"This is not just a story of the violence of fascism, but of the burning joy of freedom, and the exhilaration of shaping, with sweat and blood, a better world."**
From critically acclaimed author Kip Wilson comes this gripping coming of age historical fiction novel in verse about Gerda Taro, a vibrant, headstrong photojournalist with a passion for capturing the truth amid political turmoil and the first woman photojournalist killed in combat.
The daughter of Polish Jewish immigrants, Gerta Pohorylle doesn't quite fit in. While she's away at boarding school, however, she becomes a master at reinventing herself. When she returns from school, she gets more involved with left-wing groups as Germany splits into political extremes and after she's arrested for distributing anti-Nazi propaganda, Gerta and her family decide she must leave Germany.
In Paris, Gerda meets André Friedman, a Hungarian photographer eager for fame and fortune, who fosters Gerda's interest in photography and how it can be as much of a tool for broadcasting her beliefs as protesting and demonstrations. Together the pair invents Robert Capa, a rich American photographer, and soon they're selling "Capa's" work for high prices and to great acclaim. Soon after, Gerda begins selling her own work under the last name Taro and the pair take on more assignments, jetting off to Spain to cover the growing conflict that quickly becomes the Spanish Civil War.
As Gerda pushes closer and closer to the front line, eager to capture the lives and vibrant hopes of those fighting against fascism, she begins to lose track of, and regard for, her own safety.
** Kirkus starred review
"Taro lived her convictions, spending her final days in the chaos and carnage of the Spanish Civil War, determined to get the best shot, the one that would make a difference. . . . Wilson’s poems read so smoothly, and her subject is so compelling, that readers may be tempted to race through, but slowing down or reading aloud illuminates the full depth and poignancy that's on display." — Booklist (starred review)
"Wilson shares Pohorylle’s story with stunning efficiency through an economy of language that wrings sweetness from every word. The free-form verse is written in the present tense, each moment of the story its own indelible snapshot. The book captures the subject’s life and the times she lived through with complexity and depth: This is not just a story of the violence of fascism but of the burning joy of freedom and the exhilaration of shaping, with sweat and blood, a better world. It’s a struggle that continues today, and Wilson skillfully draws connections between past and present." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Expertly researched and told in verse sharp and shining as a camera flash, Kip Wilson captures the life of Gerda Taro in thrilling, heartbreaking snapshots to tell the fascinating story of a talented and passionate young woman who sought to bear witness to and expose the dark truths of war and fascism at any cost.” — R. M. Romero, author of The Ghosts of Rose Hill, A Warning About Swans, and The Dollmaker of Kraków