He spends more time exposing the weaknesses of contemporary bullfighters than praising their courage. The bloody carnage wrought on the bullfighters gains far more attention in 'Death in the Afternoon' than in Spanish media. Hemingway readers will recognise the attraction of such precarious activity for the writer, who had a life long fascination with and propensity for near lethal injury, and ultimately a preoccupation with mortality.
The great advantage for the modern reader is the sheer volume of illustrating archive footage and photography which can be found, which Hemingway almost certainly would not have had access to or awareness of. This comes in particular interest when he describes the intricacies and personalities of different matadors, whom he describes with the detail for those who would never be able to see with their own eyes.
As you might expect, the work is overflowing with rich anecdotes of Spanish life, some beautiful, some bawdy, often hilarious, always well observed. This is especially true for the accompanying extensive glossary (constituting over a quarter of the entire text), which might amount to being the finest glossary to any book in the English language. Just look up the entry for 'Tacones' [heels] for a good example of Hemingway's piratical approach to literature and villainy.
The book is a fascinating read for anyone who wants to understand tragedy as an art form. Why should humanity find such perennial need for stories of downfall and death? No matter whether you believe bullfighting should be condemned or celebrated, it is the genius and insight of Hemingway which provides the unique elucidation.