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Fire in the Wind: The Life of Dickey Chapelle (Bluejacket Books) Paperback – March 2, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Bluejacket Books
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Bluejacket Books (March 2, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557504199
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557504197
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,509,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Dickey Chapelle, female correspondent and combat photographer, forced herself into the frontlines of democracy for 20 years from Iwo Jima to Vietnam. Going places no other woman had, where women weren't wanted, she covered post-World War II Europe, the 1956 Hungarian uprising, the rise of Castro in Cuba, and fighting in Korea, Lebanon, and Laos. Taken from previously unused Chapelle papers, this book presents a unique view of early Cold War confrontations from a woman's perspective. She spent time in a Budapest prison, months in the jungles of Cuba, and a year with Special Forces in Laos in 1961. Chapelle's greatest contribution came in Vietnam; during several tours of duty she spent months in the jungles on patrol with the Green Berets and U.S. Marines. Recommended.
- David Lee Poremba, Detroit P.L.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Free-lance journalist Ostroff (Rolling Stone, Reader's Digest, etc.) offers an engaging biography of feisty combat reporter/photographer Dickey Chapelle--the first American woman journalist killed in action. Born Georgette Louise Meyer in 1920, Chapelle grew up in a staid midwestern suburb where she spent her youth dreaming of flying airplanes and emulating her hero, Admiral Richard Byrd (she changed her first name to match his). After unceremoniously flunking out of M.I.T. and failing a course in flight instruction, she turned her energies to journalism and soon met her future husband, photographer Tony Chapelle, who taught her much about photography and wartime reportage. From then on, Chapelle was on her way, determined to be where the action was (``eyeballing history,'' she called it). Despite many rejections from the military (unused to having a woman at the front) and from the New York publishing establishment, Chapelle managed to cover most of the major wars and battles of the 20th century: Iwo Jima, the 1956 Hungarian uprising (when she spent five weeks in a Budapest prison), Cuba, Korea, Lebanon, Laos, and Vietnam, where she was killed while covering a platoon on patrol. Always an outspoken eccentric, with a voice like a ``marine drill sergeant,'' Chapelle was a tiny woman known for her signature uniform--fatigues, an Australian bush hat, dramatic Harlequin glasses, and pearl earrings--and her refusal to kowtow to authority. Ostroff chronicles her life with easy, workmanlike skill, drawing on interviews with those who knew her and on her extensive correspondence, articles, and reporter's notes. And while the author does not attempt to examine Chapelle's life so much as straightforwardly report it, she does provide moments of analysis and insight. A solid if not profound biography of a remarkable woman whose life story has been sorely neglected. (Two eight-page photo inserts--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By meiringen on August 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
Interesting book about Dickey Chapelle. She wanted to be a pilot, but became a photojournalist--the first woman photographer to get accredation to cover the war in the Pacific in World War II. After that, she was present at nearly every noteworthy conflict or event there was--if something was going on, Dickey wanted to be there, and usually got her way. She worked for Life, Reader's Digest, National Geographic, and many other magazines and papers. She was killed in 1965, while with the Marines in Vietnam.
Her personal life was not always smooth sailing, and I find it incredible that she achieved all she did.
What I found most interesting about Dickey was her spirit--she didn't let conventions or anybody stand in her way. She was a trailblazer in her field, and I'm glad that Roberta Ostroff wrote this book--Dickey certainly deserves recognition for her courage and and heroism.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gerry on March 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the control of fear.” Dickey Chapelle.

[...].. Photo of Dickey as she received the last rites in Vietnam.

In 1992 when the book was published it had not yet been 30 years from the time of death of Dickey Chapelle. This author, (who years before had heard of Dickey), went to great lengths to interview people that were still alive in the late 1980s as she compiled her work. Ostroff first became familiar with Dickey while serving as a fellow with the American Film Institute (AFI) in 1975 by a fellow classmate. The interviews along with the many kept notes (99 journalist note books that Dickey kept along the course of her whole career in a combined 15 crate sort of boxes) certainly provided a wealth of information. Dickey never threw anything way (in terms of notes, letters, statements, etc.) and Roberta Ostroff certainly used this to her advantage – the Acknowledgments section of the book alone references many persons personal to Dickey who provided information for this work. Dickey’s papers today are stored at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. I find a bit of irony that the author had written the introduction to the book on 1 March 1991, the irony for me being that Dickey was well respected by the US Marine Corps and US Army Infantry and 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. She had jumped with the Marines and Army as well as South Vietnamese Forces and Royal Laotian Forces in and throughout the Republic of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia; she was still jumping at the ripe old age of 46 up and until the time of her death. Dickey had learned while training with Marines for 3 months in 1955 how to: read a map and use a compass, walk fast, run hard, climb, fall, roll, recognized weapons by sound, follow on a night patrol by silhouette.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Matthew A. Bille on May 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
I was actually a bit annoyed to find this book, since I didn't know anyone had written Chapelle's biography, and I had thought of doing it myself. That said, Ostroff has written it much better than I could have. While what drove Dickey Chapelle to her achievements and disasters remains a bit hard to grasp, Ostroff has done an excellent job of tracing her cliffhanger career. There are nitpicks: Ostroff puts herself in Chapelle's head at times, as if she knows exactly what Dickie was thinking, and there is no mention of Chapelle's spiritual beliefs or lack thereof. Despite these slips, the book is an excellent tale, well told. I've recommended it widely.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By debbieo on May 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dickey Chapelle must have been one incredible woman to have experienced all she did in a relatively short lifetime. The book is a fascinating look at her life and experiences.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susan Brunner on June 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having heard of Dickey Chappelle through a Nancy Griffith song, I decided to Google her to find out if she really existed or was just a name in a song. Surprisingly, she did exist and since I wanted to know more about her, I bought this book. Once I read the history of Dickey, I was incredulous that many of the World War II and Vietnam Era folks I know had never heard of her. If you want to read about a woman who defied all kinds of odds, traveling the world to take photographs and write about military life, all while living alongside the heavily male population of the military, this is the book for you. Having spent time with numerous high-ranking political personnel, including interviewing Castro in his early political career, her life makes for a very interesting historical read.
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