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Martha Gellhorn: a life by Caroline…
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Martha Gellhorn: a life (2003)

by Caroline Moorehead

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I really loved this book. I was entirely charmed with the woman and the writing kept up as well as it could with her despite the fact that she never seemed to rest. She's a woman who celebrates her strength, both physical and emotional. ( )
  Tinamonster | Feb 14, 2014 |
I got this book from the library after I watched the HBO movie, "Hemingway & Gellhorn" because I wanted to know more about her life. Martha Gellhorn was an intelligent, brave, and ultimately, mostly unhappy woman who deserves to be know for something other than being Ernest Hemingway's third wife. While not always easy to get along with, she was brave and intelligent and held herself up to very high standards (which she, herself, didn't always live up to).

Looking back, her marriage to Hemingway probably never should have happened. They both were too implacable in their own ambitions to make the accommodations necessary for a successful marriage. And quite frankly, from what I've read about Hemingway, I'm not sure that I understand how any woman could live with him for very long. As Gelhorn herself said, "He must be a great genius to make up for being such a despicable human being." However, her other relationships with men were also unsuccessful, so perhaps she was one of those people who just should never have married.

The same could probably be said for her non-success at motherhood. The chapter describing her search for a baby to adopt in Italy was disturbingly creepy - sort of like someone shopping for a pet at an animal shelter.

In the end, she was best in extreme situations, describing the affects of war and other disasters on ordinary people in clear-eyed prose. I'm glad I learned more about her & now will be off looking for some of her books to read. ( )
1 vote etxgardener | Jul 17, 2012 |
Excellent biography of Martha Gellhorn, war correspondent, novelist, world traveller. Gellhorn was a fascinating woman, never happier than when she was in the thick of things, observing and describing world-changing events. She never got the hang of ordinary living, was bored or unsettled without a war to visit. As a journalist she abhorred what she referred to as "objective bullshit", believing that there was a right and wrong side to every conflict, and that it was her job to separate the bastards from the decent people. Although she had many close friendships with both men and women over the years, she could be terribly unkind if she perceived a lack of loyalty, or if someone failed to continue to stimulate her. Her romantic attachments routinely ended badly, and her relationship with her adopted son was a disaster until very late in her life. A fascinating woman, from this distance. I doubt that I would have been comfortable in her presence. The book is well written, suffering slightly from the common biographer's failure to know what to leave out---a little too heavy on relatively minor details. Recommended reading. ( )
1 vote laytonwoman3rd | Jan 12, 2010 |
An amazing life described in a dry way. ( )
  susan.nemitz | Nov 25, 2007 |
A wonderfully detailed and revealing look at the life of a literary trailblazer. Can descend into dry facts and some musings, but overall a very interesting read. ( )
  Elishibai | Apr 21, 2007 |
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To Daisy and Millie, daughters of my own Martha
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805065539, Paperback)

The first major biography of legendary war correspondent Martha Gellhorn, whose life provides a unique and thrilling perspective on world history in an extraordinary time

Martha Gellhorn's heroic career as a reporter brought her to the front lines of virtually every significant international conflict between the Spanish Civil War and the end of the Cold War. The preeminent-and often the only-female correspondent on the scene, she broke new ground for women in the male preserve of journalism. Her wartime dispatches, marked by a passionate desire to expose suffering in its many guises and an inimitable immediacy, rank among the best of the twentieth century.

A deep-seated love of travel complemented this interest in world affairs. From her birth in St. Louis in 1908 to her death in London in 1998, Gellhorn passed through Africa, Cuba, China, and most of the great cities of Europe, recording her experiences in first-rate travel writing and fiction. A tall, glamorous blonde, she made friends easily-among the boldface names that populated her life were Eleanor Roosevelt, Leonard Bernstein, and H. G. Wells-but she was as incapable of settling into comfortable long-term relationships as she was of sitting still, and happiness often eluded her despite her professional success. Both of her marriages ended badly-the first, to Ernest Hemingway, publicly so.

Drawn from extensive interviews and with exclusive access to Gellhorn's papers and correspondence, this seminal biography spans half the globe and almost an entire century to offer an exhilarating, intimate portrait of one of the defining women of our times.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:40 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Martha Gellhorn's heroic career as a reporter brought her to the front lines of virtually every significant international conflict between the Spanish Civil War and the end of the Cold War. The preeminent - and often the only - female correspondent on the scene, she broke new ground for women in the male preserve of journalism. Her wartime dispatches, marked by a passionate desire to expose suffering in its many guises and an inimitable immediacy, rank among the best of the twentieth century." "A deep-seated love of travel complemented this professional interest in world affairs. From her birth in St. Louis in 1908 to her death in London in 1998, Gellhorn passed through Africa, Cuba, China, and most of the great cities of Europe, recording her experiences in impressive travel writing and fiction. A tall, glamorous blonde, she made friends easily - among the boldface names that populated her life were Eleanor Roosevelt, Leonard Bernstein, H. G. Wells, and Marlon Brando - but she was as incapable of settling into comfortable long-term relationships as she was of sitting still, and happiness often eluded her despite her professional success. Both her marriages ended badly - the first, to Ernest Hemingway, dramatically and publicly so." "Drawn from extensive interviews and exclusive access to Gellhorn's papers and correspondence, this seminal biography spans half the globe and almost an entire century to offer an exhilarating, intimate portrait of one of the defining women of our times."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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