You Don’t Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War

PublicAffairs: Perseus. Feb. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781541768208. $28. BIOG
Battlefield journalism during the Vietnam War was a man’s world, until the four remarkable women depicted here changed the rules. Becker (When the War Was Over) offers an absorbing narrative of French photographer Catherine Leroy, American author Francis Fitzgerald, Australian reporter Kate Webb, and Becker, herself, an American correspondent. These pioneers filed their assignments so skillfully that they become celebrities among their readers and their all-too-often sexually harassing peers. 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. The four women shared the common goal of telling the full story of U.S. policy and strategy that led to millions of deaths, destroyed once great cities, and defoliated the countryside. The three women whom Becker concentrates on were honored both during and after the war: Leroy became a national heroine, Fitzgerald wrote the Pulitzer Prize–winning Fire In The Lake, and Webb became the first woman to head a news bureau in a war zone.
VERDICT Readers interested in the Vietnam War and in women’s history will be engaged. See Joyce Hoffmann’s On Their Own: Women Journalists and the American Experience in Vietnam, a compilation of first-person accounts, for additional insight into Vietnam War–era women journalists.
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