The untold history of a group of women reporters who revolutionized the narrative of World War II—from Martha Gellhorn, the wife of Ernest Hemingway, to Lee Miller, a Vogue cover model turned war correspondent.
... gripping ... a well-crafted true story ... It is no easy feat to weave six lives into a narrative that compels the reader all the way through, but like a big-canvas painting that brings together personal dramas and machinations of state, The Correspondents is full of intriguing detail. Structurally, it covers the revolving cast with near-equal focus, with Virginia Cowles’s story serving as a connecting thread. Though the book is occasionally head-spinning in its various layers, with each reporter’s timeline tracking against global events, Mackrell is concise with context, sticking to major tactical moves and the waves of optimism and pessimism that animated the Allies ... the abiding value of The Correspondents is in its gathering of six experiences that shows their commonalities and divergences. Through this framing, a picture of a shared endeavor comes into focus, while individual contributions and preoccupations are less prone to exaggeration or psychoanalysis. This is especially fitting given that these particular subjects did not tend to write in the first person: as professional witnesses, they saw others, not themselves, as the true protagonists.
A powerful narrative ... The focus on the human element, from refugees to soldiers to concentration camp survivors, lends their writing a raw and intimate power. Their stories are never simple lists of battle statistics, but journalism at its finest in its mission to take chaotic data and shape it into a coherent narrative ... [A] thoroughly researched book ... Mackrell makes each of these women a vivid character ... This is an important book.
Just as women are so often written out of war, so it seems are the female correspondents. Mackrell corrects this omission admirably with stories of six of the best ... It’s not just foreign correspondents like me who owe these amazing women a debt. Mackrell has done us all a great service by assembling their own fascinating stories. At first I wished she had included more of their work, but perhaps they are better served by leaving us wanting to go off and read firsthand how women see war.