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The Women Who Wrote the War Paperback – Nov 2000

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (Nov. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060958391
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060958398
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,355,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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The oldest child of an English-born Methodist clergyman, Dorothy Thompson grew up in small towns in wester New York. Read the first page
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Joe HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 Dec. 2002
Format: Paperback
Waging slaughters has traditionally been considered Guy Stuff. So, too, the reporting of them. THE WOMEN WHO WROTE THE WAR, by Nancy Sorel, is the story of the female war correspondents who, working for various U.S. newspapers and wire services, shoved their way to the battlefronts of World War II, making that conflict, especially in its latter stages, the first to be equally reported by both sexes.
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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 0 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
a wonderful, surprising uplifting book 24 Dec. 1999
By Al Krieger - Published on
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
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A thoroughly enjoyable and informative read 26 Oct. 1999
By K. Percy - Published on
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Rich exploration of a fascinating topic 25 Mar. 2007
By Arthur Tirrell - Published on
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
What a wonderful book!!!!!! 1 Oct. 1999
By A Customer - Published on
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Recommended By Dan Rather; Nevertheless, A Masterpiece 23 May 2011
By Don Reed - Published on
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.)

Of all of the journalists whose stories Ms. Sorel tells with such facility, my favorite is the intrepid & charismatic Helen Kirkpatrick (the photo of Helen with King George VI & Queen Elizabeth on p. 173 of the paperback edition is a classic. Rarely have three more likeable & yet uncompromising, non-pandering people been in front of an appreciative camera).

But they are all fascinating -

Marjorie Avery, Iris Carpenter, Lee Carson, Virginia Cowles, Catherine Coyne, Marguerite Higgins, Virginia Irwin, Pat Lochridge, Tania Long, Shelley Mydans, Eleanor Packard, Sonia Tomara, Lael Tucker, Betty Watson, Mary Welsh, Annalee Whitmore; & the utterly fearless Sigrid Schultz & the amazing Lee Miller - all of whom would have either been forgotten or never known at all to those of us, generations later, had not Ms. Sorel persevered.

"The Women" cannot be recommended highly enough. My greatest appreciation is for the author's writing (reading this must have been similar to what New Yorker editor Harold Ross had experienced during World War II, when A.J. Liebling's articles started rolling in).

Rarely have acknowledgements been more deserving than those expressed by Sorel in her salute to her editors, Richard & Jeannette Seaver, then & possibly still today of Harper Collins Publishers (if so, I regret that they did not co-edit HC's recent shipwreck, "Dancing to The Precipice," the biography of Lucie de la Tour du Pin [1770-1853]. These stories interweave; Pin's biographer Caroline Moorehead is also the author of a biography of Martha Gellhorn, a journalist extensively portrayed in "The Women.").

"TW" even survived the doubtlessly useless suggestions of Dan Okrent (author of the pricey & badly written "Great Fortune"), to whom a manuscript was provided prior to publication (this midnight reprieve reminds me of the pleasant fate of a wonderful film, "Let It Ride," which triumphed in spite of the inexplicable casting of Terri Garr. That's when you know that you're witnessing the ongoing charmed life of a blessed event).

Read this, then read "The Murrow Boys" (1996) by Stanley Cloud & Lynn Olson; & finally, get hold of "Empire Balcony" (1942) by Eleanor & Reynolds Packard - a trio of essential WWII histories that also are the rarest of books, of any category:

Authored by indefatigable & creative writers (in this case, journalists), & edited by dedicated professionals who knew what the hell they are doing.

Post Note (03/25/15): Included as a comment (posted below) is the obituary of Helen Kirkpatrick, added this date.
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