— The extraordinary Martha Gellhorn —

Martha Gellhorn is regarded as one of the greatest war correspondents of the 20th century, covering every major world conflict that took place during her 60-year career as a novelist, travel writer, and journalist. Martha Gellhorn was born in November 1908, St. Louis, USA. She enrolled in Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia, but in 1927, she left before graduating to become a journalist. In 1930 she went to France for two years where she worked at the United Press bureau in Paris. During this period she became active in the pacifist movement and wrote about her experiences in the book, What Mad Pursuit (1934). Back in America, Gellhorn was hired as a field investigator for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, created by Roosevelt to alleviate the Great Depression. She worked with Dorothea Lange, a photographer, to document the everyday lives of the hungry and homeless. Their reports later became part of the government files on the Great Depression. Gellhorn’s reports for that agency caught the attention of Eleanor Roosevelt, and the two women became lifelong friends. The Trouble I’ve Seen (1936) was her report in the form of four short stories. Its preface was written by H.G. Wells, with whom… Continue reading

The death of Ernest Hemingway

Photo Ernest & Mary Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway (1899 -1961) was one of the most famous of all American authors. His style was minimalist, understated and direct, and had a huge influence on 20th century literature. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954. His most famous novels are: For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms, and The Old Man and the Sea. When he was 18 he worked briefly as a journalist before enlisting as an ambulance driver in World War 1. In 1918 he was seriously wounded and returned to America in early 1919. He felt isolated, but got some journalistic work with the Toronto Star. He moved to Chicago in 1920 while still writing for the Star. In 1922 he married the first of four wives, Hadley Richardson. They moved to Paris where he worked as a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star. Hemingway became involved with modernist writers and artists of Gertrude Stein’s circle. Stein became Hemingway’s mentor, introducing him to the expatriate artists and writers of the Montparnasse Quarter, where Hemingway met writers such as James Joyce and Ezra Pound. In 1937 Hemingway agreed to report on the Spanish Civil War for the North American Newspaper Alliance. Journalist… Continue reading

The Eve of Destruction

THE EVE OF DESTRUCTION is a novel about America edging toward nuclear war with the Soviet Union. It would be a war that might kill hundreds of millions of people and poison the atmosphere for fifty years. In October 1962, American spy planes photographed missiles loaded with nuclear warheads in Cuba. The Soviet Union was installing the missiles, and they could reach targets in the USA within minutes. President Kennedy was trying to find a way out of the Cuban Missile Crisis without recourse to war. The US armed forces were confident about attacking the Soviet Union in one all-out nuclear war, certain they would win. President John Kennedy was doubtful about their advice and motives, cautious after they told him similar gung-ho things about the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. The Eve of Destruction is the story of the Cuban Missile Crisis.  EXTRACT  Luke could hear the roar of the huge printing presses in the background. He was sitting opposite Walt who smiled delightedly, unable to understand what this was about. Luke listened to the sound and smell of the printing, he imagined the newspapers whizzing down to the collection point to be bundled; he could smell the… Continue reading

– A story of murder, with a part played by Edgar Allan Poe –

The Poet, Michael Connelly. Crime Fiction This is the story of a crime reporter Jack McEvoy, who is told his twin brother, an LA cop, has committed suicide: a bullet to the head while sitting in a parked car, the doors locked. On the inside of the foggy windscreen, written with a finger, is a quote from Edgar Allan Poe. His fellow police officers are convinced that it is suicide. His twin brother, Jack, doesn’t believe it. He begins his own investigation, and soon finds that there has been an extraordinary number of police suicides. As Jack follows up leads, acting the detective, he finds evidence that indicates a cop killer is behind the deaths. Usually there is a suicide note found with the body, the note is a quote from Edgar Allan Poe. The local police try to discourage Jack, they tell him to accept the facts, move on, since they are certain it was suicide and the case is closed. But as Jack McEvoy gathers evidence from different states, the FBI become involved when they discover there is a pattern to the suicide/ murders. Jack and the FBI are now on the trail of “The Poet” who is… Continue reading