Best Books of the Month Shop Men's Shoes Learn more nav_sap_plcc_6M_fly_beacon $5 Albums All-New Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote Grocery Amazon Gift Card Offer blacklist blacklist blacklist  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 Kindle Voyage Shop Now Learn more
Hotel Florida and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $30.00
  • Save: $7.07 (24%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 15 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
Hotel Florida: Truth, Lov... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Good clean used copy! No internal text markings, curls, or bends! Shapely copy. We ship globally! 100% satisfaction guaranteed. 2 day PRIME! Zero hassle return policy.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 4 images

Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War Hardcover – April 22, 2014

88 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$5.99 $5.95

"Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson
A complete portrait that pulls no punches and gives insight into a the man behind Apple Inc. Check out "Steve Jobs", by Walter Isaacson.
$22.93 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 15 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War
  • +
  • Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story
Total price: $35.67
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews Review

Amanda Vaill
Five Things I Learned About Hemingway While Writing Hotel Florida by Amanda Vaill

1) He was a classical music maven.

Although I knew his mother had been an aspiring opera singer and had taught piano and voice in the Hemingways' Oak Park, Illinois home, I didn't realize that classical music was Hemingway's go-to soundtrack for relaxation and distraction. But when shells were whistling over the Hotel Florida in Madrid, where he and Martha Gellhorn were staying during the Spanish Civil War, what did Hemingway put on the Victrola to drown out the bombardment? Chopin's Opus 33 mazurka, number 4, and the ballade in A-flat minor, opus 47.

2) He was an agent of the KGB.

In public Hemingway had always strenuously resisted the idea of writing anything from "a Marxian viewpoint" – something he derided as "so much horseshit." But in 1937, when he was in Spain covering the Civil War for the North American Newspaper Alliance and writing the script for Joris Ivens's documentary film, The Spanish Earth, Ivens had tried to enlist him as a propagandist, and possibly more, for the Communist Party, which had been supporting the Spanish government against Franco's rebels. And according to internal KGB files studied by a former Soviet agent, Alexander Vassiliev, Hemingway was recruited by the KGB in 1941 and given the code-name "Argo." It was hoped he could report on Nazi activity in Cuba and the Caribbean during World War II, but he never generated any useful intelligence and his cover was terminated in 1950.

3) He couldn't cook paella.

In April of 1937, at a Rioja-fueled lunch party at the Madrid restaurant Botin, a spot Hemingway loved (and had celebrated in The Sun Also Rises), the writer insisted on leaving the table – where the company included the photographer Robert Capa and Capa's beautiful girlfriend and professional partner Gerda Taro –- and going into the kitchen to help prepare paella. "Less skillful in the kitchen than at the typewriter," was the tactful verdict of the restaurant's owner, Emilio Gonzales.

4) His affair with Martha Gellhorn was less than a great romance.

He might have run off with Gellhorn to Spain, beginning an affair that culminated in marriage three years later, after he divorced his second wife, Pauline; but apparently the Gellhorn-Hemingway romance could have used some couples therapy. Gellhorn later claimed her "whole memory of sex with Ernest [was] the invention of excuses and failing that, the hope that it would soon be over." Which it was, by 1944, when Gellhorn scooped her husband by getting a ride on a hospital ship to the D-Day beaches while he gazed at the coast through binoculars from the deck of an attack transport.

5) He originally began the manuscript of his most successful novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, which draws on his experience in the Spanish Civil War, in the first person.

He changed his mind, choosing the detachment of a narrative in which the protagonist is "he," not "I." It was the best and most truthful decision he could have made. To understand why, of course, you have to read the book. Or books. His, and mine.

From Booklist

As if civil war wasn’t torturous enough, the Spanish Civil War had the misfortune to become entangled in larger global issues of ideology on the eve of WWII. That subtext added to the complexity of deciphering who was friend or foe as Francisco Franco overthrew the government and leftist rebels fought back. Thousands of miles away, Ernest Hemingway saw the war as a way to revive a flagging career and get back his zest. Martha Gelhorn, an ambitious young journalist, also saw a career opportunity and a chance to make a lover of Hemingway. In Paris, Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, lovers and idealistic photographers, saw a chance to capture history in the infancy of photojournalism. Arturo Barea and Ilsa Kulcsar were press officers torn between telling the truth and struggling to support their crumbling cause. Vaill taps unpublished letters and diaries as well as official documents to bring intimacy and immediacy to a new look at the war from the perspective of three couples whose paths crossed. This is high drama and an assemblage of characters uniquely suited to appreciate and record it. --Vanessa Bush

See all Editorial Reviews

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition edition (April 22, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374172994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374172992
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #291,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

AMANDA VAILL is the author of the bestselling EVERYBODY WAS SO YOUNG: GERALD AND SARA MURPHY - A LOST GENERATION LOVE STORY, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics' Circle Award in biography, and SOMEWHERE: THE LIFE OF JEROME ROBBINS, for which she received a Guggenheim Fellowship. She is also co-author of SEAMAN SCHEPPS: A CENTURY OF NEW YORK JEWELRY DESIGN, an illustrated study of the work of her designer grandfather; and she has edited or contributed to a number of other books in the field of arts and culture. Her screenplay for the feature-length PBS documentary JEROME ROBBINS: SOMETHING TO DANCE ABOUT received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming, and the film won an Emmy, a CINE Golden Eagle, and the George Foster Peabody Award.

Before becoming a full-time writer in 1992, Ms. Vaill was Executive Editor of Viking Penguin, where her authors included Ingmar Bergman, T.C. Boyle, Blanche Wiesen Cook, Iris Murdoch, and William T. Vollman. Her journalism and criticism have appeared in such publications as Architectural Digest, ArtNews, Ballet Review, Esquire, New York Magazine, Town & Country, and The Washington Post. She lives in New York City, and has just finished her next book, a narrative history entitled HOTEL FLORIDA: LOVE AND DEATH IN THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR, whose protagonists include the writers Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn and the photographers Robert Capa and Gerda Taro.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Spanish Civil War, a prelude to WW2, began in 1936 and ended almost three years later. In the war years, Spanish cities and towns were turned into battlegrounds and hundreds of thousands of Spaniards were killed. Also killed in the fighting were foreigners sympathetic to one or the other sides in the war and had traveled to Spain to take part in the war. The "International Brigades" were made up of men from the US, Britain, and European countries, wanting to help the Republicans, fighting off Franco and his Nationalist troops. The Germans sent men and materiel as well; looking forward to their own coming war, they tested out new weapons on the hapless Spanish. In addition to the fighters, the press came to Madrid and other Spanish towns. Writers and photographers hoping to both let the world in on what was happening in Spain. And if they also gained a bit of fame while covering the war, well, that was good, too. Certainly many war correspondents who became famous in the following big war, gained experience in covering the Spanish Civil War.

Amanda Vaill, author of two other superb works of non-fiction, looks at three "couples" who were part of the press coverage of the war in her new book, "Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War", Two of the six were writers, Ernest Hemingway and his soon-to-be third wife, Martha Gellhorn. Two were photographers, Hungarian Robert Capa (he changed his name from Endre Friedmann when he began his career) and his companion and photographic partner, Gerda Taro. The other two highlighted by Vaill, were Spaniard Arturo Barea, who ran the press office in Madrid. He was joined by an Austrian woman, Ilsa Kulcsar.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Stan Jones on June 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Amanda Vaill deserves better from Amazon. She has written an engrossing book about an important time and some of the individuals whose lives were changed by it. Two of those individuals were photographers yet Amazon has chosen not to include any of the photos from the print version in the e-book. Whoever made this decision needs to be told to find another job and Amazon needs to fix this and send revised copies to those who mistakenly opted for the e-book version. If the photos had been included this would be a 5 star book.

Update: I have had an exchange of e-mails with the author over the missing photos and she is as apalled as I am that they were not included. She did point out that a poor rating is more likely to affect her than the screw-ups at Amazon so I have changed my rating. I cannot give it five stars, though the writing deserves that. So - a five star book with the photos, not a five-star book without the photos. I doubt anyone at Amazon cares about this, since they don't seem to care anything anymore about books.
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover
The Hotel Florida, like the mythical Hotel California in the song by The Eagles, is one of those places where “you can check in but you can never leave.” Or so it seemed for the foreigners who used it as their home base in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War: Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn, John Dos Passos, Robert Capa. War makes every day vivid, and the Spanish Civil War was especially vivid --- you didn’t have to be a seer to grasp that what was happening in Spain in the mid-1930s was a dress rehearsal for a much larger war between Fascism and Freedom.

“You could learn as much at the Hotel Florida in those years as you could anywhere in the world,” Hemingway said, and in “Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War,” Amanda Vaill learns all it has to teach. [Disclosure: Never reveal a woman’s age, but Amanda Vaill and I go way back. Here’s the thing: I don’t like a writer’s book because we’re friends, I’m friends with writers because I like their books.]

It’s a complicated story, largely because the Left is splintered into factions. The distinctions were important to the participants; they seem academic now. Fortunately, Vaill tells the story through personalities, and they are more than sufficiently riveting to keep you turning pages --- okay, skipping a few --- as if you were reading fiction.

These are the people you’ll meet:

Ernest Hemingway. Oh, you think you know him, but you meet him fresh here: a terrible husband, manipulative lover, jealous friend, headline-seeking egotist. In short: the great writer as world-class jerk.

Martha Gellhorn: Hemingway’s lover. Young and ambitious, a collector of mentors, an inveterate shopper, and, in Spain, a better journalist than Hemingway.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By drfiddler1 on May 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I never quite understood the Spanish Civil War until I read this very intriguing and interesting book. All the characters are real and the account of their heroism and recklessness is documented in their own documents. The Hotel Florida in Madrid is only one setting for the book. I think the author and editor could have come up with a much better title. I don't really like to read accounts of war, but I enjoyed this one. It turned out to be a "page turner" and I highly recommend it to any one interested in European history in the 20th Century.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War
This item: Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War
Price: $22.93
Ships from and sold by

Want to discover more products? Check out these pages to see more: anarchist 4, anarchist companion, guardia civil, the hotel on the roof, rhineland battle