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Martha Gellhorn, 12 December 1996

... This is how my memory works.I was sitting in the big inner courtyard of the New Tiran Hotel, Naama Bay, south Sinai, drinking duty-free whisky and watching the new moon. The sky was dark blue with light behind it, not yet the real desert blackness. I had the place to myself, silence made the evening faultless. I was not thinking, I was basking in sensations of my skin ...

Mean Streets of Salvador

Martha Gellhorn, 22 August 1996

... The crime reporter said: ‘They don’t kill as many children here in Salvador as they do in Rio and São Paolo.’ Salvador has a population of two and a quarter million, Rio de Janeiro ten million, São Paolo 17 million. He was a nice man, middle-aged, overweight, with a beat-up face and friendly eyes. We sat around his metal desk in the big bare city office of his newspaper, among other empty metal desks ...

Her Guns

Jeremy Harding, 8 March 1990

The View from the Ground 
by Martha Gellhorn.
Granta, 459 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 14 014200 2
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Towards Asmara 
by Thomas Keneally.
Hodder, 320 pp., £12.95, September 1989, 0 340 41517 7
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... As a young girl growing up in St Louis, Missouri, Martha Gellhorn had a habit of poring over maps; riding on the city’s tramcars, she would imagine she was bound for distant places with exotic names. Seventy years later, her war dispatches, fiction, travel writing and the peacetime journalism – collected here – bear witness to a lifetime of wanderlust ...

No One Leaves Her Place in Line

Jeremy Harding: Martha Gellhorn, 7 May 1998

... Martha Gellhorn (1908-98), war correspondent and heroine’. Since her death in February, this epitaph has become a depressing possibility. Now we can say what we like about her, but during the last ten years of her life, though she could do little about criticism, she tried to keep the mythologising, much of it from friends, within the bounds of taste ...

No Intention of Retreating

Lorna Scott Fox: Martha Gellhorn’s Wars, 2 September 2004

Martha GellhornA Life 
by Caroline Moorehead.
Vintage, 550 pp., £8.99, June 2004, 0 09 928401 4
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... Martha Gellhorn, the war reporter and writer who feared nothing on earth so much as boredom, and hated the ‘kitchen of life’, was enamoured of a different drudgery – life’s cardboard boxes. She moved house obsessively from continent to continent, America to Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa, back and forth: I daren’t venture an exact number of proper residences, but it’s more than a dozen, in almost as many countries ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Hemingway the Spy, 16 February 2017

... his conscience alarmed. At the disbanding of the International Brigades, he was heartbroken, and Martha Gellhorn recalled him breaking down in Valencia. One can picture (as he might say) his pity (as he might call it) for brave men (as only he could conceive of them) loyal to the Spanish earth (as only he could eulogise it) sent home wounded, penniless ...

Mganga with the Lion

Kenneth Silverman: Hemingway, 2 September 1999

Hemingway: The Thirties 
by Michael Reynolds.
Norton, 360 pp., £9.95, October 1998, 0 393 31778 1
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Hemingway: The Final Years 
by Michael Reynolds.
Norton, 416 pp., £19.95, July 1999, 0 393 04748 2
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True at First Light 
by Ernest Hemingway.
Heinemann, 319 pp., £16.99, July 1999, 9780434008322
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... Ultimately, she sacrificed Ernest. When she was 42, he dropped her for the 28-year-old Martha Gellhorn. Gellhorn’s political convictions led her to Madrid, a city under siege, to write pieces for Collier’s. Hemingway covered the war for the North American News Alliance. They became lovers at the Hotel ...

God, what a victory!

Jeremy Harding, 10 February 1994

Martyr’s Day: Chronicle of Small War 
by Michael Kelly.
Macmillan, 354 pp., £16.99, October 1993, 0 333 60496 2
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Battling for News: The Rise of the Woman Reporter 
by Anne Sebba.
Hodder, 301 pp., £19.99, January 1994, 0 340 55599 8
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Women’s Letters in Wartime 
edited by Eva Figes.
Pandora, 304 pp., £20, October 1993, 0 04 440755 6
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The War at Sixteen: Autobiography, Vol. II 
by Julien Green, translated by Euan Cameron.
Marion Boyars, 207 pp., £19.95, November 1993, 0 7145 2969 9
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... China, only to find herself blacklisted back in the US in the year of its success; Martha Gellhorn, described in her FBI file as a ‘PAF’, or ‘premature anti-fascist’, whose fiery longevity is the nearest thing to a live link between Christine de Pisan and Kate Adie; Victoria Brittain, now deputy foreign editor of the Guardian, who ...

Surviving the Sixties

Hilary Mantel, 18 May 1989

Shoe: The Odyssey of a Sixties Survivor 
by Jonathan Guinness.
Century Hutchinson, 233 pp., £14.95, March 1989, 0 09 173857 1
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Lilly: Reminiscences of Lillian Hellman 
by Peter Feibleman.
Chatto, 364 pp., £14.95, February 1989, 0 7011 3441 0
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... of your own life ... Not in America.’ But Lillian went ahead, antagonising Mary McCarthy, Martha Gellhorn and other members of what Lillian called dismissively ‘the ladies club’, who felt their own activities put in the shade by her self-promotion. Mary McCarthy said: ‘Every word she writes is a lie, including “and” and ...

Into the Net

Neal Ascherson: Records of the Spanish Civil War, 15 December 2016

Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39 
by Adam Hochschild.
Macmillan, 438 pp., £25, April 2016, 978 1 5098 1054 3
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¡No Pasarán! Writings from the Spanish Civil War 
edited by Pete Ayrton.
Serpent’s Tail, 393 pp., £20, April 2016, 978 1 84668 997 0
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The Last Days of the Spanish Republic 
by Paul Preston.
William Collins, 390 pp., £25, February 2016, 978 0 00 816340 2
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A Distant Heartbeat: A War, a Disappearance and a Family’s Secrets 
by Eunice Lipton.
New Mexico, 165 pp., £18.50, April 2016, 978 0 8263 5658 1
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... with the talented mob working out of the Hotel Florida in Madrid during the siege. Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn and Herbert Matthews of the New York Times and Virginia Cowles were among that crew, most of them hotly committed to the anti-fascist cause. Gellhorn, with mounting desperation, used her friendship with ...

Go and get killed, comrade

Gideon Lewis-Kraus: Spanish Civil War, 21 February 2013

Unlikely Warriors: The British in the Spanish Civil War and the Struggle against Fascism 
by Richard Baxell.
Aurum, 516 pp., £25, September 2012, 978 1 84513 697 0
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I Am Spain: The Spanish Civil War and the Men and Women Who Went to Fight Fascism 
by David Boyd Haycock.
Old Street, 363 pp., £25, October 2012, 978 1 908699 10 7
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... of the New York Times, and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Hemingway wrote to the young reporter Martha Gellhorn, whom he’d met in a Key West bar, and told her to come. Gellhorn couldn’t get press credentials and had to cross the Pyrenees on foot. When she turned up in dark, cold Madrid, Hemingway greeted her with ...

For a Lark

Patricia Beer, 21 March 1996

Hearts Undefeated: Women’s Writing of the Second World War 
edited by Jenny Hartley.
Virago, 302 pp., £12.99, May 1995, 9781853816710
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... and occasional, represented in Hearts Undefeated were totally exempt from Connolly’s strictures. Martha Gellhorn wrote about Dachau, Mavis Tate about Buchenwald. Laura Knight and Rebecca West covered the Nuremberg trials as Fleur Cowles had covered the Nuremberg rally eight years previously. But the women who described themselves, persistently and ...


Jeremy Treglown, 6 August 1992

Writers on World War Two: An Anthology 
edited by Mordecai Richler.
Chatto, 752 pp., £18.99, February 1992, 0 7011 3912 9
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Legacies and Ambiguities: Post-war Fiction and Culture in West Germany and Japan 
edited by Ernestine Schlant and Thomas Rimer.
Woodrow Wilson Center Press/Johns Hopkins, 323 pp., $35, February 1992, 0 943875 30 7
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... they have contributed to its literature. Simone de Beauvoir, Elizabeth Bowen, Marguerite Duras, Martha Gellhorn, Natalia Ginzburg, Shirley Hazzard, Doris Lessing and many other women writers are here (but not Anne Frank or Hannah Arendt), and among the more unexpected selections are the reminiscences of Soviet women, collected, Studs Terkel-wise, by ...

Candle Moments

Andrew O’Hagan: Norman Lewis’s Inventions, 25 September 2008

Semi-Invisible Man: The Life of Norman Lewis 
by Julian Evans.
Cape, 792 pp., £25, June 2008, 978 0 224 07275 5
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... found their way into his stories and into the grist of his sentences. I once had dinner with Martha Gellhorn; there was a candle between us, and she told me that the point about Hemingway was that he was the sort of man who could insist there were two candles on the table, that nothing could change his mind about what he believed: ‘Two candles ...

Hemingway Hunt

Frank Kermode, 17 April 1986

Along with Youth: Hemingway, the Early Years 
by Peter Griffin.
Oxford, 258 pp., £12.95, March 1986, 0 19 503680 8
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The Young Hemingway 
by Michael Reynolds.
Blackwell, 291 pp., £14.95, February 1986, 0 631 14786 1
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Hemingway: A Biography 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Macmillan, 646 pp., £16.95, March 1986, 0 333 42126 4
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... he turned Catholic for Pauline, but that only led to rows about birth control; he came to detest Martha. The record of wives and mistresses is largely a record of failure. It seems Hemingway believed that by expending semen you were giving up juices necessary to good writing, a view that puts wives in a difficult position. He wanted perfection of the life as ...

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