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Gellhorn: A Twentieth-Century Life Paperback – Sep 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 465 pages
  • Publisher: Owl Books (NY); Reprint edition (Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805076964
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805076967
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,691,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

The first major biography of legendary war correspondent Martha Gellhorn casts "a vivid spotlight on one of the most undercelebrated women of the 20th century" ("Entertainment Weekly") 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; her wartime dispatches rank among the best of the century. From her birth in St. Louis in 1908 to her death in London in 1998, the tall, glamorous blonde passed through Africa, Cuba, Panama, and most of the great cities of Europe. She made friends easily-among them Eleanor Roosevelt, Leonard Bernstein, and H. G. Wells-but happiness often eluded her despite her professional success: both of 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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By m. dosa on 1 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
well researched and written and easy to read.however gellhorn comes across as a spoilt socialite,she views war and muses on it whilst having a wonderful adventure living it up in hotels and restaurants with exciting pals,she adopts a war orphan and then transports him around the world leaving him alone for long periods of time with servants and nannies.most of her novels are received with a great dose of neutrality,described by her ex hubby hemingway, as just plain spoiled and inhumanly selfish.gellhorn fame is amplified by the set of people she spent time with which detracts from her writing skills
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 40 reviews
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
The Life of a Fearless Reporter 28 July 2004
By takingadayoff - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have been a Martha Gellhorn fan snce I found a copy of Travels With Myself and Another on the shelf at Hatchard's in London in 1983. I had never heard of Gellhorn, but was immediately taken with her no-nonsense reporter's style of writing. I scooped up all her non-fiction and some of her fiction. After reading both of Carl Rollyson's bios of her (one written before she died, against her wishes, the other right after her death), I thought I knew a little about Gellhorn. After reading Moorehead's bio, I found out just how little.

This is likely to be the standard text on Gellhorn's life. It is complete, readable, and doesn't pull any punches. You get Gellhorn, warts and all, and there are plenty of warts. There was a lot of information here that I hadn't known, and wouldn't have guessed. It may even be too much information. I think I may know more about Gellhorn now than I really wanted to.

Martha Gellhorn was a terrific war reporter, a great non-fiction writer, a competent author of fiction, and a fascinating person. Moorehead's biography captures all that and is well worth your time.
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
A Woman Way Ahead of Her Time 5 Oct. 2003
By Virginia C. Selanik - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This new biography on Martha Gellhorn by Caroline Moorehead is a most gripping biography from a number of angles. First of all, Moorehead chronicles Gellhorn's personal and professional life with interesting and amusing anecdotes and many of Martha's ad hominem humorous quips. As a writer and a war correspondent, few women in this field can match Gellhorn's scope and travels. It is unfortunate that most people only know of Gellhorn as Hemingway's third wife.Moorehead, however, covers Gellhorn's entire life without added emphasis on the Hemingway marriage, which would have pleased Gellhorn greatly. A valuable fringe benefit of this biography is the expansive coverage of Gellhorn's famous acquaintances in her work as a war correspondent as well as in her personal life....Eleanor Roosevelt and President Roosevelt, Gen James Gavin, Robert Capa, photographer,Leonard Bernstein, and
H.G. Wells. In reading this biography one also acquires a feel for the politics of the era and its history...the Spanish Civil War, World WarII, and even the Vietnam War. History becomes most interesting reading in this superb biography.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
martha gellhorn: well chronicled if not demystified 29 May 2006
By Robert Lockwood Mills - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Caroline Moorehead captures the passion of trend-setting journalist Martha Gellhorn in this biography. She follows Gellhorn through the Spanish Civil War, a turbulent marriage to (fellow friend of Spanish loyalists) Ernest Hemingway, and Gellhorn's success in breaking tradition by accompanying the invading Allied armies in World War II. Moorehead's sense of history is acute and she avoids the pitfall of over-dramatizing.

The book falls short only in its failure to resolve the contradictions of Gellhorn's personality...the promiscuous woman who was ambivalent toward sex...the egalitarian who cultivated the high and mighty...the compulsive wanderer and adventurer who cherished the companionship of her mother and close friends. We want to like Gellhorn, but we don't understand her well enough to get there.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Adventure, Excitement and Sex - and a Fearless lady. 22 Dec. 2012
By Richard Glenister - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You did not learn all about Martha Gellhorn in the recentHemingway and Gellhorn movie. This book lays bare a genuine heroine - as brave as she was senusal. It reveals a competitive woman with an understanding of world affairs - most of all the shortcomings of her own country. She felt dearly for the poor and unemployed and was critical of injustices wherever she found them. Martha pushed herself into the front battle lines without required approvals and did whatever it took to gain entry
She withstood hardship in several countries as part of her task in gathering facts and writing news pieces.

Prior to meeting Hemingway in Florida in 1935, Martha had numerous love affairs and a few aborted pregnacies. Sex came easily to this tall leggy blonde but love was more elusive. She did not enjoy sex and more than once sought medical advice.
In Paris, pre-war she wrote..."No one reached out for me, really, not for what I wanted or wanted to become, but grabbed for my body...It was never any good. The only part I ever liked was arms around me and an illlusion of tenderness."

During their affair and short marriage, Martha and Hemingway fought and were openly unhappy. And what did not help was they were professional contestents - Hemingway striving to outdo Martha, with the advantage he was alreadly a leader, well known in journalistic circles.

Martha became well known after splitting with Heminway and endured further relationships which in the end went nowhere. She continued to write, and was heavily in demand as a lecturer. Travel remained her passion.

Ill health eventually took its toll but she lived until 1998 a which time she quietly suicided.

This book takes an in depth look at a strong woman and her performances stand out on every page. This is a book you will want to share with others.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Sour Grapes? 25 May 2005
By Charlotte Corday - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I'm a Gellhorn fan, no doubt. However, I'm able to separate the journalist from the legend and the myth from the woman, who like so many of us, had clay feet. It's interesting to me how many men develop a virulent dislike of her, while most women can see past her many flaws, admire her courage, and take the inspirational parts of her life for what they are. I suppose if you have very set ideas about what a woman should be like, then Martha Gellhorn's bio is not for you.

However, I'd recommend her work and this biog. For the open minded.
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