One Last Shot: Based on a True Story of Wartime Heroism: The Story of Wartime Photographer Gerda Taro

Versify/HarperCollins/. Jan. 2023. 416p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780063251687.
Gr 9 Up–This novel explores the short life of German photojournalist, Gerda Taro, in a format that blends biography, narrative nonfiction, and verse novel, relating events from Taro’s perspective in accessible first-person poetry. Chronologically, the story begins in Stuttgart in 1917, with Taro, as the only Jewish girl in her class, attempting to reconcile her religion and home life with the vivacious, confident persona she adopts publicly. As Taro gets older and Germany becomes increasingly anti-Semitic, she isdrawn into the anti-fascist movement. This activism becomes the main thread in Taro’s life, causing her to eventually leave Germany for the more liberal city of Paris. Taro’s activism is inextricably intertwined with her relationship with photographer André Friedmann (later known as Robert Capa), and her career as a press photographer, which culminates tragically during the Spanish Civil War. Taro is a laudable protagonist: determined, independent, resourceful, and courageous. Wilson intends her as a model for young people today, explicitly aligning the historical setting with contemporary anti-democratic movements. Wilson displays impressive attention to detail throughout and includes extensive end notes on context. However, on a narrative level, the story lacks a stronger central dramatic question and focus on internal and interpersonal conflict alongside societal conflict.
VERDICT This well-researched narrative account will be most appreciated for its historical insights. Recommended particularly for classroom study of the Spanish Civil War, and for readers with an interest in photography or political advocacy.

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