An engrossing collection that burnishes Gellhorn’s reputation as an astute observer, insightful writer, and uniquely brave...

YOURS, FOR PROBABLY ALWAYS

MARTHA GELLHORN'S LETTERS OF LOVE AND WAR, 1930-1949

Loneliness, love, and a rebellious spirit are revealed through a writer’s intimate letters.

Somerville makes an impressive book debut with a life of novelist, journalist, and intrepid war correspondent Martha Gellhorn (1908-1998), told through a captivating selection of her letters to friends, family, husbands, and lovers. The volume is enriched by Somerville’s biographical narrative and her decision to include responses of many recipients and, in some cases, letters between individuals who were especially significant in Gellhorn’s life: letters, for example, between Gellhorn’s second husband, Ernest Hemingway, and her mother, Edna Gellhorn. Edna was her daughter’s polestar and champion: “I love you best of anybody,” Gellhorn wrote to her before she went off to report in Vietnam. “I’ll love you as long as I live, and admire you wholeheartedly out of the whole world.” Gellhorn loved Eleanor Roosevelt, too, whom she counted as a friend and confidante. “Dearest Mrs. R.,” Gellhorn wrote, was “an absolutely unfrightened selfless woman whose heart never went wrong.” To Gellhorn’s impassioned raging against injustice, oppression, and the horror of war, Roosevelt was unfailingly sympathetic and wise but also calmly forthright about Americans’ reluctance “to do much in the way of sacrificing to help the people who are suffering in other lands.” By the time Gellhorn married Hemingway in 1940, both were already famous, and the marriage made news. But despite playful, loving letters to her “Beloved Bug,” she came to find Hemingway moody and volatile; “a man must be a very great genius to make up for being such a loathsome human being,” she wrote to her mother when she decided to divorce him. Although she had many affairs and countless friends, she confessed that her abiding loneliness could not “be blotted out by anyone else; my loneliness is my own cherished possession and probably my only one.”

An engrossing collection that burnishes Gellhorn’s reputation as an astute observer, insightful writer, and uniquely brave woman.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-228-10186-4

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Firefly

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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