The best Martha Gellhorn books

2 authors have picked their favorite books about Martha Gellhorn and why they recommend each book.

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Travels with Myself and Another

By Martha Gellhorn,

Book cover of Travels with Myself and Another

This book is, in my opinion, the best travelouge ever. She has been my hero since I read her For Richer or Poorer and saw what she said about my fellow countrymen: ''They were stronger in their defencelessness than the various khaki-clad people who overrun them'. She got straight to the core of the matter. And how true about being overrun: happening, again, right now, early 2021.

Her Travels with Myself and Another is my favorite among her works. It is full of powerful insight and absolutely great writing whatever she was describing, be it meeting Chiang Kai-shek (she was not impressed) or Zhou Enlai (she was) or people in the street


Who am I?

I am a painter and a writer from Myanmar. The former profession is what I chose when I was 15 and began at 21, featured in a group exhibition of modern art and the only woman among several men. Since then I have exhibited in several group shows and have had seven solos. In the early 2000s by chance - and financial need - I became the Contributing Editor for the Myanmar Times weekly and a travel magazine until they closed down. Since then I have written around 20 books on food, culture, and travels and it kept me so busy that my art was put on hoId, but I hope to resume one day soon.


I wrote...

Nor Iron Bars a Cage

By Ma Thanegi,

Book cover of Nor Iron Bars a Cage

What is my book about?

I was a happily divorced painter until the 1988 uprising happened and along with some colleagues we got involved and were sent to Insein Prison. There I met other political prisoners and without any discussion, we had fun by not obliging those who wanted us to be miserable. During interrogations, we ran rings around the Intelligence guys with expressions of innocence we could slap our faces in an instant. Our group became like family, and we still are.

I so enjoyed the rare chance to make friends from the criminal element, learn of their lives and careers, and of hilariously failed endeavors. One gang leader I talked to at the gate vowed to break open anyone's head of my choice when we're out, for a favor I had done for him This book is perhaps a journey of sorts, although I would sincerely not recommend it to anyone.

Traveling Below the Speed Limit

By Janet Brown,

Book cover of Traveling Below the Speed Limit

Always eloquent, insightful and at times, funny...such as how a mispronounced word in the tonal languages of the region might end in shared hilarity or bloodshed, Janet Brown describes her travels in Thailand and other SE Asian countries with warmth and joy. Her slow pace exudes sympathy, understanding, and enjoyment of the people and their lifestyles.

She said she learned from great travel writers that 'curiosity and observation can make a walk around the block become a journey', and I felt I was right by her side, enjoying the mood, the people, and especially, the food.


Who am I?

I am a painter and a writer from Myanmar. The former profession is what I chose when I was 15 and began at 21, featured in a group exhibition of modern art and the only woman among several men. Since then I have exhibited in several group shows and have had seven solos. In the early 2000s by chance - and financial need - I became the Contributing Editor for the Myanmar Times weekly and a travel magazine until they closed down. Since then I have written around 20 books on food, culture, and travels and it kept me so busy that my art was put on hoId, but I hope to resume one day soon.


I wrote...

Nor Iron Bars a Cage

By Ma Thanegi,

Book cover of Nor Iron Bars a Cage

What is my book about?

I was a happily divorced painter until the 1988 uprising happened and along with some colleagues we got involved and were sent to Insein Prison. There I met other political prisoners and without any discussion, we had fun by not obliging those who wanted us to be miserable. During interrogations, we ran rings around the Intelligence guys with expressions of innocence we could slap our faces in an instant. Our group became like family, and we still are.

I so enjoyed the rare chance to make friends from the criminal element, learn of their lives and careers, and of hilariously failed endeavors. One gang leader I talked to at the gate vowed to break open anyone's head of my choice when we're out, for a favor I had done for him This book is perhaps a journey of sorts, although I would sincerely not recommend it to anyone.

Hotel Florida

By Amanda Vaill,

Book cover of Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War

If there was a soap opera in the midst of the Spanish Civil War, it would have been filmed at Madrid’s Hotel Florida where famous foreign supporters of the Republican cause stayed. For a brief time, as it became clear Franco would prevail, armed amateur mercenaries, writers, filmmakers, and journalists, drank and did all they could for the lost cause. The tale of three love affairs, including that of Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn, animate this book whose entertaining style masks some insightful passages. Certainly, a book that’s hard to put down.


Who am I?

James McGrath Morris is the author of The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, Dos Passos, and a Friendship Made and Lost in War, which the Economist said was “as readable as a novel.” His previous work, Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, The First Lady of the Black Press was a New York Times bestseller. His next book is Tony Hillerman: A Life.


I wrote...

The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, DOS Passos, and a Friendship Made and Lost in War

By James McGrath Morris,

Book cover of The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, DOS Passos, and a Friendship Made and Lost in War

What is my book about?

Rich in evocative detail--from Paris cafés to Austrian chateaus, from the streets of Pamplona to the waters of Key West--The Ambulance Drivers tells the story of two aspiring writers, Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos, who met in World War I and forged a twenty-year friendship that produced some of America's greatest novels, giving voice to a generation shaken by war.

In war, Hemingway found adventure, women, and a cause. Dos Passos saw only oppression and futility. Their different visions eventually turned their private friendship into a nasty public fight, fueled by money, jealousy, and lust. This is not only a biography of the turbulent friendship between two of the century's greatest writers but also an illustration of how war inspires and destroys, unites, and divides.

A Stricken Field

By Martha Gellhorn,

Book cover of A Stricken Field

Most of us know Martha Gellhorn as a war correspondent and Mrs. Ernest Hemingway, but she was a brilliant novelist as well. A Stricken Field is the story of an American woman in Prague in 1938 as the Nazis move in and hunt down opponents of the regime. If you are looking for models of resistance to brutality (I am), this is your book.


Who am I?

Doing the research for The Italian Party meant submerging myself in the Cold War Italy of the 1950s. But I found I couldn't understand that period without a better understanding of World War II and Italian Fascism. Cue an avalanche of books from which this list is culled, and the new novel I have just finished. I am drawn to first-hand accounts of women’s lives in wartime because I wonder how I would react and survive such challenges. Recent events in Europe have revived the nightmare of life under an occupying army. These stories are back at my bedside right now because I need their humor and wisdom.


I wrote...

The Italian Party

By Christina Lynch,

Book cover of The Italian Party

What is my book about?

Half glamorous fun, half an examination of America’s role in the world, The Italian Party is set in Italy in 1956, a pivotal moment in the Cold War. Newly married, Scottie and Michael are seduced by Tuscany’s famous beauty. But when Scottie’s Italian teacher disappears, the secrets they are keeping from each other force them beneath the splendid surface to a more complex view of Italy, America, and each other.

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