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Monday, April 2, 2012

Where the Action Was: Women War Correspondents in World War II by Penny Colman

A well-written different view on the story of World War II

Published in 2002 by Crown Publishers (Random House)

This book is aimed at students from grades 5-12, although I found it interesting and learned a lot.

World War II histories abound. Histories of the complete war, various theaters, biographies of units and single officers fill the bookshelves. I have seen books that look at the role of women in the war - the home front, as pilots, intelligence officers and so on. But, I have never seen anything about female war correspondents. I did not even know that there were female war correspondents - I simply assumed that the sexist attitudes of the day would have not allowed them to work.

Happily, I have been enlightened by Penny Colman. She tells the story of the war through the eyes of several female war correspondents - sometimes through direct quotes, sometimes through reproductions of the headlines of their articles that are placed throughout like in a scrapbook. The history of the war and the story of these war correspondents was woven together seamlessly and very well done. The pictures are either pictures of the women correspondents or pictures taken by them (or both).

Female correspondents were everywhere - at the taking of the Sudetenland by German, scooped the rest of the world on the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939, among the refugees fleeing Paris, in Moscow when Germany attacked the USSR, in Europe, on Iwo Jima, there when concentration camps were liberated, in Italy and on and on and on.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on April 2, 2012.

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