Martha Gellhorn (1908-1998) was a war correspondent for nearly 50 years. From the Spanish Civil War in 1937 through the wars in Central America in the mid-'80s, her candid reports reflected her feelings for people no matter what their political ideologies, and the openness and vulnerability of her conscience. "I wrote very fast, as I had to," she says, "afraid that I would forget the exact sound, smell, words, gestures, which were special to this moment and this place."
A lot can happen on the way from one place to another, especially when an overnight flight makes for an unexpected romantic encounter between strangers seated together; a trucker finds life beyond the ranch where he grew up; and a bored Midwestern housewife tries to escape Kansas City.
First published in 1959 but now offered in a revised and expanded edition, The View from the Ground presents over six decades of Gellhorn's ruminations on political, civil, and social issues and crises, from a lynching in the American South in the 1930s through a recent visit to Cuba to see what is new and what remains the same in a country that is still off limits to most Americans. Gellhorn's ability to get to the truth of a situation makes her writing transcend the short shelf life of most reportage.