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Beautiful Exile: The Life of Martha Gellhorn Paperback – November 28, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Backinprint.com (November 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595480470
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595480470
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,614,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This perceptive, well-researched and well-written book leaves one full of admiration for a woman so plucky, so witty and so talented." --The Literary Review

"Clear, dispassionate and admirably well informed about the larger context through which she moved so forcefully and for so long."-- The New Statesman

From the Publisher

Martha Gellhorn died in 1998, just shy of her 90th birthday. Well before her death, she had become a legend. As a reporter, she covered wars from Spain in the 1930s to Panama in the 1980s, and her travel books became classics. She took three husbands, including Ernest Hemingway, as well as many lovers, and her innumerable friends included Presidents Roosevelt and Kennedy. She was a tireless campaigner against tyranny and deprivation, and she continued to the end to be outraged at the perfidy of governments and contemptuous of those she considered phony and insincere. Gellhorn always resisted the idea of a biography, and it was only after her death that her friends felt free to speak to Carl Rollyson about her; the result is a book that does justice to a woman who lived life to the fullest, lived it on her own terms, and, in so doing, became an icon of her times. Carl Rollyson is Professor of English at The City University of New York. His previous books include biographies of Rebecca West, Lillian Hellman, and Susan Sontag. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Carl Rollyson, Professor of Journalism at Baruch College, The City University of New York, has published more than forty books ranging in subject matter from biographies of Marilyn Monroe, Lillian Hellman, Martha Gellhorn, Norman Mailer, Rebecca West, Susan Sontag, and Jill Craigie to studies of American culture, genealogy, children's biography, film, and literary criticism. He has authored more than 500 articles on American and European literature and history. His work has been reviewed in newspapers such as The New York Times and the London Sunday Telegraph and in journals such as American Literature and the Dictionary of Literary Biography. For four years (2003-2007) he wrote a weekly column, "On Biography," for The New York Sun and was President of the Rebecca West Society (2003-2007). His play, THAT WOMAN: REBECCA WEST REMEMBERS, has been produced at Theatresource in New York City. Amy Lowell Anew: A Biography (awarded a "We the People" NEH grant) will be published in August 2013. . "Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews, a biography of Dana Andrews was published in September 2012 by University Press of Mississippi. His biography, "American Isis: The Life and Death of Sylvia Plath" was published in February 2013, the fiftieth anniversary of her death. His reviews of biography appear regularly in The Wall Street Journal, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, The Raleigh News & Observer, The Kansas City Star, and The New Criterion. He is currently advisory editor for the Hollywood Legends series published by the University Press of Mississippi. He welcomes queries from those interested in contributing to the series. Read his column, "Biographology," and his blog on http://carlrollyson.com.
Watch the book trailer for Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7xyz9sL3HA
Watch the book trailer for American Isis: The Life and Art of Sylvia Plath: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M54HJRqrOlU
Audition script for NORMAN MAILER: THE LAST ROMANTIC: http://www.carlrollyson.com/_i_norman_mailer__the_last_romantic__i__113276.htm

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By expat reader on May 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
Just about the weakest biography of anyone I've ever read - poorly written with little insight into the subject's character, this is a book that appears to have been thrown together with no care and little effort. An insult to the reader.

For a good read on Martha Gellhorn, try Caroline Moorehead's Gellhorn: A Twentieth Century Life - a much more in-depth look at the subject and a superior quality of writing. Ms Moorehead is clearly a writer who knows her stuff. (Check out her latest, Human Cargo, for a powerful work on refugees).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TR wilson on December 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a nice complement to authorized biography of Gellhorn by Caroline Moorehead. The author goes over the same ground, but in much less detail and without access to most of Gellhorn's letters or private diaries. However, "Beautiful Exile" contains some needed analysis and criticism of Gellhorn which was solely lacking in the Moorehead book.

A definite minus is an error filled appendix and Rollyson's pedestrian prose style.

Probably best for Gellhorn fans who've read the Morehead biography and want a different perspective.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Stamper VINE VOICE on June 2, 2014
Format: Paperback
Disclaimer: I am the narrator of the audiobook version.

Having read this book three times, once before narration, once during narration and one more time listening to it during the editing and mastering of the audio, I have a good understanding of the book and its subject matter… and, in the end, I found her life and exploits even more fascinating that I had imagined.

This is the story of the long and amazing life of the most important female war correspondent of the 20th Century, Martha Gellhorn. She was born into a prominent liberal midwestern family and became close friends with Eleanor Roosevelt (she even lived in the White House for a short time). Her travels eventually led her to Key West where she met Ernest Hemingway.
They were together in Spain as War Correspondents in the 1930s, and were married during the extent of WWII.  Besides the Civil War in Spain and WWII in Europe shortly thereafter, they had their own fierce battle going on and this story holds no punches. I have read much of Hemingway’s works including several Hemingway biographies, but I still learned some new things about him and his relationship with Martha Gellhorn. But, this book is about much more than that brief wartime relationship. If Gellhorn had never met Hemingway, she still would have had an incredible life well worth writing and talking about. That’s probably the most important takeaway I got from this book.
As another reviewer pointed out, this book has some “much needed analysis and criticism” as the author wrote it independently of Gellhorn’s approval. I would imagine she had a certain image she wanted to protect. Her destruction all of her letters from Hemingway shortly before her death tells us that.
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