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Travels With Myself and Another

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Now including a foreward by Bill Buford and photographs of Gellhorn with Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, Gary Cooper, and others, this new edition rediscovers the voice of an extraordinary woman and brings back into print an irresistibly entertaining classic.

"Martha Gellhorn was so fearless in a male way, and yet utterly capable of making men melt," writes New Yorker literary editor Bill Buford. As a journalist, Gellhorn covered every military conflict from the Spanish Civil War to Vietnam and Nicaragua. She also bewitched Eleanor Roosevelt's secret love and enraptured Ernest Hemingway with her courage as they dodged shell fire together. Hemingway is, of course, the unnamed "other" in the title of this tart memoir, first published in 1979, in which Gellhorn describes her globe-spanning adventures, both accompanied and alone. With razor-sharp humor and exceptional insight into place and character, she tells of a tense week spent among dissidents in Moscow; long days whiled away in a disused water tank with hippies clustered at Eilat on the Red Sea; and her journeys by sampan and horse to the interior of China during the Sino-Japanese War.

320 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1979

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About the author

Martha Gellhorn

52 books258 followers
Martha Ellis Gellhorn (1908-1998) was an American novelist, travel writer and journalist. She is considered to be one of the greatest war correspondents of the 20th century. The Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism is named after her.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 290 reviews
606 reviews16 followers
April 9, 2011
I had some difficulty with this book in which Martha Gelhorn describes some horror journeys she took between the 1940s and the 1970s. On the one hand, 'feisty female setting off on adventures around the globe, unintimidated by lovers or strangers' is bound to appeal to me. Gelhorn's frank, no-nonsense tone is amusing, too, and I like the sense that there's no sentimentality about her. I do not travel for pleasure, myself. I have lived and worked in different countries, but that is a matter of pulling up my life by its roots and transplanting it to a different climate, in hopes that it will 'take'. It is a different experience for those like Gelhorn, who go out into the world, to see what is there. I admire their boldness and sense of adventure.

But about halfway through I found myself struggling with what read like racism. In the first three sections of the book, she observes the Chinese, northern-Caribbean folk and Africans, and her contempt and disparagement and sense of innate superiority are deeply distasteful. In an early comment, I wrote, "Some of the attitudes to people of other races are hard to take. I'm trying to consider this is 1940s, and from a particular perspective, but it still grates." Some of her attitude can be explained by the fact that the people she observes (not interacts with, there's very little mutual intercourse) are usually speaking a different language, poor and dirty by Western standards. But her comments repeatedly seem to underline their darkness, their non-white-ness, their otherness.

This became so disturbing that I put down the book for a while and let my subconscious work on it. And it occurred to me that it was 'otherness' that was bothering her. Wherever she went, she felt a great gulf between herself and the inhabitants of the country she was visiting. Language, class, religion and culture created such barriers that she looked uncomprehending at the people around her. She found little or no common ground. As the visits progressed, this incomprehension would harden into animosity, until everything she saw was ugly. I think she became pretty ugly, herself.

A later comment of mine: "And the racism- it's not really that. Rather she sees people as 'types', always as representative of groups; always 'other'. Usually there's antipathy/incomprehension." She used that word 'types', several times in categorising the white colonials she encountered on her trips, and who were also incomprehensible, sometimes beneath contempt.

By the time I returned to the book, and the final essay, about her 197-something trip to Moscow, Gelhorn had lost her appeal for me. But I found that she'd also lost that personal animosity. Oh, it was another horror journey, and she hardly felt warm and cuddly towards the Soviet people, but her animosity was mainly for their repressive government, and it felt less jarring. (Or is that my racism?)

I don't get the sense that Gelhorn learned much on these trips; not about herself, and not about the individuals she met, nor the societies she observed. And I feel somewhat cheated by her book, because I haven't learned much either.

Difficult to rate this- maybe 2 and a half stars?
Profile Image for Donna.
543 reviews182 followers
October 7, 2017
Martha Gellhorn (1908-1998) was an American writer and journalist who is now considered one of the greatest war correspondents of the twentieth century. At the time she wrote this book in 1978, she had traveled to 53 countries and every state in the US except Alaska, and she had lived in 7 of those countries with 11 permanent residences in them. She certainly loved traveling, and it all began with her enjoyment of riding on streetcars as a child. But this book isn't about her love of traveling and her greatest adventures producing fond memories. It's about the most horrible trips she ever took in which she invited the reader to travel along with her and suffer just as much as she did, and in more ways than one.

In a way, this book reminded me of books like Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail and A Walk in the Woods where the promise of an adventure goes terribly wrong, complete with comic relief to balance out the catastrophe. Unfortunately, in this book, Ms. Gellhorn's incredible sense of humor and witty banter couldn't balance out the fact that she was an unrepentant bigot. To be fair, she was an equal opportunity hater and disliked most people, in general, or was gravely disappointed in them, especially if they were boring, the worst sin ever to her. But in this book, she spent an inordinate amount of time targeting people who weren't white. Her racism was of epic proportion and smacked of Nazism, even though, ironically, she was part Jewish, and this poisonous material was strewn across nearly every page of this book. It was inexcusable, no matter what era she was born into, and it hung on her like a bad smell I couldn't get past to appreciate what might have been some good writing in this book, in a technical sense. The content itself was full of xenophobic and homophobic views which grated on my nerves like fingernails scratching their way down a chalkboard spine. And the worst of it was, from her informal and intimate manner when addressing her readers, it seemed she believed they would agree with all she said, as if her warped opinions were truths that no one could deny.

So why did I keep reading this book if I couldn't stand all the garbage spouting out of the author's mouth? I read this for my book club, though why it was suggested I don't know since we haven't had our discussion on it yet. I only managed to read 20 pages a day before having to take a long break and grab some fresh air. Believe me, I'm not exaggerating one bit here. What a waste, what a shame. For shame. The author wrote about her time spent in China, Africa, Russia, and Israel, but I learned very little about those places and more about the dark places inside the author.
Profile Image for Kate .
236 reviews92 followers
June 8, 2010
I was brought to Gellhorn's writing after finishing The Postmistress, where Gellhorn gets a cameo and a few shout-outs for her war-reporting. They didn't have The Face of War at the local library, so I picked up this instead. This is probably the best travel memoir that I have ever read. Gellhorn is one pugnacious, brutally intelligent female with ovaries of steel. In Travels with Myself and Another: A Memoir, Gellhorn recounts her 'horror journeys': to the front of the Sino-Japanese war on the back of a miniature pony, straight through the heart of a cholera epidemic, riding shotgun in a tiny merchant vessel through U-boat infested waters of the Caribbean and then up the Saranoco (probably spelled that one wrong) River into the uncharted backlands of Suriname. She hires a driver and field guide in Kenya who can neither drive nor has ever left Nairobi to take her through the game parks of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika and sneaks stockings and detective thrillers to Mrs. Osip Mandelstam in Moscow. Rather than the stoic war reporter you might expect her to be, Gellhorn is filled with piss and vinegar at the injustice with which so many people in the world are treated AND the old cigarette butts that were left in her hotel room. She writes honestly, self-effacingly, and candidly. Not a sentence is out of place or boring. I am filled with an itch to travel after reading this wonderful book, and a quite separate itch to get my hands on the rest of Gellhorn's writing. Highly recommended for everyone.
Profile Image for Shane.
Author 11 books263 followers
January 20, 2021
Travelogue with a Difference - Journeys that Suck!

Martha Gellhorn, third wife of Ernest Hemingway, was reputed to be the most courageous and celebrated female journalist of the 20th century, covering all the major conflicts and trouble spots in the world during her long career. And in typical Hemingway-esque style, when her journalistic powers waned due to age and illness, she popped herself off with a cyanide capsule. This book covers six trips that didn’t go as smoothly, but then one wonders, whether they were of her making...

Her first “disaster” trip is to China in 1941 with a companion called UC (Unwilling Companion) whom we soon discover is none other than Hemingway, aboard planes that deliver freshly minted money in the millions to General Chiang Kai Shek’s Republic of China in its battle against the invading Japanese. She admits to being contemptible when it comes to condemning the impoverished Chinese way of life. She is particularly allergic to hawking, scraping throats, and spitting, and to “night soil” which is human excrement, the national manure. Unusual situations abound: UC drinks his Chinese colleagues under the table (at breakfast!) and gets on the boat by lunchtime; there are dead snakes in the wine jug, only discovered when pouring out the dregs, and the Japanese use the walled city of Kunming for bombing practice, hitting it daily.

Her next journey is to the Caribbean to spot German U boats. She charters a local sailing boat in the middle of hurricane season for the purpose, visiting St. Bart’s, St. Maarten, Sabah, the Virgin Islands and Antigua. “On St. Bart's I met the schoolteacher, a middle-aged Frenchman married to an island black. He wasn’t bubbling over either, and talked about the mistake of marrying a black woman; you sank into their slovenly customs, and fathered litters of noisy stupid half-breed kids.” Her biting criticism of people not of her kind will qualify her as a racist today. Later, in Africa, on another trip, she feels ashamed when she starts to smell like the blacks after a leper celebration. She is convinced that although we are all of one genus, we are not of one species. The difference between black and white, foreigner and local, colonial and colonized, journalist/explorer and guide, help to maintain distance as she travels alone with teams of local men, on storm-wracked seas, through jungles and muddy rivers, and stays in flea-ridden hostels in derelict cities. There is also hubris: she has the balls to tell the townfolk in one place to release the woman whose screams she overhears. Her conclusion on the Caribbean is that the Dutch ran the best colonial shop down there.

Her next trip is across equatorial Africa in 1962, from Cameroun to Kenya, via Chad, Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania, travelling part of the way with a thoroughly inept guide/driver named Joshua who can neither guide nor drive, leaving Gellhorn to do all the heavy lifting. She observes the unmanageable diversity: Cameroun alone has 200 tribes and 122 dialects, Uganda has 40 tribes. In Kenya, she observes, “The social structure was clear at once: Europeans, Asians, Africans (‘black’ being abusive here); First, Second and Third Class citizens. Perhaps, I felt the supremacy of white skin in this British colony with more force because I had just arrived from independent African states where white skin was carefully unassertive.” On democracy in Africa, her prophecy is, “I think all these countries will have one election, supervised by the retiring colonial power, and that the President then elected will stay in for life, unless (until?) there’s a palace putsch or assassination; and I do not see how it could be otherwise.” How prescient!

She travels to Moscow in her 60’s to meet an unknown, ailing female writer whose husband was executed as a traitor for writing four lines of anti-Stalin poetry. Gellhorn frequents the salon run by the Russian writer, meets intellectuals, dissidents and other artists, and treats them to imported goods from the west. Her view on Russia is dim: “Main sensation is pure Big Brother fear. The fear (based on facts and fed by everyone’s imagination) serves the regime – keeps the people silent and in line. If the rulers ever released the people from fear, it could be a great nation. But then, released from fear, the people might string up the rulers on the nearest lampposts.”

Her final journey is to Israel, where she stays in a settlement with young foreigners who are taking a vacation from the rat race. “Books were either non-existent or a hidden vice. No one expressed any interest in man-made beauty; art and architecture were for old squares. They littered the landscape (superb landscape) while condemning Israelis for doing the same.”

Although supposed to be writing for Colliers during her travels, I wondered, given the connections she had with the authorities, and its underlying tacit understanding, whether she was safe wherever she went.
Profile Image for Caroline.
506 reviews585 followers
May 20, 2015
Witty, ascerbic and with a great ability to laugh at herself too - but also prejudiced, dismissive and seemingly impervious to the burdens that other people are carrying. This is a book about Gellhorn's worst travel experiences. Usually in places of dire poverty. Situations that ought to be approached sympathetically, via an historical or sociological perspective, just looked at with blunt cynicism and humour. She also has prejudices that simply aren't true. Half way through, and I've had enough.
Profile Image for Lori.
72 reviews
July 14, 2007
Whenver I start to complain about the long flight to California with the kids, I remember this book and shut my mouth. And ask the flight attendant for more wine. Some women are just more adventurous than others (me). And some women survive being married to Papa Hemingway!
Profile Image for Michaela.
1,396 reviews65 followers
May 1, 2022
Ten pocit, keď cestou z práce dostaneš od vydavateľa knižný dar pre našu knižnicu, je božský, ďakujeme veľmi krásne! (A áno, som knihovníčka, čo si občas nosí prácu aj domov.) Už zajtra idú obe knihy na spracovanie a onedlho si ich budete môcť požičať.
Neodolala som a do knihy som nakukla už v autobuse. Výborne sa hodí do tohtoročnej výzvy na databazeknih.cz, lebo ju napísala novinárka. Počas svojho života navštívila 53 krajín sveta (aj štáty USA), niektoré aj opakovane. Autorka buď cestovala sama, alebo ju sprevádzal neochotný spoločník (v skratke N.S.), t.j. jej manžel Ernest Hemingway. Ako novinarka písala reportáže o Číne, Karibiku, Afrike a mnohých iných krajinách počas vojnových rokov 20. storočia. Pobavila som sa, ako sa snaží spomenúť si na podrobnosti z ciest, a aj keď sa vyznáva, že ich ťažko zostavuje z čriepkov spomienok, z denníkov, z listov a poznámok, či pár fotografií, výsledný efekt je skvelý. Mám pocit, že som tam spolu s ňou a ako amatérska cestovateľka túžim po ďalekých krajinách a nových zážitkoch (a áno, aj po čistých a prázdnych plážach).
Profile Image for Adrika_G.
214 reviews48 followers
April 29, 2022
Hoci sa táto kniha označuje za autobiografiu či reportáž, mne sa javila ako skvelý cestopis. Vydávame sa do Číny, Karibiku, Afriky a Ruska v časoch pre nás už dávno minulých a je to mimoriadne zaujímavý pohľad.

Martha Gellhorn je rozhodne šialená ženská. Nechápem ako to všetko dala a zároveň jej smekám. Jej novinárska kariéra sa odrazila aj tu - kniha je veľmi čtivá, miestami vtipná. Oplatí sa prečítať, ja som sa teda rozhodne nenudila :)
Profile Image for Rick.
778 reviews2 followers
November 30, 2009
Gellhorn lived 90 years, all but the first eight and last two of the 20th Century. It was a fine and eventful life, spent as a writer of fiction, journalism, and a world traveler. Her anthologized war correspondence, The Face of War, is a masterpiece of reportage. As a travel writer, Gellhorn is entertaining, curmudgeonly, and persistent in visiting places likely to offer pleasure and hardships in at least equal measure. The book carries three mottoes, one of which is “Leap before you look,” which tells you all you need to know about Gellhorn’s approach to travel preparations. Her theory on sharing travel stories is that “The only aspect of our travels that is guaranteed to hold an audience is disaster.” Not the profoundly moving or the historically informative. We will yawn through those in short order. Ah but get lost in an open Land Rover in the Serengeti with a driver who won’t drive, won’t step out of the vehicle for fear of attack by snakes, lions, or elephants., and we’re all ears for the duration.

So this collection is comprised of five accounts of particularly bad journeys—one to China in the spring of 1941, one to Caribbean islands in 1942, a much longer trip across Africa in 1962, a brief trip to Moscow in 1972, and a 1971 visit to Israel where hippies convene and smoke hash to no point. The fifth is more a coda to illustrate that what really separates good travel from bad travel is boredom and that is why you risk disastrous travel—it will either be sublime or at worst painfully interesting, but not boring. Twice Gellhorn has unwilling companions, in China where she compels her then husband to accompany her on a work trip as she covers the Sino-Japanese war for Colliers. In fact, she labels her husband UC for Unwilling Companion in the account, though gives him kudos for being an agreeable and game traveler who does both his spousal support duty and, occasionally his patriotic duty, with discipline and wit. The husband is of course Ernest Hemingway, who is required because of his international renown to make endless speeches, which he didn’t like, and drink endless toasts, which he didn’t mind. The travel is treacherous and very long, the accommodations horrendous, and the journalistic yield next to nothing—though they do get an interview with a Communist leader whom they didn’t at the time know anything about, not being China hands, one Chou En-lai. The other unwilling companion was her African driver, a young hustler looking for work, who accompanies Gellhorn on a trip along the equator from West Africa to East Africa and back without providing any of the services for which he signed up. There are a few moments of pure traveler’s joy in the African account and a couple of great drama (she is led into two nearly fatal encounters with wild animals) but most of the journey is a spine cracking, axle breaking tedious drive where failing to get lost (and likely die) is a reward repeatedly mitigated by lodgings free of comfort, cleanliness, privacy, food, and drink.

The second journey where she hires a questionable boat and crew to sail the Caribbean hunting grounds of Nazi U-boats is like the China trip a not-too successful effort on war reporting, though she did interview rescued sailors. But she saw no U-boats, found no re-fueling or supply bases, and rescued no merchant seamen clinging to lifeboats. She did visit a number of obscure and hard to get to islands, some now famous tourist destinations, in the middle of the hurricane season.

The brief trip to Moscow to visit the widow of a famous poet, killed by Stalin, who had authored a long account of life under Communism that Gellhorn admired, illustrates Gellhorn’s hatred of all things repressive and corrects the Wikipedia biography of Gellhorn that indicates she was ambivalent about communism, neither praising it nor criticizing it.

Travels with Myself and Another was published in the late 70s. Most of it was written then as well, with the exception of a large stretch of the African journey, which was taken from her travel journal of the time. It is an engaging read, not brilliant like her war correspondence, but descriptive and thoughtful, bringing the reader to places and times that have undergone dramatic change since her journeys, adding interest to already interesting accounts.
Profile Image for Zuzana Be.
353 reviews20 followers
June 6, 2023
Keby sa chcete nahypovať na cestovanie alebo odradiť od neho (záleží na vašich preferenciách), ideálna kniha toto. Martha bola vraj jedna z najvýznamnejších vojnových reportérok (reportáže ma od nej ešte len čakajú), ale niekedy mala chuť proste len tak cestovať. Alebo opísať cestovanie po krajine, ktoré sa do reportáží nezmestilo. A to bola Martha jedna z najakčnejších žien ever a vrhala sa po hlave do každej príležitosti hocijakého komfortu.
Názov knihy celkom sedí (i keď posledná bola časť bola slabšia), každé jej cestovanie po rôznych krajinách bolo svoje vlastné peklo na zemi. V podstate sa len neustále sťažovala na všetko okolo, ale ani nie som prekvapená, ja by som sa tiež v takých situáciách. :D Zaujímavé bolo pre mňa najmä cestovanie od 40. do 70. rokov, vtedajšia Čína alebo Moskva, s porovnaním so súčasnosťou.
Profile Image for Pamela.
892 reviews19 followers
October 6, 2016
This is truly a travel narrative. Gellhorn calls them horror journeys, selecting the worst of her traveling experiences for this book. Martha Gellhorn was an accomplished war reporter and was familiar with uncomfortable travel accommodations, but that was during war time. I got the sense she didn't like camping (refuses to while in Africa doing her own safari) and going to remote places could resemble camping.

The book starts out, after some introductions, with her desired trip to China. There aren't dates mentioned but she convinces her husband Ernest Hemingway to accompany her, which means sometime in early 1940s. (They were only married about four years.) The China trip is appalling in her descriptions, their main goal is really just to survive.

The bulk of the book covers her trip to Africa some years later. Traveling alone as a woman and for the sake of seeing what's there was quite unusual. Gellhorn has almost nothing good to say about West Africa, but things improve when she goes to the eastern African countries. Sometimes I had to cringe with her commentary about the blacks, she's not enlightened a bit. She keeps saying how the Whites need to leave the Blacks on their own, but in the end she sets up house there too in East Africa near the coast.

It's very well written and yes, horrifying in some of the descriptions. The level of writing is above most other travelogues I've read. Makes it feel like modern writing has deteriorated.

Book Rating: 4.5 stars
Profile Image for D.
523 reviews64 followers
August 17, 2019
An unusually outspoken WW2 travel memoir. The author does not mince words to say that she dislikes some area and its people, and why. In fact, of all the areas she travels through in this book, only the landscape (not the people) of East Africa and some islands (the Dutch ones, if I remember correctly) in the Caribbean. The others, China, West-Africa, Moscow, Eilat are found to be terrible places to visit, especially if you are interested in a minimum level of comfort and some cooperation of friendly, and reasonably intelligent locals. Some of her arguments, e.g. against independence of African nations, could raise the eyebrows of some readers. Still, a very amusing -- and interesting -- read.
Profile Image for ♡ Mária.
52 reviews6 followers
November 25, 2022
"Hlavným pocitom je číry strach na spôsob Veľkého brata. Strach (založený na faktoch a kŕmený všeobecnou obrazotvornosťou) je pomocník režimu, umlčiava ľudí a drží ich v pozore. Ak by vládcovia niekedy oslobodili ľudí od strachu, mohol by to byť veľký národ. Lenže ľudia oslobodení od strachu by potom mohli obesiť vládcov na najbližších kandelábroch."
Profile Image for Denisa Ballová.
362 reviews229 followers
September 29, 2022
Rozhodla prvá veta. Stačilo spomenúť Grécko a Martha išla so mnou do Atén. Rozčítala som ju síce na Slovensku, dočítala v Prahe, ale v Grécku som sa o ňu musela deliť s mužom. Bral mi ju vždy, keď mohol. Martha nám totiž pripomenula našu cestu do Ruska. Veľmi trefne opísala mizériu aj náladu ľudí, ktorých sme tam pred rokmi stretli, situácie, ktoré sme zažili.

“Mohla som povedať, že všade na západnej pologuli sú na tom lepšie ako v Rusku. A nielen teraz. Mohla som povedať, že Rusi majú akoby zvláštny historický talent na utláčateľov a utláčaných. Že sa mi zdá, že odjakživa žili v permanentnej karanténe, izolovaní od zmien, ktoré sa diali vo vonkajšom svete, a tá karanténa otrávila celý národ tak, ako doživotie musí zdeformovať väzňa.”

Nič sa v Rusku nezmenilo, hovorili sme si opakovane. Pospomínali sme si s Marthou aj pri jej ceste do Číny, hoci sme ju navštívili o 76 rokov neskôr ako ona.

Martha Gellhorn totiž dokázala vystihnúť to dôležité, čo vám utkvie v pamäti. Opísať atmosféru ďalekých krajín, kde ste nikdy neboli a kde sa možno ani nikdy nedostanete, no napriek tomu si dokážete predstaviť to, čo videla.

Páčilo sa mi ako pristupovala k cestovaniu, v duchu som jej tlieskala pre kritiku mladej generácie v kapitole Čo koho nudí? Martha bola správne ironická, nad vecou, nebojácna. A vedela svojim textom strhnúť natoľko, že sme si jej knihu podávali v letiskovej hale, v lietadle aj medzitým. A to sa teda vôbec často nedeje.

“Bola som v stave blaženosti, ktorý by sa právom mohol nazvať šťastím, keď telo a myseľ splynú v dokonalej zhode. To sa, ako nebeské prekvapenie, deje na cestách; a preto nikdy neprestanem cestovať.”
Profile Image for Joan Colby.
Author 48 books64 followers
March 15, 2017
What a marvel this book is. Gellhorn is funny, acerbic and a brilliant writer who can describe a scene unforgettably. Hemingway is mentioned only in the China expedition of 1941—but their relationship, at that point, is rather a caustic delight, both parties equally adept at adventure and repartee. Gellhorn who titles each journey as one of horror visits Africa from coast to coast, fascinated by the animals especially her favorites, the giraffes, and perpetually in danger from following her impulses, driving an aging Land Rover with her supposed guide Joshua, who turns out to be a coddled passenger fearful of the wild. Her visit to Mrs. M. in Russia(clearly Mandelstam’s widow) tells us home truths about that brutalized nation. Published in 1978, many of Gellhorn’s voyages took place from the 40’s to the 70’s. She is unsparing, politically incorrect—her comments about the natives will offend the sensitive, but must be understood in the context of the era. Altogether, a most edifying read from an unusual woman that one wishes one had met.
Profile Image for Anita.
123 reviews
September 2, 2022
Very much writing of its time, which is not code for anything, nor is it faint praise. Within the confines of her personal experiences and the confines of the time in which she lived, Martha Gelhorn was Aware. Aware of a lot of the injustices in the world, even if she had no real interest in (or knowledge of how to) making changes - (somewhat) Aware of her own foibles. (mostly) Aware of the overall absurdity of the human race (herself included).

Within reason.

Readers looking for a civil justice firebrand would be better served to look elsewhere - this is a very personal experience and it is largely about Martha finding humor in her own whining, as the globetrots, meeting some really stunning people. And if you can get on board for that, then you are in for a pretty fun time, especially if you are sitting in a comfy chair, sipping a favorite drink - and not fighting insects or mud or muddy insects...
2,412 reviews
June 12, 2016
Author is the third wife of Hemingway, who enters the book briefly.
A journalist attempts to construct a memoir from her incomplete or indecipherable travel diaries. Yes, she was brave and searched off-the-beaten-track, which often amounted to very little. China, Caribbean, Africa, Russia, Israel. She seemed bored. Why should the reader be anything less than bored?
Profile Image for Margaret.
646 reviews11 followers
November 8, 2020
Martha Gellhorn once said that she didn´t want to be a footnote in someone else’s biography (referring, of course, to Ernest Hemingway). And, for sure, she was much, much more than the third wife of the legendary American author.

Martha Gellhorn, who also wrote fiction, is considered, by many, the best war reporter of the twentieth century. In “Travels with Myself and Another”, she turns to “travel writing” to report on five journeys that went terribly wrong in China, the Caribbean, Africa, USSR and Israel. With a direct approach and lots of humor, Martha Gellhorn describes one disaster after the other and you can’t help but flinch at her misfortunes. Nevertheless, she never gives up and is always very detailed with her surroundings, especially with the people she meets on the way.

I confess that her story in Africa was too long and a bit tedious for my taste, as she kept repeating similar situations that occurred to her. But I loved her writing style and hope to read more of her work.
Profile Image for Milan Buno.
400 reviews30 followers
May 13, 2022
Ľahký, miestami zábavný cestopis, celkom mi sadol je štýl, ktorý sa tak odlišuje od mužov-cestovateľov Viac pocitov, emócií, postrehov...najmä v prvom výlete s pánom N.S., čiže Neochotným spoločníkom, alias manželom Ernestom Hemingwayom. Tam som sa často usmieval nad jeho bonmotmi, bohorovnými vyhláseniami, naštvanými poznámkami. Ako keď prileteli do Honolulu.

„Nikdy som okolo krku nemal žiadne prašivé buriny, a ak sa ma ešte raz nejaký skurvysyn dotkne, tak ho tak schladím, že až, a na aké hnojisko sme to došli. A prisámbohu, ak ma niekto ešte raz pozdraví aloha, tak mu naflusám do úst.“

No nemilujte ho :-)
Gellhorn je opisná, snaží sa zachytiť aj atmosféru daného miesta, čo ma bavilo a nútilo čítať ďalej. Najviac ma chytil „výlet“ do afrického pekla, kde sa všetko kašlalo, rúcalo, prekvapenia na každom kroku. Ani to však neodradilo vášnivú cestovateľku a zaľúbila sa do africkej zeme i oblohy, fauny i flóry, aj do počasia východnej Afriky.

Pri čítaní som si spomínal na svoje tak trochu pekelné cesty, či už po Kambodži, vlakom cez Thajsko a Malajziu, s batohom po Egypte od Káhiry cez púšť na juh k Asuánu, alebo Sýria a Libanon. Ale presne ako píše Martha – všetci zažijeme nejaké tie cestovateľské katastrofy a v danej chvíli sa rozklepeme, sme namrzení, ufrfľaní...ale keď je po všetko, hrdo na ne spomíname a s nadšením o nich rozprávame. Človeku nič tak nezvýši sebavedomie, ako keď prežije :-)

A ešte jedna myšlienka z knihy, s ktorou som sa absolútne stotožnil a akoby mi Martha Gellhorn hovorila z duše:

Samota je s knihami znesiteľná, bez nich strašná.
Profile Image for Sande.
6 reviews2 followers
September 10, 2012
I discovered Gellhorn through a silly little HBO movie of the same title. The movie took one chapter of this book,the one where she travels with husband Ernest Hemingway, and finally brought this outstanding singular woman to the attention of the world that should have known her name as easily as her best friend Elinor Roosevelt or Edward R. Morrow. But we don't. Written by her it is the closest to an autobiography we have this amazing woman who was the first female war correspondent starting with the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. In this book she writes about her travels over five decades that were horror stories, the anti travel book, that still will make one want to visit those places on their own, those that still exist in the state she found them, which may be only Russia. You will travel the planet and laugh and be moved and though not envy certainly marvel at her trips and the rich style of her writing that puts you right in the midst of where she is smells, tastes, sounds, sights vividly captured. Read along with "Gellhorn: A Twentieth Century Life" by Moorehead covering Gellhorn's life from birth in St. Louis in 1908 to her taking of her own life on her own terms in 1998, London.
86 reviews11 followers
May 21, 2013
Fascinating - exciting - exhilarating travel memoirs of one of the wives of Ernest Hemingway. She loves cleanliness and comfort but ends up going through hellish conditions again and again as a war correspondent. The language is a delight. The observations unique. The narrative surprises one over and over and the book is unputdownable.
Profile Image for Adam Green.
15 reviews4 followers
March 8, 2017
Really well written, but hard to get over her flagrant bigotry. She doesn't want to know people from other races and from meeting a handful of people writes everyone off as 'lazy' or 'smelly'.
Profile Image for Katharine Ott.
1,763 reviews24 followers
January 23, 2022
"Travels with Myself and Another" - written by Martha Gellhorn and published in 1978 by Jeremy P Tarcher, Putnam. "It is high time that I learn to be more careful about hope, a reckless emotion for travellers." In this memoir of 1940s trips to China, various southern islands, Africa, Russia and Israel, the hopes of Gellhorn, a writer and accomplished war correspondent, are dashed again and again. Other than the China trip with husband Ernest Hemingway (identified as U.C., Unwilling Companion), Gellhorn was a solo traveler, well-funded and determined, but willing to take unimaginable risks. Her situations were mostly horrific, even to her - miserable sleeping conditions, non-existent bathroom facilities, lack of safe food and drink and locals unwilling or unable to help. "The last thing in life I had ever wanted was to be face to face with elephants, on foot, in the bush, accompanied by an imbecile." She certainly saw amazing sights though and lays down a good travelogue, although I wonder why she did not carry a camera with her. On her way to another adventure she writes, "My heart rose like a bird at once. It always did incurably, except in rain, as soon as I felt I had fallen off the map."
Profile Image for JaumeMuntane.
385 reviews12 followers
October 19, 2018

En el lado positivo de este libro de Martha Gellhorn, destacar su valiente papel así como el retrato de una época, países y momentos convulsos. Por el lado negativo, para Martha Gellhorn, el aburrimiento era uno de los parámetros que definían un viaje infernal. De esta forma, el libro contiene varios momentos de lectura tediosa al reflejar precisamente el tedio que se vivia en el viaje. El hecho de que la crónica se escribiera años después, basándose en notas o recuerdos, hacen que el libro pierda frescura en varios momentos.
Profile Image for Klara Gulla.
6 reviews
July 25, 2023
This was SUCH A GOOD BOOK. Very refreshing after such a long time for me to read nonfiction. This is the only type of travel book I ever want to read. This is the type of book that makes you want to read all of the author's creations. I thought after reading Le Guin, no other female writer would make me feel the sense of wisdom, the admiration, the happiness of understanding exactly what she's talking about... I'm a big fan now. As the foreword says this book is written ahead of its time and is definitely underrated and Martha Gellhorn is understated.
3 reviews1 follower
January 23, 2014
Travel is always a mixed bag - messy days of irritation and frustration, juxtaposed with all the wonderfully enriching experiences that you're supposed to have. I've certainly never read a book that so honestly expresses the disappointments, annoyances and sheer tedium of the bad days. Which is often wonderful, as you feel the misery and pain of her "horror" journeys, and really understand the power of the magical moments, such as when the African skies reveal their full majesty.

It is easy enough to identify with the annoyance of travel, but when the every day drudgery is mixed with significant moments of history, a whole new perspective is created. For example, to be a partner of Ernest Hemingway, meet the leader of China in wartime, and fly transports through the heart of Burma is an amazing adventure, and Martha certainly lets you know that this it what it was. But still the real experience shines through, of cold, awful food and revolting toilets.

It's a book of its time, and Martha is an honest writer. This makes the sections on "Blacks" in Africa uncomfortable reading. She's as far from stupid as you can get, but sometimes you do want to pick her up and give her a shake, get her to be a little more modern.

Martha was not a dull person and this is not a dull book. I flew through it in no time. Worth reading.
Profile Image for John.
325 reviews8 followers
October 14, 2012
This book is in many ways both tedious and haphazardly written. And it is wonderful and marvelous and educational and simply fabulous. Martha Gellhorn was one of the most interesting women of the 20th century. While she was undoubtedly the most experienced female war correspondent of the century, this book is less about her war travels than her personal travels. Best known, of course, as the wife of Ernest Hemingway during the WWII years, Gellhorn was every bit a woman in her own right as she demonstrates by refusing to mention Hemingway by name (Papa H is the 'another.'). The book focuses mainly on four 'horror' trips (as she calls them). First China with H in the early war years; then the pre-development Caribbean, also early in the war. A late 60s private trans-Africa trip (alone!). Lastly a horrid week in Moscow to visit an elderly writer. Gellhorn paints a vivid and wretched picture of Communist Moscow and laughingly quotes, "Two cheers for capitalism."

Also, if you haven't seen the movie "Hemingway & Gellhorn," it is a really good movie.
Profile Image for Genna.
402 reviews8 followers
May 9, 2016
"I was in that state of grace which can rightly be called happiness, when body and mind rejoice totally together. This occurs, as a divine surprise, in travel; this is why I will never finish travelling."

If you think Hemingway is a fearless adventurer, you must not be acquainted with Martha Gellhorn, a renowned war correspondent and his third wife. While a prolific journalist and lifelong traveler, Travels with Myself and Another is her first and only memoir which reflects on her experiences at any length. Spanning East Africa, Crete, Stalin-era USSR, and China during the second Sino-Japanese war, among others, and traveling via horseback, cargo planes, and ships transporting dynamite for the WWII Allied effort, Gellhorn's tales are as varied as they are ridiculous. Her reflections are evocative and inviting as she recalls endless mishaps, wrong turns, run ins with skin rot, and trash filled beaches. Gellhorn's memoir is a chronicle of her most memorable (read, disastrous) travels, often hilarious, always potently delivered.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
43 reviews
August 3, 2012
I discovered Martha Gellhorn completely by accident, by watching the HBO film "Hemingway and Gellhorn", which should have been called "Gellhorn and Hemingway as she was by far the more interesting of the two writers. I looked her up and found that she was one of the most remarkable journalists of the 21st century and decided to check out a few of her books. This book seemed the most interesting to me-a recollection of her extensive world travels from her perspective as an older person, having seen extraordinary changes in the world, and in travel.
The first essay, on her trip to pre-revolutionary China in 1941 was fantastic; besides being laugh out loud funny at times, it was a vivid snapshot of China under Chiang Kai-shek before the Communist Revolution.
I didn't find the second essay as compelling but may read the rest of this book another time.
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