One Last Shot: Based on a True Sto­ry of Wartime Heroism

  • Review
By – September 12, 2023

In gen­tle, flow­ing verse, One Last Shot tells the sto­ry of Ger­da Taro, a renowned wartime pho­tog­ra­ph­er who grew up Jew­ish in Ger­many short­ly before the Nazi rise to pow­er and who was the first pho­to­jour­nal­ist to be killed in action dur­ing the Span­ish Civ­il War. Gerda’s youth­ful pas­sion for the cause of free­dom ani­mates Kip Wilson’s poet­ry, draw­ing the read­er into the atmos­phere and facts of Gerda’s life.

Ger­da loves Shab­bat meals with her fam­i­ly but hates feel­ing dif­fer­ent” than those around her. This sense of oth­er­ness inspires her to begin an artis­tic and polit­i­cal life cham­pi­oning those who strug­gle to be free. When the Nazis become a pow­er­ful force in soci­ety, she demon­strates against them, hang­ing posters and engag­ing in civ­il dis­obe­di­ence to protest their harsh policies.

Ger­da flees Ger­many for France. Upon arriv­ing in Paris, she meets pho­tog­ra­ph­er Andre Fried­mann, lat­er known as Robert Capa — and she excels in the art of pho­tog­ra­phy, too. They become both roman­tic and busi­ness part­ners, shar­ing an inter­est in pol­i­tics and cur­rent events. Togeth­er, they trav­el to Spain to pho­to­graph the Span­ish Civ­il War. They encounter oth­er well-known artists, includ­ing John Dos Pas­sos, Pablo Neru­da, and Ernest Hem­ing­way, and immerse them­selves in a pas­sion­ate fight against oppres­sion. Ger­da achieves pro­fes­sion­al acco­lades and great glo­ry, but she pays the ulti­mate price, sac­ri­fic­ing her­self for her cause.

In a lengthy author’s note, Wil­son offers more infor­ma­tion about the char­ac­ters men­tioned, as well as a brief his­to­ry of the Span­ish Civ­il War and a dis­cus­sion of which parts of the sto­ry were fic­tion­al­ized and why. This is a beau­ti­ful sto­ry fea­tur­ing a fas­ci­nat­ing char­ac­ter who lived, and died, in unset­tling times.

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

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