“Be advised, love passes. Work alone remains.”
July 14, 2018 1:04 PM   Subscribe

Paula McClain visits Finca Vigía in search of legendary war correspondent Martha Gellhorn and reflects on a woman who refused to be erased.
I feel a powerful urge to shout her name to the tourists who peer in at the window, the ones ogling me ogling them. She was here, I want to shout. And she was extraordinary. (slTown&Country)

Just 28 when she took on her first war and in her early 80s when she took on her last (the U.S. invasion of Panama), Gellhorn covered virtually every major conflict of the 20th century. After the Spanish Civil War she reported on the Japanese invasion of China, the Czech Crisis, the Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland, and all significant theaters of World War II (including the liberation of Dachau).

Later she covered the Six-Day War in the Middle East and the conflicts in Vietnam and Nicaragua. And always she told the stories of others, those “sufferers of history” whose lives, she deeply believed, were our direct responsibility. Eschewing both sentimentality and “all that objectivity shit,” she wrote vividly, with fire and indignation, trying to shake the larger world awake to the truth of mutuality: that what affects one affects us all. For beneath the battle statistics lay people. There was no “other” in Martha Gellhorn’s world, and there was no “later.” Only us. Only now.

Martha Gellhorn, previously:
"Citizenship is a tough occupation which obliges the citizen to make his own informed opinion and stand by it." (by the man of twists and turns )

"I have decided you are in a goofy state of mind." (by AlonzoMosleyFBI)
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? (5 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
This is an incredible read about an incredible person. Thank you so much for posting this, I never would have come across it and I'm so glad I did.
posted by biscotti at 2:27 PM on July 14, 2018 [3 favorites]

One of my favorite books, Travels with Myself and Another. The "best of the worst journeys".
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:51 PM on July 14, 2018 [3 favorites]

This is really good. I ‘fess up, never did much like Hemingway. He was a great writer, but not a very nice human being. Then again writers often are not awfully nice people.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 7:29 PM on July 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Astoundingly great. We forget too many of our heroes. I’ll be glad to remember her.
posted by SandCounty at 10:36 PM on July 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just have to add how astonishing and infuriating it was to think that my all girls' high school somehow contrived to make us read Hemingway (I never liked him either!) without ever mentioning Martha Gellhorn. I mean come ON. What a goddamn missed opportunity.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 7:54 PM on July 24, 2018

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