Yours, for Probably Always:

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Dec 2019

Member Reviews

Martha Gellhorn was much more than Ernest Hemingway’s third wife, she was a gutsy correspondent who covered several wars and let little get in her way.
These letters and the biographical content in the book gives a deeper insight into a well-lived life, how she related to her female friends, her family and the men that she loved. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and discovering more about this brave and determined woman.
This is a book that not only Martha Gellhorn’s fans will enjoy, but also others who haven’t yet discovered her.
Thanks to Firefly Books and NetGalley for an ARC copy in return for an honest review.
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Thank you to Firefly Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Martha Gellhorn is a fascinating figure, and this compilation of her correspondence gives us a bit of insight into her personal life. What she is most famous for, i.e. being Ernest Hemingway's third wife, and being one of the first female war correspondents, doesn't merit much attention here. Instead, there is quite a lot of material on her relationship to her parents, and to Eleanor Roosevelt. However, much of this does not really seem germane to the person of Martha Gellhorn and what shaped her as a writer, but is included simply because it is available. 

I must confess that I did find parts of this book hard going, as I had to wade through a lot of familial and friend's affection and support, to get to the meat of Martha Gellhorn as a writer. The author made up for some of this with biographical information interspersed with the letters throughout the text.
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Martha Gellhorn is most famously known as Hemingway’s third wife. But she was a pioneer war correspondent — the only woman to land at Normandy on D-Day June 6, 1944, and among the first to report from Dachau after its liberation by US troops in April 1945.

Yours, for Probably Always, is a superb collection of her letters, with insightful background by author Janet Somerville. 

Gellhorn corresponded with the best and brightest of the day, including close friend Eleanor Roosevelt, with a huge number of their letters included. 

We learn a great deal about Gellhorn, her work with Harry Hopkins and America’s Federal Emergency Relief Administration in the 1930s, reportage during the Spanish Civil War, World War II and the Vietnam War, as well as her relationships with Hemingway and lover General James M. Gavin, the youngest major general to helm an American division during World War II. 

Highly recommended for the legion of Gellhorn fans, journalism junkies, and war history buffs. 

Pub date: Oct. 1, 2019

Thanks to Janet Somerville, Firefly Books Ltd., and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. 

#YoursForProbablyAlways #NetGalley
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An interesting collection of Martha Gellhorn’s correspondence, interspersed with biographical detail for context. 

For the most part, this is a worthy selection of correspondence that provides greater insight into Gellhorn’s life as seen through her own eyes and those of her correspondents. 

This is a denser read than most compilations of personal letters, and that’s a good thing. This is partially due to the substance, tone, and beautiful writing that mark out Gellhorn’s missives as different from much of the frippery we usually see in collected letters. The fact that she had so many pen pals who were themselves impressive personages and compelling writers didn’t hurt either. 

As is often the case with correspondence collections, the volume of writing included between select parties is largely determined by what was available to the compiler. This sometimes (and is the case here) provides quantities of letters with certain correspondents that don’t seem to have the quality required to justify that. 

In this book, there is a huge number of exchanges between Gellhorn and Eleanor Roosevelt. While Roosevelt is of course a fascinating woman in her own right and certainly there is good information to be gleaned from letters between the two, their exchanges are mostly personal fondness and were clearly included in the book in such large volume because said large volume was readily available, rather than because they really needed to be there. 

Conversely, while many of Martha’s letters to Hemingway appear in the book, there is but one letter from Hemingway to Gellhorn included. This is likely because of three things: Gellhorn returning much of Hemingway’s half of their correspondence to him upon their divorce in 1945, the fact that many of their letters were likely heavily censored because they were written during the war, and that Gellhorn zealously destroyed much of the correspondence between she and Hemingway shortly before her death. 

None of this is the fault of the author of this book, who did well with what she had to work with. Still, it’s a good lesson in why compilations of correspondence often don’t truly give the full picture of the subject’s life. In this case, the author did an admirable job of making up the difference with the biographical information interspersed with the letters throughout the text.
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