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Selected Letters

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  99 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
From Martha Gellhorn's critically acclaimed biographer, the first collected letters of this defining figure of the twentieth-century

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. While Gellhorn's wartime dispatches rank among the be
Hardcover, 544 pages
Published July 25th 2006 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published 2006)
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(This is the part of the review when I kind of freak out because I made a resolution to rate AND review all the books I read in 2015 which means I'll have to say something intelligent starting NOW...)

Martha Gellhorn, since I picked up Travels With Myself and Another for fun off a shelf in my favorite hometown bookstore, has been kind of a hero to me. She runs around in war zones, reporting, generally kicking ass, and writing about it. Her reportage gets older and, for lack of a better word, grum
John Hovey
Aug 06, 2008 John Hovey rated it it was amazing
Maybe you've never heard of Martha Gellhorn, that's okay. She was from another time, when writing letters was common. Real letters, like with paper. And maybe you've never read a book of someone else's letters, either. I haven't until now. I wondered if it might be a little creepy, a little shameful, like reading someone else's diary. Which I would never do. But the book is wonderful and, unmoved by death as M was, I cannot imagine she would object too strongly to the world reading of her life t ...more
sister bluestocking
Feb 26, 2008 sister bluestocking rated it it was amazing
Everybody knows who she was. But her glamour and marriage to that famous writer and friendships with the great and near-great and all that travel and war reporting--the stuff you hear about her--doesn't really get at her except in the most glancing, superficial way. Martha Gellhorn was entirely herself: Stubborn, nonconformist, tactless, brutal, brilliant, gorgeous, breathtakingly brave and honest. Making big mistakes, driving people crazy, being a wonderful friend. Writing, always writing (whil ...more
Jul 14, 2007 Kim rated it liked it
Martha Gellhorn is my personal hero. She had glamorous lovers, an illustrious career in journalism, good taste, and the courage to live a life worth writing about. It is the later achievement I most admire. She took risks and was willing to live with the outcomes.

All this is ascertained from her beautifully written letters. Martha wrote so many and wrote them well. If written candidly and with style, letters are the best format for delivering the inner workings of complex people and Martha was
Mar 07, 2015 Annemariem rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From one of the first and only women war correspondents of the planet and the former wife of Hemingway (although she would prefer to forget that particular episode), the most personal writings imaginable: her letters to her many friends.

As these friends include Eleanor Roosevelt, HG Wells, Hemingway, Leonard Bernstein, Adlai Stevenson and many more, and they span the years from the Great Depression through WW II, the cold war and the sexual revolution, this is a fascinating document of the life
Mar 04, 2015 T.J. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stopped-reading
This was a well compiled book, but I found that I'd much rather read a more traditional biography. The letters were interesting to a point, but it just wasn't to my taste; there was too much rambling about events, people, etc., with no backstory to make them relevant (unless they were already quite famous). Gellhorn's life seems intriguing, however, and I plan to seek out another format for her life story. Maybe then I'll appreciate the letters a bit more. This is my opinion only; again, it is a ...more
Donna Kusuda
Oct 05, 2010 Donna Kusuda rated it really liked it
Great biography through her letters. What a smart "ahead of her time" woman. Certainly the equal of Ernst Hemingway her husband for about seven years during the time he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls.
Martha was a war correspondent, unique for a woman during WWII. Good friends with Eleanor Roosevelt among many other smart people. I really didn't know much about her before, but you get to know her on a personal level through the letters and think I would have liked to have her as a friend.
Carolyn Rector
Mar 03, 2014 Carolyn Rector rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible book. Read also The Face of War by Martha Gellhorn published in 1959,1967,1986 and 1988. An early foreign correspondent, her letters show her opposition to Hitler abd Fascist governments. She is always concerned for the innocents on the ground in the Spanish Civil War and all over Europe. She reports on the napalm bombing by the American in Vietnam and becomes an anti-war demonstrator. She died in 1998 at the age of 90.
Laura McNeal
Jul 19, 2011 Laura McNeal rated it it was amazing
I read this book because I wondered if the tour guide's description of Gellhorn was accurate when we visited Ernest Hemingway's house in Key West. Now I want to buy cases and cases of this book and hand them out to tourists as they leave the property. It's brilliant and illuminating and devastating--must-read material for fans (or former fans) of Hemingway or for anyone who's ever tried to be a writer.
Mar 03, 2013 André rated it it was amazing
Love Martha Gellhorn. 20th and 21st century's problems are not so different. Challenges and questions in love, war, journalism, politics, family, literature remain. The self-destruction of human beings will never change.
Nov 16, 2007 Susan rated it it was amazing
Martha Gellhorn was once married to Ernest Hemingway but this is not what is important about her life...she was a brave, brilliant journalist who lived her life in her own way.
Mary Alice
Oct 24, 2013 Mary Alice rated it it was amazing
Martha is a fantastic letter writer, which seems to be a dying art. She knew a lot of famous people
and it's fun to read a one-way correspondence!
Feb 23, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it
Interesting info on her covering wars, traveling extensively, and relationships.
Aug 31, 2010 Rose rated it really liked it
Recommended to Rose by: NYtimes
If you like reading autobiographies about independent women you'll like this.
Apr 27, 2012 Tracy rated it really liked it
Fascinating—if only she had written a memoir.
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American novelist, travel writer and journalist, considered to be one of the greatest war correspondents of the 20th century. The Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism is named after her.
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