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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 In Hotel Florida, from the raw material of unpublished letters and diaries, official documents, and recovered reels of film, the celebrated biographer Amanda Vaill has created a narrative of love and reinvention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



About the Author

Amanda Vaill

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 received a Guggenheim Fellowship. She is also co-author of SEAMAN SCHEPPS: A CENTURY OF NEW YORK JEWELRY DESIGN, an illustrated study of the work of her designer grandfather; and she has edited or contributed to a number of other books in the field of arts and culture. Her screenplay for the feature-length PBS documentary JEROME ROBBINS: SOMETHING TO DANCE ABOUT received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming, and the film won an Emmy, a CINE Golden Eagle, and the George Foster Peabody Award.

Before becoming a full-time writer in 1992, Ms. Vaill was Executive Editor of Viking Penguin, where her authors included Ingmar Bergman, T.C. Boyle, Blanche Wiesen Cook, Iris Murdoch, and William T. Vollman. Her journalism and criticism have appeared in such publications as Architectural Digest, ArtNews, Ballet Review, Esquire, New York Magazine, Town & Country, and The Washington Post. She lives in New York City, and has just finished her next book, a narrative history entitled HOTEL FLORIDA: LOVE AND DEATH IN THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR, whose protagonists include the writers Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn and the photographers Robert Capa and Gerda Taro.



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