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Martha Gellhorn (1908–1998)

Author of Travels with Myself and Another: A Memoir

32+ Works 1,677 Members 31 Reviews 6 Favorited

About the Author

Martha Gellhorn, one of America's most important war correspondents, was the author of thirteen books of fiction and nonfiction and the third wife of Ernest Hemingway. Her reporting career spanned several decades: she covered conflicts from the Spanish Civil War to World War II to Vietnam. Gellhorn show more died in 1998 at age eighty-nine show less
Image credit: Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum (cropped) (jfklibrary.org)

Works by Martha Gellhorn

Associated Works

West with the Night (1942) — Introduction, some editions — 3,603 copies
The Best American Short Stories of the Century (2000) — Contributor — 1,560 copies
Reporting Vietnam: American Journalism 1959-1969, Volume 1 (1998) — Contributor — 325 copies
Bad Trips (1991) — Contributor — 233 copies
Granta 32: History (1990) — Contributor — 151 copies
Granta 23: Home (1988) — Contributor — 138 copies
Granta 42: Krauts! (1992) — Contributor — 130 copies
Granta 20: In Trouble Again (1986) — Contributor — 130 copies
The Granta Book of Reportage (Classics of Reportage) (1993) — Contributor — 94 copies
Granta 10: Travel Writing (1984) — Contributor — 88 copies
The Mammoth Book of True War Stories (1992) — Contributor — 87 copies
Granta 11: Greetings From Prague (1984) — Contributor — 60 copies
Great World War II Stories: 50th Anniversary Collection (1989) — Contributor — 29 copies
The Girls from Esquire (1952) — Contributor — 18 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1952 (1952) — Contributor — 5 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1948 (1948) — Contributor — 5 copies
The Saturday Evening Post Stories 1948 (1948) — Contributor — 4 copies
Kritiken, Portraits, Glossen (1995) — Contributor, some editions — 2 copies

Tagged

20th century (101) adventure (98) Africa (423) American (51) American literature (68) anthology (216) autobiography (215) aviation (196) Beryl Markham (56) biography (296) China (29) essays (124) fiction (380) flying (59) Granta (133) Hemingway (28) history (190) journalism (176) Kenya (104) Kindle (32) letters (29) Library of America (52) literary journal (38) literature (81) memoir (435) non-fiction (529) own (40) read (55) short stories (320) to-read (302) travel (328) travel writing (35) unread (54) Vietnam (41) Vietnam War (39) Virago (44) Virago Modern Classics (38) war (83) women (83) WWII (68)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Gellhorn, Martha
Legal name
Gellhorn, Martha Ellis (birth)
Birthdate
1908-11-08
Date of death
1998-02-15
Gender
female
Nationality
USA
Birthplace
St Louis, Missouri, USA
Place of death
London, England, UK
Cause of death
suicide
Places of residence
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Paris, France
London, England, UK
Education
Bryn Mawr College
Occupations
journalist
war correspondent
Investigator, FERA
novelist
memoirist
short story writer
Relationships
Hemingway, Ernest (husband|divorced)
Cowles, Virginia (co-author)
Jouvenel, Bertrand de (lover)
Pilger, John (friend)
Organizations
The Atlantic Monthly
Collier's
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Short biography
Martha Gellhorn's parents were a physician and an advocate for women's right to vote. She attended a progressive private school her parents founded in St. Louis, then went to Bryn Mawr College, leaving in 1927 to write for The New Republic. She then got a job as a crime reporter in Albany, New York. In 1930, she went to Europe, paying for the boat trip by writing a brochure for the Holland American Line. In Paris, she met French writer Bertrand de Jouvenel, whom she may have married. She returned with him to St. Louis and then traveled the American Southwest as a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Her first novel, What Mad Pursuit (1934), attracted the attention of Harry Hopkins, a close advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who hired Gellhorn to travel the USA as a field investigator for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) and write about the effects of the Great Depression. The resulting work, The Trouble I've Seen (1936), is now one of her most famous. Gellhorn met Ernest Hemingway, whose writing she admired, in Key West, Florida, in 1936. When he told her he was going to Spain to cover the Civil War there, she decided to go, too. She arrived in Madrid in 1937 on assignment for Collier's Weekly. The couple soon became lovers and married in 1940. She took Hemingway along with her to China to cover the Chinese Army's retreat from the Japanese invasion. During World War II, she covered the Soviet attack on Finland, the German Blitz attacks on London, and the Allied D-Day invasion of Europe. "She wrote passionately about the dreadful impact of war on the innocent," the Washington Post said in her obituary. She witnessed the Allied liberation of the concentration camp at Dachau, and her article became one of the most famous accounts of the discovery of the camps. After the war, Gellhorn divorced Hemingway and lived in several countries, from France and Italy to Cuba, Mexico, and Kenya, before settling in the UK. She covered the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, and the conflicts in Vietnam, Panama, and El Salvador. She also wrote more fiction, including The Honeyed Peace (1953) and Two by Two (1958). Her novellas were popular, and were published in collections including The Weather in Africa (1988) and The Novellas of Martha Gellhorn (1993). Her memoir Travels With Myself and Another, was published in 1978. In 1953 she married her third husband, T.S. Matthews, a former managing editor at Time Magazine. She gave birth to one son, George Alexander Gellhorn, whom she raised herself, and adopted a son from an Italian orphanage. She died by suicide at age 89. Her selected letters were published posthumously in 2006.

Members

Reviews

Enjoyable selection of 'horror journeys' endured by Martha Gellhorn, though none featuring war reportage for which she is justly remembered. An African journey is the longest piece, with a stark contrast between West and East Africa. Musing, towards the end, on the meaning of travel, she considers that more than all the hardships and difficulties, boredom is the thing she fears most - something that speaks to my own experience. The writing is open and perceptive, though some of the judgements and opinions expressed are, at the very least, dated.… (more)
 
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DramMan | 8 other reviews | Apr 17, 2024 |
Most of the pieces in this collection were originally published in Colliers, The Guardian, and other publications for whom Gellhorn was a war correspondent. These columns make the Spanish Civil War, World War II, and the Vietnam War immediate and personal. Gellhorn’s writing grew more political over time. Not surprisingly, the Vietnam War appeared to mark a turning point in her war coverage.

The World War II columns resonated most with me, particularly the column on Dachau (which I’ve visited) and the Nuremberg Trials. I felt like I was missing some context for the columns on the wars in Central America. Gellhorn’s perspective on the Six Day War is the most intriguing part of this collection. Gellhorn’s view of Israel was shaped by her eyewitness experience of the Holocaust at Dachau and other places in Europe.… (more)
½
 
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cbl_tn | 4 other reviews | Jan 1, 2023 |
Reason Read: AAC. Martha Gellhorn was a novelist, journalist, and travel writer. 1934 to 1998
This book is a summary of all the wars that she had visited and wrote about in her lifetime. Ms Gellhorn was a pacifist and she writes about the people who live their lives in the turmoil of war. She writes about the lies that the government tells people to justify the wars and she reveals the propaganda that even Americans are subjected to to justify war. I felt like this writing was factual and trustworthy and without bias except for the author's pacifism. She is a new to me author. She is an interesting person who lived an interesting life.… (more)
 
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Kristelh | 4 other reviews | Dec 20, 2022 |
Martha Gellhorn, a well-known journalist and war correspondent, would not necessarily want you to identify as Ernest Hemingway's third wife, but she was. Martha Gellhorn, would like to be known as a person who didn't let the details get in her way, and was a very care-free traveler, and in some instances she was.

Her writing is clear, humorous and a joy to read. She easily depicts Africa as a lost continent, incapable of ruling themselves because the populations who lived there all their lives are ignorant. The Massi tribe is depicted as so very ugly that one has a difficult time looking at them. Made uglier by the long, deep groves of scars decorating their faces, she thinks they plead ignorance so they do not have to work.

The book begins with her journey to China, the weather is depicted as God awful hot, and the inhabitants were ignorant and small minded. Like the Soviet Union, she finds the government oppressive and crooked.

When I told a friend that she has a strong distaste for the ugly Massi tribe, my friend overreacted and said she would never read her books, and for that matter, I shouldn't either. When I tried to explain that books written in another time frame than current, are best read with an open mind, and the reader must take that into their view of what appears her sarcasm, prejudice, and loftier than thou perceptions, I was met with silence.

I very much liked this book. She writes with just enough description and feeling, that I was amazed at her ability to overcome many troublesome events.
… (more)
 
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Whisper1 | 8 other reviews | May 6, 2022 |

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Statistics

Works
32
Also by
24
Members
1,677
Popularity
#15,325
Rating
4.0
Reviews
31
ISBNs
108
Languages
8
Favorited
6

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