many others.  She shows how The Sun Also Rises not only immediately defined a generation, but colored the lives of the book’s unwitting prototypes forever.

The book also explores how Hemingway carefully, relentlessly built his own public persona during this period, which has arguably remained one of America’s most successful cultural exports.  At heart, Everybody Behaves Badly is the story of how Hemingway became Hemingway.

Everybody Behaves Badly was first released in hardcover and e-book on June 7, 2016 by Eamon Dolan Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the publication of The Sun Also Rises.  The book is now available in hardcover, paperback, audio book, and e-book formats at bookstores and via online retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, iBooks, and Hudson Booksellers, and independent booksellers.

For publicity inquiries, please contact Taryn Roeder at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Taryn.Roeder@hmhco.com



What do Salvador Dali, Alfred Hitchcock, and Diana Vreeland have in common? They all created, reveled, and rebelled at the St. Regis in New York City.  It Happened Here is a convivial, social, and artistic history of old New York, as seen through the prism of one of its grandest hotels.

In this book’s pages, readers will visit the St. Regis suites of artist Salvador Dali, filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, and John Jacob Astor, among many other colorful figures. Here good taste met wild creativity, and more than a little eccentricity.

It Happened Here is the inaugural volume of The Thornwillow Libretto Library – a collection of exquisitely produced original works by some of the most exciting writers and creators of our time. Published by Thornwillow Press, the series has been generously underwritten by its patron, Montblanc.

As an era of electronic books begins, the Libretto Library is dedicated to the belief that physical books – tangible, aesthetically pleasing, letterpress printed and beautifully bound – have a new and even more important place in our lives: as repositories of permanence in an increasingly ephemeral world of letters.

Taking inspiration from the early works of Virginia Woolf’s Hogarth Press, The Yellow Book magazine, and the early days of The New Yorker, the editors of Thornwillow are creating a series of splendidly designed, letterpress printed books in sewn bindings. In addition to a 5,000 copy printing, It Happened Here and other Libretto volumes will also enjoy a special limited edition run of 150 leather-bound, signed and numbered copies for collectors.

The series regularly features the work of celebrated writers – both established greats and dazzling up-and-comers – of fiction and non-fiction, from prose to poetry. Please look for other Thornwillow Libretti by Peter Matthiessen, Lorin Stein, Adam Gopnik, Harry Belafonte, Jonathan Galassi, and other creative luminaries.