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The Women Who Wrote the War Paperback – Bargain Price, November 1, 2000
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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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Sorel has done her homework. She's looked through memoirs, news despatches, and magazine articles to gather together the stories of the women who covered the war. And she doesn't only talk about the major players, women like Martha Gellhorn, Mary Walsh, Margaret Bourke-White, Lee Miller, and Dorothy Thompson. She alse tells us about the women correspondents who have you haven't heard of but who were there as our soldiers fought across Europe and the Pacific.
What I especially liked was that Sorel didn't hesitate to sprinkle her narrative with abundant passages from the writing of these women. Almost every page has some really terrific passage describing what they saw. The writing is so good, so fresh, that I felt at time I was seeing the war for the first time -- even though I've been a student of WWII and a writer about it for 40 years.
I walked away from Sorel's book with a firm desire to learn more, to read more about these amazing women.
Author of Echoes of Tattered Tongues: Memory Unfolded
By her own admission, the author cut fully half of the female reporter roster from the book so as not to render it unwieldy. Even then, the half remaining is an Honor Roll of the profession: Helen Kirkpatrick, Margaret Bourke-White, Lee Carson, Ruth Cowan, Lee Miller, Martha Gellhorn, Catherine Coyne, Virginia Irwin, Iris Carpenter, Annalee Jacoby, Mary Welsh, Dickey Chapelle, Sonia Tomara, Shelley Mydans, Pat Lochridge, and a host of others too numerous to mention here.
Beginning roughly with the Spanish Civil War, and finishing with the months immediately after WWII, the book's chapters are a series of snapshots in which Sorel's subjects appear or not, depending on their presence in the theater of conflict being described - and they all seem to move around a lot. So, in sequential order, one reads of reporting Hitler's annexation of Czechoslovakia, the attack on Poland, the fall of France, the Blitz, the Nazi assault on the Soviet Union, the war in China, the Japanese capture of the Philippines, the North African and Italian campaigns, D-Day, the liberation of Paris, the Battle of the Bulge, the Pacific islands war, the advance into Germany, the American-Russian link-up, the liberated concentration camps, V-E Day, and, finally, the surrender of Japan.
I can't give WOMEN WHO WROTE THE WAR a 5-star rating because the number of players was too excessive. It would've been better had Sorel focused on, say, just 3 or 4 correspondents in each theater (Europe and the Pacific) as representative of the whole. As it was, so many names kept popping in and out of the narrative that it was hard to "get to know" any one of them, though some are better introduced than others. However, taken as written, this is an admirably comprehensive look at the gutsy ladies that did what they had to do to bring the stories back home to readers in America. For example, Virginia Irwin obtained one of the biggest scoops of the war by deliberately defying a specific SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces) restriction on correspondents' movements in a certain area. You go, girl!