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The View from the Ground Paperback – 1988

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Six decades of modern history are condensed into this collection of essays by veteran novelist and journalist Gellhorn, who set out for Paris in 1930, aged 21, with a suitcase and $75, determined to become a foreign correspondent "within a few weeks." In the succeeding 58 years, she has been witness, for starters, to a lynching in Mississippi and to the fall of Czechoslovakia in the '30s, the plight of Italian war orphans in the '40s, the growth of Israel and the Palestinian "problem" in the '50s and '60s, post-Franco Spain in the '70s and the new Cuba in the '80s. Gellhorn has reported on the McCarthy hearings, the Eichmann trial, the Vietnam peace talks, and, more recently, the nuclear protests by the women of Greenham Common, England, and torture in El Salvador. She is a past master of personal journalism, a partisan of human rights who has always regarded writing as "payment for the chance to look and learn." This anthology, a companion to Gellhorn's The Face of War (Paperbacks Forecasts Feb. 12), is a testament to the upheavals in ordinary lives during peacetime wrought by this century's unsavory, divisive politics; it is also a tribute to the few who, like Gellhorn herself, have stood for justice. Gellhorn's obscurity is singularly unwarranted; she is a wise woman and writer.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Gellhorn's anthology of articles on political events written over six decades covers a lynching in the Deep South in 1931, the House Committee on Un-American Activities in the 1940s, Israel in the 1950s, the Eichmann trial in 1962, the death of Franco in 1976, and El Salvador in 1984. Perhaps better-known as a fiction writer, she writes with passion, perspective, and a sense of humor. Her insights and perspectives are compassionate and humane and provide compelling reading. This joins her first collection of journalism, The Face of War (S. & S., 1959; Atlantic Monthly Pr., 1988, rev. ed.). For general and informed readers. Melinda Stivers Leach, Precision Editorial Svces., Wondervu, Colo.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; 1st edition (1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871132125
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871132123
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #813,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 10, 1998
Format: Paperback
Martha Gellhorn has two books of journalism out, one called The Face of War,and this book, The View From The Ground. She has covered everything from the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s through to the American invasion of Panama in the eighties. She refused to believe in "that objectivity crap" and wrote what she saw. She was that curious product that only America produces: the unaligned radical liberal. She thought that nations should be judged on the same ethical grounds as people, and this was how she approached her journalism. An example of this view is shown in her piece covering the Israeli trial of Adolf Eichmann: "Adolf Eichmann is the most dire warning to us all. He is a warning to guard our souls; to refuse utterly and forever to allegiance without question, to obey orders silently, to scream slogans. He is a warning that the private conscience is the last and only protection of the civilized world."
Gellhorn cut through the crap and got to the core of the issue. She had a cold eye, a tough spirit, and a compasionate heart. She was unflinching in what she said. She reported back what she saw.She thought that the American invasion of Vietnam was wrong, and said so. She was banned by America from entering Vietnam as a result. Gellhorn was a compelling writer, who wrote in a beautiful clear prose. We dont see her type any more, which is a great shame. She was, above all, a great chronicler of the 20th century.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By H Lambert on April 2, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well worth the purchase price. This is the third Gellhorn book I've read as well as her biography and now that I'm finished I find I miss her as though she were actually someone I know. Very sharp descriptions of war following troop movements if not directly on the front lines. Her articles are full of Martha and her opinions. Good stuff. Also check out Gellhorn, The Face of War and Travels with Myself and Another.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robert A. Williams on March 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
Martha Gellhorn was born in St. Louis on November 8, 1908 and died on February 15, 1998 in London, England. Like Dorothy Thompson, she was a pioneering woman journalist who had to go to Europe in order to break into the male-dominated field of journalism. In 1930, determined to become a foreign correspondent, she went to France for two years where she worked at the United Press bureau in Paris. She became a woman journalist who was considered one of the 20th century's best war correspondents.

In Germany, she reported back to U.S. readers on the rise of Adolf Hitler. In 1938 she witnessed the Nazis in Czechoslovakia. She later covered the Second World War in England, Finland, Burma, Hong Kong, and Singapore. In order to do covert participant observation of the D-Day offensive, she impersonated a stretcher carrier. She said "I followed the war wherever I could reach it." Notably, she was the first journalist to report on the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp.

Gellhorn published a collection of articles on war titled "The Face of War" (1959), revised it in 1988, and published this companion to it as a collection of her peacetime journalism. She said it is "a selection of articles written during five decades; peacetime reporting. That is to say, the countries in the background were at peace at the moment of writing; not that there was peace on earth".

This companion piece covers America in Depression, Spain after Franco's death during the '70s, and women camping in protest at a British nuclear reactor. Emerging from this collection of her writing is Gellhorn's irascible spirit. Her book should be read along with Peter Kurth's "American Cassandra: The Story of Dorothy Thompson" (1990).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JennyB on July 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Martha Gellhorn is by far the most adventurous female war correspondent from 1939-1963. This women went places most soldiers would not dare go and she wrote about her experiences with a colorful and very personal perspective. Her world travels culminated into a series of books meant to entertain and engage the reader of the stories of real people and their relation to world events.
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