Review of One Last Shot: The Story of Wartime Photographer Gerda Taro

One Last Shot: The Story of Wartime Photographer Gerda Taro One Last Shot: The Story of Wartime Photographer Gerda Taro
by Kip Wilson
High School    Versify/HarperCollins    416 pp.
1/23    9780063251687    $17.99
e-book ed.  9780063251694    $9.99

Wilson (White Rose, rev. 7/19) again traces a real-life young woman’s activism in a novel in verse. Gerda Pohorylle, the daughter of Polish immigrants living in Germany, is taught to be true to her Jewish self “behind closed doors / and / assimilate in German spaces / outside the home.” As the Nazis gradually seize power, Gerda replaces her assimilation with political protest; after an arrest, she immigrates to Paris. There, several mentors—including André Friedmann, who becomes her professional and romantic partner—help her pursue her passion, photography. In order to command higher commissions, Gerda publicly reinvents the two of them as the ­glamorous Robert Capa and Gerda Taro. When the Spanish Civil War breaks out, Capa and Taro, sympathizing with republican resistance to Franco’s fascist uprising, journey to Spain to chronicle the conflict. Wilson adroitly lays the foundation for Gerda’s early Anderssein, or “otherness”; her physical isolation from her family while in Paris; and the awakening of her life’s purpose. Appended author’s notes separate fact from fiction and give more information about historical figures mentioned, the Spanish Civil War, and Taro’s legacy. A bibliography and glossaries for German, French, and Spanish words complete the book. Pair with Aronson and Budhos’s biography Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism (rev. 5/17).

From the March/April 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Betty Carter
Betty Carter, an independent consultant, is professor emerita of children’s and young adult literature at Texas Woman’s University.

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