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You Don't Belong Here
How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War
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The long-buried story of three extraordinary female journalists who permanently shattered the barriers to women covering war.
In You Don’t Belong Here, Elizabeth Becker uses these women’s work and lives to illuminate the Vietnam War from the 1965 American buildup, the expansion into Cambodia, and the American defeat and its aftermath. Arriving herself in the last years of the war, Becker writes as a historian and a witness of the times.
What emerges is an unforgettable story of three journalists forging their place in a land of men, often at great personal sacrifice. Deeply reported and filled with personal letters, interviews, and profound insight, You Don’t Belong Here fills a void in the history of women and of war.
Will the Vietnam conflict be the first war recorded better by women than men?… The story of war is not the same as the story of men at war.
RICHARD EDER, Los Angeles Times, 19861
The Vietnam press corps was a male bastion that women entered only at the risk of being humiliated and patronized; the prevailing view was that the war was being fought by men against men and women had no place there.
PETER ARNETT, Pulitzer Prize–winning war correspondent2
WHEN I ENCOUNTERED HER AT THE HONG KONG AIRPORT, A cigarette dangling from her free hand, I had never met anyone like Kate Webb. It was January 1973, and I was on the penultimate leg of my flight from Seattle to Cambodia to become a war correspondent.
She was immediately recognizable from the news photographs: the thick-cropped brown hair, shy smile, and intense brown eyes. After I waved to her, she steered me through arrival formalities and into a dim sum restaurant with a view of the harbor. Our mutual friend, Sylvana Foa, had arranged for Webb to host me overnight and make sure I caught the morning flight to Phnom Penh.
Webb had been in the news for surviving capture by the North Vietnamese and then writing a book about the experience. Soft spoken and to the point, she asked, Why had I crossed the ocean to cover a war?
The short answer was a nightmare I was all too keen to leave behind. My master’s adviser had rejected my thesis on the Bangladesh War of Independence after I refused to sleep with him. He said the one was not related to the other.
I had worked my way through college, petitioned to create a degree program in South Asian studies, and won a fellowship to graduate school. The professor essentially kneecapped my academic future. So, determined that he would not control the rest of my life, I found another dream: I would use my education to become a journalist. I filed a complaint against him with the campus Women’s Commission, a meaningless but important act for me, cashed my fellowship check, and bought a one-way ticket to Cambodia.
That’s where Foa came in. For a year she had been urging me to join her in Phnom Penh and become a reporter, as she had done. We’d met by chance in India when we were both traveling students in 1970. She left graduate school and went on to Vietnam and Cambodia. She sent me heart-stopping letters that were anything but tempting:
“War has broken out in the southeast with a ferocity I have never seen in Cambodia—tanks, B-52s, everything and despite the fact that the major battleground is 40 miles from here, the smell reaches Phnom Penh,” she wrote in 1972. “Take care of yourself and think again about coming to live here.… It’s more important than graduate school.”1
As a member of the Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars that used historical and political research to oppose the war, I had never wanted to go within a hundred miles of a B-52 raid. But once I was pushed out of graduate school, Foa’s invitation suddenly looked like a lifeline.
I justified the decision to Webb by pointing out that Cambodia was integral to my studies of India and the countries influenced by India.
Webb looked at me, a flicker of a smile in her eyes. She had been through so much more than my sad tale. Then she laughed out loud. She had done the self-same thing—bought a one-way ticket from Sydney to Saigon with no idea whether she would find a job in the war zone. “You’ll do fine,” she said. And that was that: I left the next day.
Foa was waiting for me at Phnom Penh’s Pochentong Airport, from where she drove me into the city. I was dazzled by the city’s beauty—the golden spire of the Buddhist temples and the shaded sidewalk cafés—but mostly by Foa’s self-confidence. The friend who had shared dosa and thick chai with me in Delhi was now a war correspondent with an office, interpreters, a manager—and a desk for me.
That day I was under the wildly mistaken impression that it was normal for young women to show up in Indochina and become battlefield reporters. In my backpack I carried a careful selection of paperback books on the war and one hardcover: Fire in the Lake by Frances FitzGerald, the American woman who had made her name as a reporter in Vietnam. I thought I was ready. I was twenty-five years old and had no idea what I had gotten myself into.
FOA WAS EXPELLED from Cambodia three months later at the beginning of April. In the middle of a massive American bombing campaign, she published her investigation revealing that the United States embassy was illegally directing the pilots. Washington was furious. The US ambassador Emory Swank told her boss that “Miss Foa distorted the US role and activities in Cambodia” and it would be best if she stays out of Cambodia.2
Sydney Schanberg wrote nearly the same article in the New York Times one week later with no dire consequences to his reputation or career.3
With Foa gone, I was the only female foreign correspondent in the country. The Far Eastern Economic Review, an Asia-wide news magazine published in Hong Kong, hired me after a two-week trial period that I passed thanks to Foa’s help. My base salary was $150 a month, and I rented the least-expensive room in the best hotel for $50 a month. (It came without hot water and was “cooled” by a colonial-era ceiling fan.)
I had arrived in time to cover the escalation of the American bombing campaign in support of the Cambodian government army that was fighting the guerilla Khmer Rouge with machine guns, rockets, and mortars—the heavy artillery of war.
I was paralyzed the first time I saw the smoldering wreckage from a bombing campaign. Tropical palms were reduced to black stubs. The carcass of a water buffalo lay bloated in a cratered rice field. Displaced villagers told me they had no idea why fire had fallen from the sky. In the three months of March, April, and May 1973, 140,000 tons of American bombs were dropped.
The risks were beyond anything I had imagined but so were the rewards. In the US, I would have been lucky to write for the local women’s page. In Cambodia, I was covering the central story of the war and learning the trade alongside reporters like James Markham of the New York Times, H. D. S. (David) Greenway of the Washington Post, Ed Bradley of CBS News, Tiziano Terzani of Der Spiegel, and Jacques Leslie of the Los Angeles Times—a cumulative masterclass in journalism.
But they didn’t live in Cambodia. They arrived on assignment from their bases in Saigon, Hong Kong, and a few other cities. That meant news staffs were stretched thin and news organizations needed a resident reporter, or stringer, in Cambodia to fill in the gaps. They were sufficiently desperate that I became the contract stringer for the Washington Post, NBC radio, and Newsweek magazine in Cambodia just four months after I arrived.
When he hired me, Tom Lippman, the Washington Post’s Saigon bureau chief, said that I was the only person vaguely qualified for the job, and it did not matter that I was a woman. Not to him, perhaps, but mine became a rare female byline from the war, and I quickly became a target.
An anonymous parody written on Reuters stationary was circulated among the press corps casting me as a woman with “high school cheerleader looks” who had used her feminine wiles to win prize assignments. (I still have a copy.) I learned to barricade my door at night in case a colleague decided I was lonely. At a news conference, US ambassador John Gunther Dean asked a reporter to repeat a question, saying he had been “distracted by Miss Becker’s legs.”
I found friends: Ishiyama Koki, the correspondent for Kyodo News Service and translator of George Orwell into Japanese; Stephen Heder, an American freelancer who became a top scholar of the Khmer Rouge; and James Fenton, a British poet and unlikely war correspondent who wrote the best poetry of the war; and the diplomats Louis Bardollet, first secretary of the French embassy, and Renji Sathiah, head of the Malaysian mission.
Writing for the Post was more than a privilege. It felt like a higher calling, and I broke several important stories: I witnessed a US Army officer illegally advising the Cambodian army under attack, and I published an investigation of the Khmer Rouge identifying their leader for the first time as a man named Solath Sar (who would later be known as Pol Pot) and describing his revolution as brutal and ruthless as well as antagonistic toward their Vietnamese allies.
As the war neared its end, the great women correspondents returned. Kate Webb arrived in Cambodia on assignment, and we reported together; she showed me how to use my feet to measure a bomb crater and surreptitiously send rice to refugees, circumventing the journalist stricture against helping anyone you interviewed. One night we went to Café le Paradis for Chinese noodle soup. I complained about various indignities I had endured, but her frustrating advice was that I should keep a low profile. Perhaps my troubles seemed slight to her. She said her problem was nightmares. She would wake up trembling and not know which atrocity she had remembered in her sleep.
Frances FitzGerald was also back reporting on the war from Vietnam, crossing over to the Viet Cong area with Greenway, one of my bosses at the Post.
Then, out of the blue, two French women my age showed up in Cambodia to work as photographers. Françoise Demulder, a novice, arrived on a motorcycle with her boyfriend and a camera. Christine Spengler was something of a veteran after photographing the troubles in Northern Ireland. Suddenly I found myself alongside these French dynamos who were breaking into the rougher male world of war photography.
They were the unofficial protégées of Catherine Leroy, the diminutive French photographer whose images in Paris Match changed how the Vietnam War was imagined. During her first year, Leroy was the only woman photographer on the battlefield. She became the first woman to win important photography awards and became one of the photographers who helped make Paris the center of the photojournalism world. Demulder and Spengler were right behind her, inspired by her raw courage and winning their own share of prizes.
We were all so fixated on reporting the war that it took us decades to understand what we had accomplished as women on the front line of war.
Before Vietnam, the US military forbade women on the battlefield, and news organizations routinely sent men to chronicle war. Nearly every woman had to pay her own way to Vietnam and then find work and prove herself once she arrived. After Vietnam, that era was over. News organizations sent women as well as men to cover wars, and the US military dropped its prohibition against women covering the fighting.
The few dozen women who managed to cover the Vietnam War forever changed who wrote about and photographed war. The term woman war correspondent was no longer an oxymoron.
Leroy, FitzGerald, and Webb were the three pioneers who changed how the story of war was told. They were outsiders—excluded by nature from the confines of male journalism, with all its presumptions and easy jingoism—who saw war differently and wrote about it in wholly new ways.
Catherine Leroy spent most of her time on the battlefield taking striking photographs of war in the moment, stripped of patriotic poses. Frances FitzGerald, the American magazine writer, filled a huge void by showing the war from the Vietnamese point of view and winning more honors than any other author of a book about the war. Kate Webb, the Australian combat reporter, burrowed inside the Vietnamese and Cambodian armies and society with such determination that a top journalism prize for Asian journalists is named in her honor.
They kept a low profile, as Webb commanded me, and shied away from publicity, especially any that pigeonholed them as “girl reporters,” as if that were a different and inferior category to male war correspondents. They didn’t write their memoirs. Two of the women have already died.
They made their way to Vietnam at the beginning. I came at the tail end, following their paths, which I’ve retraced, scouring their diaries, notebooks, letters, photographs, classified military files, and writings and interviewing those close to them. Together, their lives offer a new way to see the war. And it is long overdue.
THEY RECEIVED THE TWENTY-MINUTE WARNING. CATHERINE Leroy was waiting in her assigned seat on the left-hand side of the C-130 cargo plane, the air thick with the heat of Vietnam’s dry season. She was quiet, trying to blend in. Leroy was the only journalist on the plane, the only photographer—she had two cameras draped around her neck—the only civilian and the only woman. Her US Army–issued parachute nearly swallowed her. At five feet tall and weighing eighty-seven pounds, she was less than half the size of the dozens of US Army parachutists sitting alongside her.1
In February 1967, Leroy was selected as the best person to capture on film the United States’ first offensive airborne assault of the Vietnam War. The Pentagon hoped to repeat in the tropical jungles the success of World War II airborne operations that helped shift the course of that war. After more than a year of mixed results, the US military wanted a big win.
The day before Leroy had been called to the office of public information at the Military Assistance Command Vietnam, or MACV, the headquarters of the US Armed Forces in Saigon. Not sure if she was in trouble, Leroy was relieved when she was asked just one question: Did she still want to jump?
For the next twenty-four hours she was with the Second Battalion of the 173rd Airborne Brigade and sworn to secrecy until the operation began. She barely slept, rose with the troops before dawn, and climbed onto the truck convoy to Bien Hoa Airport. She boarded the seventh plane to shouts of “airborne all the way.”
The target was a battleground near the border with Cambodia.
Leroy listened as the plane rose, excitement overwhelming her. Her stomach cramped.
She had lobbied to jump with the troops ever since she arrived in Vietnam from Paris. Few other press photographers were remotely qualified. Leroy had earned first- and second-degree parachute licenses in France while still in secondary school, egged on by a boyfriend who had dared her to try it, where she jumped eighty-four times over the vineyards and meadows of Burgundy.
The cavernous plane flew for more than an hour before the paratroopers heard the telltale drone of the engine slowing, signaling the pilot was near the target zone. Leroy photographed the game faces of the soldiers the moment the jumpmaster began the countdown.
“Ten minutes,” he shouted, “ten minutes.”
“Stand up! Hook up! Check static lines!”
Soldier after soldier hooked onto the line of steel cable suspended above them, stamping their feet and shouting. The green light above the door lit up.
Leroy fell in with the others. The jumpmaster grabbed the static lines, guiding each soldier out with a “go, go, go, go.”
Like a controlled explosion the men thundered down the long dark aisle toward the back of the airplane, Leroy keeping pace with them.
She jumped out the door with butterflies in her stomach, her dark blond pigtails lifting as she fell. Then: “Everything became light.”
Leroy’s parachute opened into cool air with no trace of wind. From above, the menacing jungle was an undistinguished blur of deepening shades of green. Almost beautiful. She grabbed the Leica, then the Nikon cameras around her neck, and photographed the hundreds of parachutes as they opened. She shot their images from above and below and sideways. Even in their helmets and heavy boots the soldiers reminded her of flowers opening their petals.
In no time the lush earth raced up to meet her. “I landed in a drained rice paddy, lovely and springy and soft, rolling over in my easiest landing.”
Operation Junction City looked majestic in Leroy’s photographs that first day. Parachutes filled the sky in artful patterns; soldiers hit the ground running, echoing the operations over France and Holland against the Nazis. But there the similarities ended. This tropical assault was a search-and-destroy mission in Tay Ninh Province in southwest Vietnam. It was not a set piece battle intended to capture a city or heavily armed positions. These soldiers were dispersed over rice paddies and villages looking, sometimes blindly, for the elusive headquarters of Vietnamese communists.2
In Washington, President Lyndon B. Johnson was waiting for news, anxious for a winning operation. His experience of World War II had been a series of battles that led inexorably toward victory. He had been a naval officer awarded a Silver Star for bravery as the observer member of bombing missions in the South Pacific.
Vietnam stumped him; the war was nothing like that. After nearly two years of disappointment as commander in chief, Johnson expected Operation Junction City to deliver a classic military turning point, an outright success that would impress the American public.3
With so much riding on the operation, other reporters had demanded to be on the ground with the paratroopers. Many were upset, some even disdainful, when they found out Leroy would be the only accredited journalist to jump. For over a year, Leroy had been the only woman combat photographer in Vietnam and had given up trying to change attitudes. Even the great photographer Don McCullin, who admired Leroy’s work, was taken aback seeing her on the battlefield. She did not want to be a woman amongst men but a man amongst men. Why would a woman want to be amongst the blood and carnage?… I did have that kind of issue with Cathy.”4
After the initial landing, the rest of the press arrived by land and filed their stories. The next morning Brig. Gen. John R. Deane showed up in the press tent with a surprise for Leroy. He pinned the master jump wings badge, its gold star signifying a combat jump, onto her shirt. “Wear this,” he said. “That was your eighty-fifth jump.”5
She wore the badge permanently on her crumpled fatigues, an eloquent rejoinder to anyone who had questioned whether she was qualified to cover the war.
LEROY’S PHOTOGRAPHS FROM that day became historic. She had memorialized the first and, it would turn out, the only airborne US assault of the Vietnam War.
Only one other woman had preceded Leroy with a camera in the paddy fields and jungles of the Vietnam War—the celebrated photographer Dickey Chapelle. Chapelle became famous in World War II photographing battles of Guam and Okinawa. She had maneuvered around the official American ban on women covering combat by accepting an assignment aboard a navy hospital ship off the coast of Iwo Jima in 1945 and from there getting local permission to go on the island. On Okinawa she was caught photographing combat and placed under arrest in quarters. After the war, she photographed the struggles of postwar Europe, the uprising in Hungary, and wars in Algeria and Lebanon.6
Chapelle spent several months in Vietnam in 1961, before the American buildup, when President Kennedy sent 3,205 US troops as advisers to the South Vietnamese army. She burnished her reputation by winning a George Polk Award for her memoir. Her return to Vietnam in 1965 as the sole woman combat photographer was treated like a news event.
Chapelle was killed in November 1965, only months after she arrived. While on patrol with the Marines in Quang Ngai Province, she was hit by a piece of shrapnel from a booby trap. Her death made history: she was the first female war correspondent to be killed in combat. The news was published around the world, with accompanying photographs. When news organizations saw the picture of a Marine bending over her bloodied body crumpled on the ground, her pearl stud earring barely visible, they solidified their policies against allowing women to be combat photographers.
“There was a horror of assigning women to sports much less war,” said Hal Buell, the New York photo editor of the Associated Press who worked with the Vietnam War photographs sent from Saigon. “Look at the history of photography. It was male oriented for so long: the equipment, the printmaking. We didn’t think women could handle it. Women just weren’t part of that pool.”7
Leroy was the first woman photographer daring enough to follow Chapelle to cover combat in Vietnam and stick with it. For two years, Leroy remained the only one.
HER MOTHER SAID that Catherine Leroy was born angry, on an angry night of heavy Allied bombing toward the end of World War II. Their home in suburban Paris was not hit, and Catherine grew up in peace, in a prosperous bourgeois household where her father, Jean Leroy, an engineer, managed an iron foundry and her mother, Denise, doted on her only child.8
Young Catherine’s anger and stubborn temperament may have been part of her DNA, but it was exacerbated by severe asthma. Tiny and in generally poor health, Catherine had to endure traditional treatments that failed to alleviate her condition. Despite the cost, her parents sent her to a boarding school in the French Alps for one month at a time to strengthen and clear her lungs. She despised the school, but the fresh air worked. Back at home, young Catherine was routinely forbidden to overexert herself. “You can’t do that” was a familiar refrain of her childhood.
Her Catholic parents sent her to strict Catholic schools in their community of Enghien-les-Bains, best known for its casino. Monsieur and Madame Leroy were loving parents but repressed their feeling much of the time. Catherine saw her father break down only twice. In 1954, when she was ten years old, her father was listening to the radio, tears running down his face, as the announcer described the rout of the French army at the battle of Dien Bien Phu. Catherine had heard her father argue with his brother over the war to keep French colonies in Indochina. Until then, she hadn’t grasped its profound importance to her father.
The second time was over the death of Michel Leroy, her father’s twenty-one-year-old son from a previous marriage. Michel had died suddenly at a Catholic seminary where he was studying for the priesthood. To Catherine, he was a distant figure, more like a cousin.
As a young teenager, Catherine took up piano with a discipline she hadn’t shown before. She was talented, and with practice she mastered the keyboard and found a style she loved. Catherine told her mother she preferred the blues, to which Denise answered simply: “Do you want to end up in a brothel?”
Catherine was determined to concentrate on popular music, and when she was fourteen years old was granted an audition with Bruno Coquatrix, the director of L’Olympia in Paris, Europe’s biggest music hall. Top celebrity artists like Édith Piaf and Jacques Brel performed on the Olympia’s stage. Acceptance by Coquatrix would bring Catherine close to her dreams of playing American jazz.
Her audition went well. Coquatrix complimented her, saying she was very good but also very young. Come back in a few years, he told her. Leroy would have none of that. Instead, she closed the lid of her piano and said: “I know all I need to know about piano.”
She stopped playing forever.
She still loved music and stole away to Paris at night to hear jazz and meet boys. She was more than ready for the 1960s and a looser lifestyle and spent nights with her best girlfriend to avoid her mother’s restrictions. To her parents’ horror, Catherine dropped out of secondary school. Frustrated, they sent her to England, to London, where she was supposed to learn English.
Rather than play cat-and-mouse games with her English teacher, Catherine explained early on that she had no interest in formal language lessons and offered a compromise: she would make herself useful washing windows in exchange for enough money to disappear into the London nightlife.
Her parents called her home.
Back in France, in need of an alternative source of excitement, she took up sky jumping. One of her instructors was a veteran French Foreign Legionnaire who had been scarred from stepping on a land mine. His stories brought to life the photographs of war and conflict in Paris Match magazine she admired, especially of the French paratroopers. She took photographs of the instructor with a small Instamatic camera.
“We talked a bit,” she said. He introduced her to a professional skydiver who had been a freelance journalist in Saigon. She was intrigued. “I persuaded myself that if I could not be a blues singer like Billie Holiday, I would be a photographer,” she wrote in a fragment of an unpublished memoir.
She was serious about photography and found a mind-numbing job at a temporary hiring agency in Paris, abandoning any idea of returning to school. In her free time, she roamed Paris, practicing with her camera. Working overtime, she saved enough francs to cover the costs of a Leica camera and a one-way ticket to Vietnam. After her twenty-first birthday, when a French child could legally leave home without parental consent, Catherine told Jean and Denise Leroy that she was going to Vietnam on her own for three months. In France, this was especially gutsy for a female, since the French were behind the times for gender equality. French women only gained the right to vote in 1944. But Leroy told her parents a white lie saying she would go only long enough to photograph a nice feature story on women in Vietnam. In fact, she was fully focused on being a war photographer, getting as close to the battle as she could.
Photojournalists are my heroes. I want to be a photojournalist. The biggest story in the world right now is the Vietnam War,” she wrote. Knowing next to nothing about Vietnam, Catherine Leroy arrived in Saigon in February 1966.9
JEAN LEROY HAD
- "Elizabeth Becker has gracefully weaved admiring but clear-eyed portraits of three remarkable women who reported from its front lines. At a time when most female journalists were relegated to covering food, family, and fashion, these fought for a chance to take on the biggest story of their day — recording both the courage and the human toll of war, earning the amazed respect of soldiers, and making an indelible contribution to our understanding of the war, then and now."—Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down and Hue 1968
“Every journalist should read this stunning book. Actually everyone should. Elizabeth Becker has that rare ability to weave the fascinating stories of three ground-breaking, very different women journalists with a riveting history of the Vietnam War. She challenges you to see who these women were in a place they allegedly didn't belong, while describing what and how they witnessed it.”
—Anne Garrels, former NPR foreign correspondent and author of Naked in Baghdad
“In this meticulously researched and drama-filled book, we can feel the sweat and heat of the jungle, hear the explosion of bombs, and witness the lies and political machinations justifying the doomed “Vietnam War.” Most importantly, Ms. Becker, a master international journalist herself, profiles the extraordinary courage, talent, and raw determination of three wartime female journalists, who succeeded in a man’s world and helped pave the way for women everywhere to receive the recognition and respect they deserve.”
—Alan Lightman, author of Einstein’s Dreams and The Diagnosis
- "Elizabeth Becker resurrects the long-forgotten stories and enormous sacrifices made by a generation of women who paved the way for the rest of us. Elegant, angry and utterly engaging, it is a long overdue story about a small band of courageous and visionary women.You Don’t Belong Here is a masterpiece of a book."—Rachel Louise Snyder, author of No Visible Bruises
- "Becker has done us a great service by shining a light on three hidden women stars of the wars in IndoChina: Francis FitzGerald, Kate Webb and Catherine Leroy. They fought their way through opposition from the "men's club" of war corresponding to focus on reporting the truth, proving that they actually DID belong there. Put YOU DON'T BELONG HERE on your reading list!"—Joseph L. Galloway, co-author of We Were Soldiers Once
- “Riveting, powerful and transformative, Elizabeth Becker’s You Don’t Belong Here tells the stories of three astonishing women. This is a timely and brilliant work from one of our most extraordinary war correspondents.”—Madeleine Thien, author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing
- “Elizabeth Becker’s luminous book not only belongs, it demands at last that these daring, resourceful, and pathbreaking women take their rightful place in the history of the Indochina wars and journalists who covered them.”—David Maraniss, author of They Marched into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967
- “When these three women were born, 'lady journalists' wore flowery dresses and white gloves, and wrote about fashion and housekeeping. Today, because of the tenacity and bravery of women like Leroy, Fitzgerald and Webb, women report from the frontlines of the bloodiest conflicts … and they aren’t wearing white gloves."—Tony Clifton, veteran Australian journalist
“ A riveting read with much to say about the nature of war and the different ways men and women correspondents cover it. Frank, fast-paced, often enraging, “You Don’t Belong Here” speaks to the distance traveled and the journey still ahead.”
—Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize winning author of MARCH, former Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent
- “Becker, who also reported from Cambodia in the 1970s, fluidly sketches the history and politics of the Vietnam War and captures her subjects in all their complexity. Readers interested in women’s history and foreign affairs won’t be able to put this fascinating chronicle down.”—Publisher's Weekly
“An incisive history of the Vietnam War via the groundbreaking accomplishments of three remarkable women journalists…. A deft, richly illuminating perspective on the Vietnam War.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
- “An absorbing narrative… Included are gripping stories of Webb's and Becker's coverage of Cambodia's bloody killing fields, and Webb's three-week imprisonment by the North Vietnamese… Readers interested in the Vietnam War and in women's history will be engaged.”—Library Journal (starred review)
- “Becker blends [the journalists’] individual stories with wider history, setting the unfolding tragedy in Vietnam in the background as her protagonists develop doubts about the logic and legitimacy of the war. She provides vivid accounts of their journalistic exploits and tales of how they suffered in their work—their injuries, traumas, excessive drinking, and complicated affairs.”—Foreign Affairs
- On Sale
- Feb 23, 2021
- Page Count
- 320 pages