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Going With the Boys

Judith Mackrell

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In Going with the Boys, Judith Mackrell tells the story of how six bold and resolute women became front-line war correspondents during the Second World War.

Each of them had different motives for choosing so dangerous a career: Martha Gellhorn came to war journalism to save the world; Virginia Cowles wanted to see the world; Lee Miller wanted, arguably, to save herself. Sigrid Schulz, Clare Hollingworth and Helen Kirkpatrick, reporting for daily newspapers, were required to write about the war in a more briskly factual style. But they were no less determined to uncover the truth.

Barred from official briefings, forced to dodge around the Public Relations Officers who controlled the media’s movements, all six set up their own informal contacts with soldiers, found pockets of war action and snapshots of human interest which gave a different colour and often a different heartbeat to their stories.

Drawing on their own writings as well as on contemporary memoirs, Judith Mackrell reveals what drew these women towards war and seamlessly weaves their stories into the larger narrative of the war, with all its horrors, horrors that would haunt them until the end of their lives.

And although the history of the Second World War is still, even in the twenty-first century, being written in a dominantly masculine voice, these six extraordinary women rank high among the roll call of correspondents who wrote that history as it was being made, and changed the face of war reporting for ever.