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Local man publishes book on Ernest Hemingway’s brain, effects of concussions

“I remember, in 8th grade,” reminisces Andy Farah. “Trying to understand 'Farewell to Arms' and going to your father and asking him to explain the Spanish Civil War.”

That’s OK – Andy Farah did just fine in school. He went to medical school, became a psychiatrist and now explains Ernest Hemingway to so many of his fans.

For 20 years, Farah has used his training to study what a number of concussions that Hemingway suffered – at least nine, by Farah’s count – did to his brain.

“You have this man who is a genius and, as he ages, the cumulative damage that his brain sustained led to a deterioration in the work - not only the life and interactions were affected but the work was affected,” says Farah. “And the two plane crashes in Africa really sealed the deal. Those were severe.”

In one of them, Hemingway – probably already concussed from the crash – used his head to knock out the door he used to escape the plane that was filling with smoke.

“Hemingway, himself, in multiple letters wrote about the effects of concussion,” says Farah. “And his exact words were, ‘I've been studying it and concussions are a funny thing.’”

They weren’t funny by the end of his life. In fact, Farah believes they played a central role in why Hemingway killed himself in 1961, three weeks before his 62nd birthday, and tells the story in his new book "Hemingway’s Brain."

“There's so much mythology surrounding him that I wanted to set the record straight,” says Farah.

See if you think he did in this edition of the Buckley Report.