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The Women Who Wrote the War Paperback – October 31, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; First Edition edition (October 31, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060958391
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060958398
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,576,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The women who served as combat correspondents in World War II were a capable, gutsy, and inquisitive bunch. Their bravery snapping photos from bomb-laden B-17s over North Africa or interviewing blood-soaked soldiers fresh from Iwo Jima was matched only by their pluck in overcoming sexist double standards and patronizing attitudes. To a one, they were determined to prove their mettle at a time when "few newspaperwomen had made it from the society desk into the newsroom," as author Nancy Caldwell Sorel points out. Sorel (whose witty First Encounters appeared in The Atlantic for years) tracked down dozens of these women, most well into or past their 70s, and has combined candid interviews with rigorous research to piece together their amazing wartime stories.

The Women Who Wrote the War follows the chronology of the conflict through the reporters' eyes, beginning as early as a 1931 interview of Hitler by Dorothy Thompson Lewis (wife of Sinclair), in which she called the future Führer "inconsequent ... voluble, ill-poised, insecure." (Shortly after her "Little Man" rose to power, she would be expelled.) Tough and opinionated Collier's correspondent Martha Gellhorn, another reporter married to a famous writer, frustrated her new husband, Ernest Hemingway, shortly after D-Day--defying military orders, she sneaked onto the beaches of Normandy just ahead of him, pitching in as a stretcher-bearer to get her story. Gripping and well documented, Sorel's work ably captures the excitement of both the war and the exploits of the women who reported on it. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Sorel, a freelance journalist who writes regularly for Esquire and the Atlantic, has assembled an impressive amount of biographical information about the women reporters who covered World War II. Though numbering fewer than 100, these women were extremely dedicated to overcoming the bias of their employers, who often felt that the front was no place for a woman, and of the military itself. The stories of these women reportersAe.g., Lee Miller, Martha GelhornAare at once inspiring, frustrating, and sad, and most are certainly worth knowing. The book, however, is more anecdotal than analytical. Important questions, such as whether these women reported the war differently from their male counterparts, is not treated systematically. In addition, the place of women in the history of news needs greater context. Still, as a journalistic account of an often neglected story, it is recommended for public libraries.AFrederic Krome, Jacob Rader Marcus Ctr. of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Al Krieger on December 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Once in a while there comes along a book that informs where there has been a void, delights when each page is read,. surprises with revelations that you do not expect and is full of surprises that you do not know. This is just that type of book. I am a nut about world war 2 but did not know that women did so much in so many locations over the entire length of the war to bring those events to your doorstep in your friendly favorite newspaper. It just amazes me how many of them were in harms way, and just how they had to pretend to be men in order to get their stories accepted and published. This is a wonmderful, informative and educational piece about a segment of world war 2 that you hear little about. It is just cause that someone has finally written about these womens' deeds and gave credit where credit is due. This is a wonderful book; worth three times the price asked for and should be on anyones' buying list who is serious about learning about all sides of the war, and who really did what and when. The women here deserve a hell of lot opf credit; thank god they finally got some. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and fully recommend it to anyone interested in this genre. My e-mail is welderal@yahoo.com
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By K. Percy on October 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book greatly -- the sort of book you look forward to coming home to read after work. I only wish there'd been more of a cultural overview, that the focus had been somewhat less on the individuals and rather more on the overall event. We're told who linked up with whom romantically, but not enough about what those often temporary and ex-marital relationships meant in the context of a woman's ethical training in those years, or how the norms were changed by the war. Perhaps that kind of summary is too much to ask from this book, but I would have enjoyed finding out how the experiences of these women fit into and changed the standards for women in that time. But the book is definitely worth reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Arthur Tirrell on March 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
Women Who Wrote the War begins with the first American women reporters in Europe, moves to the Spanish Civil War in 1937 and ends eight years later in Berlin in 1945. That's a span of 25 years. No single volume could do justice to a work of such scope. The author attacks this problem with short bits presented in anecdotal form. These move the time frame but rarely penetrate far beneath the surface. Thus, we learn less than we'd like to about these fascinating women. In this respect, in my opinion, The Women Who Wrote the War could have been made even better. For example, reader is never told how the reporting of these women differed from that of male correspondents (if it did), or whether it excelled or was subpar. No examples are given, save a few photographs, of the work they produced, although Sorel clearly did a tremendous amount of research and must have had the information. From the standpoint of a straight report of the physical action, this is an excellent work. Still, at the end, I wished I'd come to know these women just a little bit better.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Imagine having to send your stories in with a man' name on them in order to get them printed. These women did everything the men did, but received little of the credit. It is a great book, written with incite and humor. If you think that you know all about world war II, then think again, and then get this book and read how the women correspondents saw the war. I was facinated with every page. It is written so well that you feel like you are there. It covers all periods of world war II that the women did, and does it, in chronological order. I truly recommend this book for all history and military buffs who really like to read about the other side of those battles that have been covered hundreds of times by men. I could not put this book down until I was finished. If this is your subject, then please do not go on without buying this wonderful book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
If you thought you knew the story of World War II, and of the journalists who covered it, think again. Reading this wonderful book is like lifting open the cover of an old chest and finding gold and rubies inside.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Don Reed on May 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Women Who Wrote The War, Nancy Caldwell Sorel; Perennial [HarperCollinsPublishers] (1999)

Update (01/06/13): GOOD NEWS!

In today's New York Post's "In My Library" segment, where public figures (some even literate!) are invited to recommend their favorite books, Neal Shapiro - WNET/Thirteen's CEO - has tabbed "TW"!

"I love reading about WWII & books about journalism & my wife [ABC's Juju Chang] is a reporter, so it's everything I'm interested in. These women were incredibly gutsy..."

Let's face it: One hundred of us small fry could post unanimous five-star reviews & the result would be (pretty much as always)... the continuing silence. I'm hoping that Shapiro's endorsement will revive the reading circulation of this remarkable book to the level it deserves.

*****

"In time, the manuscript grew to unwieldy size, requiring that half of the original roster of reporters, & some whole areas of the war [World War II], be cut. The reader is perhaps relieved, but I mourn those women whose experiences I can no longer share with you."

How regrettable! Had "The Women" been twice its 398-page length, the writing would have been equally as compelling & satisfying. How sad, then, that the original manuscript, in its entirety, had not been retained & printed "as is."

What has this world come to when Dan Rather - the American media's greatest horse's ass - implores us: "What a wonderful book! These women must not be forgotten; their stories must be told now" - &, my God, he is right!

(I wish I could say the same for the opinion of Nancy's husband, Ed Sorel, whose similarly gung-ho recommendation of Barton's Bernstein's dreadful biography of James Thurber led to the squandering of time & money.
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