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"Whether or not you're a history buff, you'll be fully immersed in Vaill's chronicle of the band of journalists—including Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn—who covered the upheaval of the Spanish Civil War."—Entertainment Weekly
Madrid, 1936. In a city blasted by civil war, six people meet and find their lives changed forever. Ernest Hemingway, his career stalled, his marriage sour, hopes this war will give him fresh material and new romance; Martha Gellhorn, an ambitious novice journalist hungry for love and experience, thinks she will find both with Hemingway in Spain. Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, idealistic young photographers based in Paris, are inventing modern photojournalism as they capture history in the making. And Arturo Barea, Madrid's foreign press chief, and Ilsa Kulcsar, his Austrian deputy, are struggling to balance truth-telling with loyalty to their sometimes compromised cause—a struggle that places both of them in peril. Hotel Florida traces the tangled wartime destinies of these three couples against the backdrop of a critical moment in history.
From the raw material of unpublished letters and diaries, official documents, and recovered reels of film, Amanda Vaill has created a narrative of love and reinvention that is, finally, a story about truth: finding it out, telling it, and living it—whatever the cost.
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 was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. In addition to her screenplay for the Emmy– and Peabody Award–winning public television documentary Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About, she has also written features and criticism for a range of journals from Allure to The Washington Post Book World. She lives in New York City.
Principal Characters xvii
A Note on Spelling xxi
Author's Note xxiii
Part I: "They are here for their lives" 9
Part II: "You never hear the one that hits you" 105
Part III: "La Despedida" 283
Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations 407