I've been on a bit of a Hemingway kick lately, and let me tell you, once you start looking, the man is everyfreakingwhere. Just today, the International Spy Museum popped up on my Facebook feed with this Foreign Policy article about Hemingway's lousy spy career.
It's not surprising that Hemingway was gung-ho to be a spy; the man was all about physical exercise, masculinity, proving oneself, long stretches on the open water. It is surprising, though, how bad he was at it; according to the article, he only ever spotted one - count 'em, one - German submarine, and it turned around and left.
Even if he was a lousy spy, we can at least thank his passion for secret missions for one thing: his spy connections eventually got him in to Spain during the Civil War, which provided research for For Whom the Bell Tolls. He may not have given the governments he knew much information, but he gave us one of the greatest war novels of all time. Not a bad trade, in my opinion.