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This book is one of my all time favourite books .......
on 17 September 2014
This was ordered as a re-read. I think I must have read this book about 20 years ago and I got the urge to read it again during a trip around The Far East so, thanks to the powers of the Kindle, it was ready to read a minute or so after ordering it. I freely state that I love Martha Gellhorn as an author and think that she is one of the best writers about and observers of major historical events during the 20th century.
I started re-reading it in Hong Kong and the first tale is set partly in Hong Kong, a Hong Kong very different to today's. Tales of being tossed around in an aircraft 'like a butterfly in a hurricane' seemed very prescient as our huge Cathay Pacific 777 from Hong Kong to Saigon chose to give us a similar experience long after the days of the sort of travel Ms Gellhorn was undertaking in small non-pressurised aircraft!
The writing is compassionate, objective, humorous and makes you think. I am just about to finish this re-read, enjoying the remainder in bite sized chunks during the bus journey into work back in London.
And I am ready to re-read all the other Gellhorn sitting on my shelves from novellas to serious war reportage. I was fortunate enough to see the harrowing Vietnamese graveside photograph on display in The War Remnants Museum in Saigon, used as the cover photograph for, I think, The Face of War (or was it The Trouble I've Seen?) so that may be next on the list to re-read.
If you have never read anything by Martha Gellhorn, this is a great book to start with, especially if you enjoy some quality travel writing, gritty and real too. And lots to think about. I am still thinking about some of the thoughts and views from this morning's bus session, that's after a busy day at work and a night at the theatre too.