The Dangerous Summer

by Ernest Hemingway. Scribner’s, $17.95. In 1959 Life magazine commissioned Hemingway to return to Spain and report on the state of bullfighting in 10,000 words. He wrote 120,000. Ferocious cutting produced the necessary magazine piece, of which nobody, including the author, thought highly. Later cutting has produced this book, centered on the professional rivalry between a pair of fine bullfighters and on Hemingway’s friendship with the younger of the two. It would probably be difficult for an author in the best of shape to maintain a suitable quality of excitement and suspense in his writing while being, as Don Ernesto was, steadily red-carpeted— and at the age of sixty, Hemingway was not in the best shape. The book is not the best Hemingway. What is impressive about it is how close to the best so much of this work by a sick and worried man comes. James A. Michener has provided a sympathetic introduction plus information on bullfighting terms and procedures— most useful to readers who cannot tell a muleta from a veronica.