Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War: Truth, Love, and Death in the…

by Amanda Vaill

Farrar, Straus And Giroux | April 22, 2014 | Hardcover

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A spellbinding story of love amid the devastation of the Spanish Civil War

Madrid, 1936. In a city blasted by a civil war that many fear will cross borders and engulf Europe-a conflict one writer will call "the decisive thing of the century"-six people meet and find their lives changed forever. Ernest Hemingway, his career stalled, his marriage sour, hopes that 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, want to capture history in the making and are inventing modern photojournalism in the process. And Arturo Barea, chief of the Spanish government's foreign press office, 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.
Beginning with the cloak-and-dagger plot that precipitated the first gunshots of the war and moving forward month by month to the end of the conflict. Hotel Florida traces the tangled and disparate wartime destinies of these three couples against the backdrop of a critical moment in history: a moment that called forth both the best and the worst of those caught up in it. In this noir landscape of spies, soldiers, revolutionaries, and artists, the shadow line between truth and falsehood sometimes became faint indeed-your friend could be your enemy and honesty could get you (or someone else) killed.
Years later, Hemingway would say, "It is very dangerous to write the truth in war, and the truth is very dangerous to come by." In Hotel Florida, from the raw material of unpublished letters and diaries, official documents, and recovered reels of film, the celebrated biographer Amanda Vaill has created a narrative of love and reinvention that is, finally, a story about truth: finding it, telling it, and living it-whatever the cost.

*INCLUDES 16 PAGES OF BLACK-AND-WHITE PHOTOGRAPHS

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 464 pages, 9.3 × 6.22 × 1.5 in

Published: April 22, 2014

Publisher: Farrar, Straus And Giroux

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0374172994

ISBN - 13: 9780374172992

Found in: History

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

Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War: Truth, Love, and Death in the…

by Amanda Vaill

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 464 pages, 9.3 × 6.22 × 1.5 in

Published: April 22, 2014

Publisher: Farrar, Straus And Giroux

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0374172994

ISBN - 13: 9780374172992

Read from the Book

July 1936: Madrid  Arturo Barea lay on the brown, pine-needled floor of a forest in the Sierra de Guadarrama, northwest of Madrid, with his head in his mistress’s lap. It was midafternoon on Sunday, July 19, and the resinous air was loud with the sound of cicadas. Tall, thin, with slicked-back dark hair, the eyes of an El Greco saint, and the mouth of a sensualist, Barea was drowsy with the heat, the wine he and Maria had had with their picnic lunch, and the lovemaking afterward; he longed to close his eyes and give himself over to sleep. But Maria had other ideas. She wanted to talk. Not, this time, about how much she wanted him to leave his wife and children and make an honest woman of her after six years as his secretary and occasional bedmate, a subject that usually ended in stalemate and tears. Today she wanted to know where Barea had been last night, all night: what he had been doing that had kept him both away from home and away from her bed. But the events and sensations of the last twelve hours were too raw, too immediate to discuss; he sensed that the equipoise of his life was about to spin irrevocably out of control, and he was too exhausted to deal with the consequences.At thirty-eight, Barea had constructed a life that was a delicate balancing act. He’d grown up poor: his father, an army recruiter, dead at forty, had left his family penniless; his mother had had to wash soldiers’ dirty laundry in the Manzanares—breaking the ice with her wooden beater on cold win
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From the Publisher

A spellbinding story of love amid the devastation of the Spanish Civil War

Madrid, 1936. In a city blasted by a civil war that many fear will cross borders and engulf Europe-a conflict one writer will call "the decisive thing of the century"-six people meet and find their lives changed forever. Ernest Hemingway, his career stalled, his marriage sour, hopes that 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, want to capture history in the making and are inventing modern photojournalism in the process. And Arturo Barea, chief of the Spanish government's foreign press office, 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.
Beginning with the cloak-and-dagger plot that precipitated the first gunshots of the war and moving forward month by month to the end of the conflict. Hotel Florida traces the tangled and disparate wartime destinies of these three couples against the backdrop of a critical moment in history: a moment that called forth both the best and the worst of those caught up in it. In this noir landscape of spies, soldiers, revolutionaries, and artists, the shadow line between truth and falsehood sometimes became faint indeed-your friend could be your enemy and honesty could get you (or someone else) killed.
Years later, Hemingway would say, "It is very dangerous to write the truth in war, and the truth is very dangerous to come by." In Hotel Florida, from the raw material of unpublished letters and diaries, official documents, and recovered reels of film, the celebrated biographer Amanda Vaill has created a narrative of love and reinvention that is, finally, a story about truth: finding it, telling it, and living it-whatever the cost.

*INCLUDES 16 PAGES OF BLACK-AND-WHITE PHOTOGRAPHS

About the Author

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.

Editorial Reviews

"Fascinating chracters breeze through Vaill's pages as they once drifted through that lobby, and as they did in her stellar biography of Sara and Gerald Murphy and their sparkling set, Everybody Was So Young, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. In war-torn Spain, she's again in her element, galloping through intrigues that made the world turn . . . Vaill calls Hotel Florida a "reconstruction," based on letters, diaries, biographies and filmed evidence that paint an electric collective portrait. Instead of offering criticial analysis, she relies on exquisitely researched anecdotes to tell the story, and she revels in the poignancy of strobe-lit details . . . Vaill's account of the war and its voluntary witnesses validates our need for narrative in the face of atrocity--something beyond propaganda, and, at times, as essential as food or shelter." -Jessica Kerwin Jenkins, The New York Times Book Review"Vaill isn't after anything as quixotic as trying to 'set the record straight' on the Spanish Civil War; instead, she delves deeply into the lives of three couples whose chronicling of the war shaped public perception . . . What Vaill seems to be mulling over in this book is the age-old question of what war does to people . . . Hotel Florida adds to the cold hard facts--as well as to the enduring mystique--of the Spanish Civil War." -Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh Air"Hotel Florida . . . is well researched, strongly paced and vividly placed, adroitly interlaces i
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Bookclub Guide

Madrid, 1936. In a city blasted by a civil war that many fear will cross borders and engulf Europe-a conflict one writer will call "the decisive thing of the century"-six people meet and find their lives changed forever. Ernest Hemingway, his career stalled, his marriage gone sour, hopes that 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, want to capture history in the making, and invent modern photojournalism in the process. And Arturo Barea, the chief of the Spanish government's foreign press office, and Ilsa Kulcsar, his Austrian deputy, struggle to balance truth-telling with loyalty to their sometimes compromised cause-an effort 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. As Hemingway put it, "You could learn as much at the Hotel Florida in those years as you could anywhere in the world." 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, telling it, and living it-whatever the cost.
We hope that the following discussion topics will enrich your reading group's experience of this spellbinding story of love amid the devastation of the Spanish Civil War.