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The long-buried story of three extraordinary female journalists who permanently shattered the barriers to women covering war.   Kate Webb, an Australian iconoclast, Catherine Leroy, a French daredevil photographer, and Frances FitzGerald, a blue-blood American intellectual, arrived in Vietnam with starkly different life experiences but one shared purpose: to report on the The long-buried story of three extraordinary female journalists who permanently shattered the barriers to women covering war.   Kate Webb, an Australian iconoclast, Catherine Leroy, a French daredevil photographer, and Frances FitzGerald, a blue-blood American intellectual, arrived in Vietnam with starkly different life experiences but one shared purpose: to report on the most consequential story of the decade. At a time when women were considered unfit to be foreign reporters, Frankie, Catherine, and Kate   challenged the rules imposed on them by the military, ignored the belittlement of their male peers, and ultimately altered the craft of war reportage for generations.   In You Don’t Belong Here, Elizabeth Becker uses these women’s work and lives to illuminate the Vietnam War from the 1965 American buildup, the expansion into Cambodia, and the American defeat and its aftermath. Arriving herself in the last years of the war, Becker writes as a historian and a witness of the times.   What emerges is an unforgettable story of three journalists forging their place in a land of men, often at great personal sacrifice. Deeply reported and filled with personal letters, interviews, and profound insight, You Don’t Belong Here fills a void in the history of women and of war.


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The long-buried story of three extraordinary female journalists who permanently shattered the barriers to women covering war.   Kate Webb, an Australian iconoclast, Catherine Leroy, a French daredevil photographer, and Frances FitzGerald, a blue-blood American intellectual, arrived in Vietnam with starkly different life experiences but one shared purpose: to report on the The long-buried story of three extraordinary female journalists who permanently shattered the barriers to women covering war.   Kate Webb, an Australian iconoclast, Catherine Leroy, a French daredevil photographer, and Frances FitzGerald, a blue-blood American intellectual, arrived in Vietnam with starkly different life experiences but one shared purpose: to report on the most consequential story of the decade. At a time when women were considered unfit to be foreign reporters, Frankie, Catherine, and Kate   challenged the rules imposed on them by the military, ignored the belittlement of their male peers, and ultimately altered the craft of war reportage for generations.   In You Don’t Belong Here, Elizabeth Becker uses these women’s work and lives to illuminate the Vietnam War from the 1965 American buildup, the expansion into Cambodia, and the American defeat and its aftermath. Arriving herself in the last years of the war, Becker writes as a historian and a witness of the times.   What emerges is an unforgettable story of three journalists forging their place in a land of men, often at great personal sacrifice. Deeply reported and filled with personal letters, interviews, and profound insight, You Don’t Belong Here fills a void in the history of women and of war.

30 review for You Don't Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War

  1. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    This book reads like a history of the Vietnam War, something I knew little about and had no interest in learning anything more. But the story of these three amazing women was well worth reading the book. Two journalist and one photographer – Kate Webb (New Zealand born Australian/Journalist) – Frances FitzGerald (American/Journalist) and Catherine Leroy (French/Photojournalist) all of whom ended up winning many prestigious awards for their ground breaking work in the field where women before had This book reads like a history of the Vietnam War, something I knew little about and had no interest in learning anything more. But the story of these three amazing women was well worth reading the book. Two journalist and one photographer – Kate Webb (New Zealand born Australian/Journalist) – Frances FitzGerald (American/Journalist) and Catherine Leroy (French/Photojournalist) all of whom ended up winning many prestigious awards for their ground breaking work in the field where women before had never been accepted or welcome. Three women from very different backgrounds and countries chose to put themselves in harm’s way to tell the story of an unpopular war. No one forced them, no one told them they HAD to do this, the very fact that they chose this way of life is enough for me to shout out a thousand KUDOS to them. They led the way for all females who would come later and make the same choice of career to benefit from the struggles these women had endured and, for the most part, won.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cait McKay

    "My master's adviser at the University of Washington had rejected my thesis on the Bangladesh War of Independence after I refused to sleep with him. He said the one was not related to the other but would welcome having an affair if I changed my mind." That infuriating fact  introduces us to Elizabeth Becker. Becker is no stranger to reporting; she has covered revolution, war, and genocide all over the world. She has won many prizes for her work, including (but not limited to the) Pulitzer Prize f "My master's adviser at the University of Washington had rejected my thesis on the Bangladesh War of Independence after I refused to sleep with him. He said the one was not related to the other but would welcome having an affair if I changed my mind." That infuriating fact  introduces us to Elizabeth Becker. Becker is no stranger to reporting; she has covered revolution, war, and genocide all over the world. She has won many prizes for her work, including (but not limited to the) Pulitzer Prize for Public Service shared with her team at the New York Times for 9/11 coverage in 2002. As a young reporter in Cambodia she narrowly escaped assassination after interviewing Pol Pot face-to-face. She's an established expert and author, and now she has taken the time to tell the stories of three women who opened the door for her and many others to follow. Holy Hell, do these women have stories worth telling! Catherine 'Cathy' Leroy, Frances 'Frankie' Fitzgerald, and Kate Webb all marched themselves to the frontlines of Vietnam and Cambodia despite their countries, their male coworkers, and the world at large doing everything in their power to hold them back. What starts as an introduction to the women reporters who charged the front lines becomes a larger lesson in military history, the long-lasting detrimental effects of colonization, the dangers of imperialism, and the blatant sexism and misogyny that women in war- no matter the role- faced and still face today. Becker deftly weaves her story throughout those of Leroy, FitzGerald and Webb. She has incredible knowledge of the conflicts in Vietnam and Cambodia, as well as firsthand experience reporting in the area. She also has access to the notes, letters, and private journals of her subjects. She uses these snippets to create a heartbreaking, maddening, thrilling and frequently disgusting portrait of these women and the conflicts at large. She works hard to undo the old romantic tropes of war reporting. Becker describes awestruck new journalists entranced by the colonial cities in the war-torn jungle.  She puts the rosy glow of film and fiction on trial. "Filmmakers and novelists build war stories around passionate love affairs to provide an intimate narrative to the chaos of the battlefield and as a relief from the body count. Buddy movies do the same thing. At no other time are the senses so alive, the chance of survival so low, and a night of companionship so electrifying. A few intense months are as full as a lifetime. A night of tenderness can offer deeper relief from the sights and sounds of death than a night of drinking." What she does, most importantly, is give Leroy, FitzGerald, and Webb the stage. Three remarkably different women with three unique perspectives talked their way past borders and into the heart of the conflict. These borders are far from just geographical; they had to push past family expectations, long-held sexist traditions, double-standards, and heavily armed soldiers on all sides. They faced a barrage of attacks: attacks against their character, attacks against their ability, attacks against their subjects, and attacks against their own bodies as they joined the frontlines and escaped capture. I am struggling with the prospect of giving away too much; my notes overflowed from this book- there is something shocking, hilarious, and/or worth sharing in general on every page. Webb's account of watching napalm rain from the sky is terrifying on multiple levels: "They are running, laughing at that pretty napalm." Webb said with alarm. The two of them chased the children, racing to stop them. Frosch didn't want to frighten them so he laughed when tackling them to the ground, turning the rescue into a game of rice-paddy rugby. Webb did the same and the children returned to their buffalo, Webb shaking her head at "the terrible innocence of those children running towards the napalm, laughing with joy at the pretty colors." Leroy's kinship with "her Marines" bleeds through every photo she took: "The Hill 881 photographs demonstrated Leroy's very personal approach to photography and her attachment and identification with her subjects. "The Gls were like my brothers. We were the same age, and I loved them. Besides, I cannot photograph anybody for whom I don't have any feelings. I would rather stay at home, smoke a cigarette, and drink a good glass of wine." FitzGerald is cool, calm, and plucky while running for her life: "We hurtle along," she wrote. "It's safer to drive fast as the mines tend to blow up behind you and cause the snipers to miss." While they shared similar experiences in the war, the three women featured here all came from very different worlds. They returned to very different lives. They were not part of an inherent and special sisterhood- in fact, they bristled against the Women's Liberation movement- they were unwilling to be lumped together into any cause based on their gender alone. They all shared the  untreated effects of trauma. They treated themselves in the best ways they could: digging deeper into their work, finding company amongst broken soldiers returned to countries that discredited and tossed them away, and drinking. Lots of drinking. The horrors of war remain, but so do the battles to be respected and relevant. As recently as 2017 these women and their contributions were still being swept aside: "When the 2017 multipart PBS documentary on the Vietnam War by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick offered what it called a full reading list to accompany the series, the fifty-eight history books did not include Fire in the Lake, the most honored book on the war. Fredrik Logevall, the respected historian of Vietnam, warned that while parts of the book did prove problematic with later research, he feared that some of the criticism was tinged with envy. He said: "Whatever we want to call it-a first-cut history-this book stands up very well even though she didn't have access to archives. I would put it on a short shelf of really important books on the war. It's of enduring importance." But then, Kate Webb's On the Other Side: 23 Days with the Viet Cong was not on the Ken Burns list of recommended Vietnam books nor was Catherine Leroy's Under Fire: Great Photographers and Writers in Vietnam. In fact, the Burns list did not include a single published work by any of the female journalists who covered the war." Becker is fighting the good fight for the women who came before her and for her own work as well. She is filled with righteous fury. You will catch her fire while reading this ferocious testament to the women who rewrote war. I received this ARC from PublicAffairs via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review

  3. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Am a tough grader. Melville’s “Moby-Dick” gets five stars. This is not “Moby-Dick”. And, it is not “Miss Congeniality”. It was earned. This compact book finally identifies and gives credit to the women (a.k.a. “girls” and/or numerous demeaning monikers at the time) who fought to write and capture images side-by-side with the troops on battlefields. Those spotlighted and others not named made a difference not only in combat journalism but giving a more nuanced angle of the U.S.’s Southeast Asia f Am a tough grader. Melville’s “Moby-Dick” gets five stars. This is not “Moby-Dick”. And, it is not “Miss Congeniality”. It was earned. This compact book finally identifies and gives credit to the women (a.k.a. “girls” and/or numerous demeaning monikers at the time) who fought to write and capture images side-by-side with the troops on battlefields. Those spotlighted and others not named made a difference not only in combat journalism but giving a more nuanced angle of the U.S.’s Southeast Asia fiasco. “You Don’t Belong Here” is profiles, history, sociology, politics, military tactics, horrors of war in just the right blend. Becker’s pacing is impeccable. (And, it only took until 2021 to see the light of day. Oh, how much we failed to learn in the interim.)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Eric J. Lyman

    Excellent. The fact that the three main subjects of the book were women at a time when female war correspondents were almost unheard of is what makes their story newsworthy. But the lessons the stories illustrate about integrity, ingenuity, and creativity are universal. I'd recommend this book for any journalist or aspiring journalist, as well as for anyone who wants to better understand what makes some journalism stand out above the rest. Excellent. The fact that the three main subjects of the book were women at a time when female war correspondents were almost unheard of is what makes their story newsworthy. But the lessons the stories illustrate about integrity, ingenuity, and creativity are universal. I'd recommend this book for any journalist or aspiring journalist, as well as for anyone who wants to better understand what makes some journalism stand out above the rest.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Bryant

    An absolutely brilliant book headlining three women who impacted the role of a female journalist in wartime, forever changing long held perceptions and prejudices, written by someone who also deserves a place in that history. (Fortunately Becker includes some of her personal experiences toward the final chapters) This book should be required reading for everyone, anywhere. It will inspire any female wishing to be a journalist and rightfully so.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Julie Tulba

    For anyone with even the remotest of interest in women's history, I highly recommend reading this book. It was such an eye-opening read concerning the Vietnam War but more importantly, it was eye-opening to learn about these three incredible women who for the most part are unknown in modern history (and this is quite the disservice to their amazing work and legacies). For anyone with even the remotest of interest in women's history, I highly recommend reading this book. It was such an eye-opening read concerning the Vietnam War but more importantly, it was eye-opening to learn about these three incredible women who for the most part are unknown in modern history (and this is quite the disservice to their amazing work and legacies).

  7. 5 out of 5

    victor harris

    No hedging, unequivocal 5 rating. Very powerful and poignant coverage of the women who covered various conflicts with the emphasis on their work in the Vietnam War and Cambodian calamity that led to the horrors of Khmer Rouge atrocities. Like so many victims in those wars, the journalists would pay a painful cost for the commitment to their craft.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Maloney

    Reading this story of trailblazing women who worked as reporters and a photographer in Vietnam and Cambodia during the wars took me back to the 1960s and 1970s when Vietnam cast an enormous shadow over a whole generation, and the women’s liberation movement rocked the country. I met four women that I knew nothing about and who contributed so much to how we saw the war and how we see wars now. The women were remarkable, and the author wove their stories into the history of the turmoil and conflic Reading this story of trailblazing women who worked as reporters and a photographer in Vietnam and Cambodia during the wars took me back to the 1960s and 1970s when Vietnam cast an enormous shadow over a whole generation, and the women’s liberation movement rocked the country. I met four women that I knew nothing about and who contributed so much to how we saw the war and how we see wars now. The women were remarkable, and the author wove their stories into the history of the turmoil and conflict of the era that makes their contributions even more significant.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    I am so glad I read this book. It is such a powerful story about the American Vietnam war, politics, arrogance, women's struggles with sexism in the 60's & 70's, and 3 young women who had a huge impact on the world, fighting through adversity. I also admire the author's courage, and dedication to the truth, and now have a hold on her book about Cambodia. I highly recommend this book. These women are amazing. I am so glad I read this book. It is such a powerful story about the American Vietnam war, politics, arrogance, women's struggles with sexism in the 60's & 70's, and 3 young women who had a huge impact on the world, fighting through adversity. I also admire the author's courage, and dedication to the truth, and now have a hold on her book about Cambodia. I highly recommend this book. These women are amazing.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Landers

    What a great book! This book was fascinating to me and it might not have been one that I normally picked out, but I'm so glad that I did. The three women featured and highlighted are phenomenal and not only was it great learning about female war correspondents but it was also really helpful in learning more about the Vietnam War. Would definitely recommend this book -- both my dad and I really enjoyed it! What a great book! This book was fascinating to me and it might not have been one that I normally picked out, but I'm so glad that I did. The three women featured and highlighted are phenomenal and not only was it great learning about female war correspondents but it was also really helpful in learning more about the Vietnam War. Would definitely recommend this book -- both my dad and I really enjoyed it!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Robin Kirk

    Essential history not only on the Vietnam War, but on the role of correspondents who were women. Great read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Silvio111

    A truly inspiring account of these three female journalists and also a very clear explication of the issues underlying both the Viet Nam conflict and the Cambodian situation; the latter kept a very low profile in the U.S. press at the time and only came to light later. Unputdownable; I devoured this book over one weekend.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    An excellent and very accessible book about 3 female journalists who made their names and changed the way that journalism is done during the Vietnam War. Their stories are truly remarkable, but on top of that, I finally felt like I started to have a beginning understanding of the Vietnam War. I look forward to reading Frances Fitzgerald's "Fire in the Lake" and Elizabeth Becker's book about the war in Cambodia. An excellent and very accessible book about 3 female journalists who made their names and changed the way that journalism is done during the Vietnam War. Their stories are truly remarkable, but on top of that, I finally felt like I started to have a beginning understanding of the Vietnam War. I look forward to reading Frances Fitzgerald's "Fire in the Lake" and Elizabeth Becker's book about the war in Cambodia.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Viola

    “ You Don’t Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War” by Elizabeth Becker Book Review by Jacqueline Winspear - Washington Post. March 13, 2021. Elizabeth Becker had a “nightmare” of a reason to relinquish her graduate studies — a professor who “kneecapped” her future when she wouldn’t sleep with him. She filed a complaint and bought a one-way ticket to Cambodia. It was 1973, and 25-year-old Becker was off to be a war correspondent. That angry grad student went on to become a highly re “ You Don’t Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War” by Elizabeth Becker Book Review by Jacqueline Winspear - Washington Post. March 13, 2021. Elizabeth Becker had a “nightmare” of a reason to relinquish her graduate studies — a professor who “kneecapped” her future when she wouldn’t sleep with him. She filed a complaint and bought a one-way ticket to Cambodia. It was 1973, and 25-year-old Becker was off to be a war correspondent. That angry grad student went on to become a highly respected journalist with an array of awards to her name. In 2015, based on her reporting from Cambodia for The Washington Post and her subsequent book, “When the War Was Over,” Becker was called as an expert witness at the Khmer Rouge genocide tribunal in Phnom Penh. It was during those hearings that Becker realized, “No one knew what it had meant to be a woman covering the Vietnam War.” Now, with her new book, “You Don’t Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War,” Becker not only shines a light on the contributions of those correspondents — along with the risks they took to show and tell the raw truths of the war as they saw it — but provides a valuable depth of cultural and historical insight into the conflict. Becker met Australian journalist Kate Webb during a layover in Hong Kong on that fateful journey to Cambodia. Webb was already a reporting legend, owing both to her work and to her kidnapping by the North Vietnamese. She, too, had left home clutching a one-way ticket to war. Twenty-six-year-old American Frances “Frankie” FitzGerald had done the same in 1966, as had French photojournalist Catherine Leroy, who was 21 when she landed in Vietnam with her Leica M2 camera. Arriving in a war zone, not one of those women imagined the impact their work would have — and not just because of their gender in what was considered a man’s world. Image without a caption (PublicAffairs) FitzGerald was the daughter of Desmond FitzGerald, who became deputy director of the CIA, and Marietta Peabody, a socialite who represented the United States on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights during the Kennedy administration. Following the couple’s divorce, Peabody had affairs with John Huston and Adlai Stevenson. Though Frankie FitzGerald was well connected, it was a thorn in her side that other correspondents assumed those connections helped her up the ladder to publication. She landed hard in Saigon. She had been writing “personality pieces” — the usual fare assigned to women in the newspaper business — when she left for Southeast Asia. Becker writes, “Vietnam hit FitzGerald like a thunderbolt,” adding that on the way from the airport, she “inhaled dust and fumes from decrepit buses and military jeeps and was jarred by the sight of the once beautiful city — the Paris of the East — defiled by the demands of war.” In one harrowing scene, Becker describes FitzGerald, along with other guests at the 35th birthday party of Daniel Ellsberg, then a Pentagon aide serving as an intelligence officer, jumping into Ellsberg’s jeep and heading off to witness a protest erupting in Saigon’s Chinese quarter. With cars overturned and dissent violent, it didn’t take long for the group to realize their error. According to Becker, Ellsberg thought, “We’ve had it” and was relieved that FitzGerald seemed so calm. In fact, a “white-knuckle fear burned underneath a stoic exterior.” FitzGerald was serious about reporting the “truth of war” without necessarily supporting the American position. She wrote her first article on spec for the Village Voice, positioning herself as “someone who asked different questions and admitted when she didn’t have the answers.” That mind-set underpinned her work, and Becker describes a maturing war correspondent, one not afraid to dig deep. FitzGerald’s final report before leaving Vietnam was titled “Behind the Facade: The Tragedy of Saigon” — it predicted the outcome of America’s failure. FitzGerald’s relationship with veteran reporter Ward Just meant she avoided the sexual advances and innuendo that trailed Leroy. The diminutive photographer — she was five feet tall and weighed 87 pounds — brought certain advantages to her work. She was an experienced parachutist, and given her stature, she could weave her way into places others couldn’t. And she was brave beyond measure. It was a series of photographs taken in the midst of combat that sealed her reputation. Becker writes that “intimate portraits during battle became Leroy’s hallmark” and describes the way Leroy would crawl in the mud alongside the soldiers, focusing on their eyes and changes in expression. In Khe Sanh to report on the Hill Fights, she was following the company when the Vietnamese opened fire at the summit. A 20-year-old medic, Vernon Wike, ran toward a fallen Marine, took off his helmet and leaned forward, listening for a heartbeat. The look of anguish on his face is searing — and Leroy kept clicking as Wike came to his feet and charged the bunker, the dead man’s M16 in his hands. Becker’s nuanced storytelling follows Leroy’s career with respectful sensitivity, not drawing back from recounting the personal trauma that began to get the better of her. She quotes Leroy: “Those images rest inside of you with the violence, madness and fear and agony.” By the time Webb arrived in Vietnam, violent images were already resting inside her — a friend’s suicide by gunshot, for which Webb was accused of murder because she provided the weapon, and the death of her parents in a car accident when she was 18. According to Becker, Webb developed “a loner’s mystique within the press corps.” Given Becker’s descriptions of the way female war correspondents were often undermined as conflict groupies or incompetent hangers-on, it was probably a wise move, especially since her work was gaining the kind of attention that male correspondents considered their exclusive domain. Webb spent time immersing herself in the local culture to go beyond “that impersonal language of an Army war report.” Becker’s account of the circumstances surrounding Webb’s kidnapping and eventual release reads like a thriller — the sick and skeletal reporter emerging from the jungle only to become the story. There is a fourth woman who rewrote the story of war, and that is of course Elizabeth Becker, who with a depth of research and an abundance of grace gives fresh insight into the background and achievements of three extraordinary war correspondents — and the price they paid for the intensity of their work. Yet there is a certain undercurrent, another crucial layer emerging as the narrative progresses, and that is the parallel story of American political naivete in committing a military with a World War II mind-set to a war against a people whose history and culture — and ways of fighting — they made little attempt to comprehend. Webb, FitzGerald, Leroy — and Becker — quickly shed any naivete they themselves may have had as they reported on the war and chronicled the desperate human cost of American hubris. In recent years a number of memoirs and biographies have been published focusing on female war correspondents (I’ve probably read every one). Hollywood has taken notice too, with the critically acclaimed “A Private War,” about the life of Marie Colvin, who was killed in Syria in 2012, and a film reported to be in the works with Carey Mulligan as Webb. It’s a compelling narrative: Young woman dons khaki and takes notebook into the terror of war. But perhaps what attracts us is a more fundamental passage, one that mythologist Joseph Campbell would recognize — except it’s a woman who heeds the call to adventure, who meets challenges and temptations along the way, and who is transformed by the experience. If that is so, then Becker has written “The Heroine’s Journey” about three very different women who answered the archetypal call to adventure — and found themselves immersed in the chaos that was the Vietnam War. “You Don’t Belong Here” is deserving of a wide readership. My guess is that every young woman filled with journalistic ambition will have a copy in her backpack, perhaps as she ventures into a war zone with her laptop, her satellite phone and a sustaining dose of idealism. Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outloo...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Janilyn Kocher

    A revealing look at three intrepid female journalists who were right in the thick of the action during the Vietnam War. Frances (Frankie), Kate, and Catherine broke molds and defied decades of denying female reporters access to war. Becker details each woman's background, the parts of the war they covered, and the aftermath. The one item that jumped out at me was that although each had written excellent books on the subject, the Ken Burn's documentary on the Vietnam War didn't list any of them o A revealing look at three intrepid female journalists who were right in the thick of the action during the Vietnam War. Frances (Frankie), Kate, and Catherine broke molds and defied decades of denying female reporters access to war. Becker details each woman's background, the parts of the war they covered, and the aftermath. The one item that jumped out at me was that although each had written excellent books on the subject, the Ken Burn's documentary on the Vietnam War didn't list any of them on the suggested accompanying book list. Anyone interested in reading about the war from a different perspective, from the lens of these determined journalists, needs to read this book. Thanks to NetGalley and Public Affairs for the early copy.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    Can women be war correspondents....??? ABSOLUTELY and with honors. This is a long overdue look at what women can do when given (or when TAKING) the opportunity. Ms. Leroy, FitzGerald and Webb were visionaries who knew they had something different to report regarding America's involvement in the Vietnam war. They fought for their stories and changed the way "we" saw this war. Their fortitude, insistence and excellent reporting showed that they DID belong there no matter what the male reporters th Can women be war correspondents....??? ABSOLUTELY and with honors. This is a long overdue look at what women can do when given (or when TAKING) the opportunity. Ms. Leroy, FitzGerald and Webb were visionaries who knew they had something different to report regarding America's involvement in the Vietnam war. They fought for their stories and changed the way "we" saw this war. Their fortitude, insistence and excellent reporting showed that they DID belong there no matter what the male reporters thought. These women paved the way for countless other female journalists and photographers. An enlightening and important read; Elizabeth Becker's writing does these women proud . Highly recommended.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jan P

    It is heart wrenching on so many levels. "The long buried story of 3 extraordinary female journalists (Kate Webb, Frances Fitzgerald and Catherine Leroy) who permanently shattered the barriers to women covering war (Vietnam)." It is an unbiased account of what these women saw and reported on, the sexism they faced, the physical and emotional wounds they carried with them forever, the love of the country and its people, and the esteem in which they held the soldiers whom they covered on the front It is heart wrenching on so many levels. "The long buried story of 3 extraordinary female journalists (Kate Webb, Frances Fitzgerald and Catherine Leroy) who permanently shattered the barriers to women covering war (Vietnam)." It is an unbiased account of what these women saw and reported on, the sexism they faced, the physical and emotional wounds they carried with them forever, the love of the country and its people, and the esteem in which they held the soldiers whom they covered on the front lines. I am forever changed by reading this book and will continue to process it for quite some time.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sara Broad

    "You Don't Belong Here" by Elizabeth Becker is the true chronicles of several female photographers during the Vietnam War. I found this book really fascinating. It brings you straight into mid-century Southeast Asia through the descriptions about what these photographers went through and how they lived in order to capture the moments that earned them notoriety and brought to the world's attention the horrors of the Vietnam War. It also delves into American history, politics, and culture. Without "You Don't Belong Here" by Elizabeth Becker is the true chronicles of several female photographers during the Vietnam War. I found this book really fascinating. It brings you straight into mid-century Southeast Asia through the descriptions about what these photographers went through and how they lived in order to capture the moments that earned them notoriety and brought to the world's attention the horrors of the Vietnam War. It also delves into American history, politics, and culture. Without this book, I never would have known that these photographers and their stories existed. I really recommend this book!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Matt Schiavenza

    The story of the Vietnam War has largely been synonymous with the story of men — the men who led it, the men who fought it, and then men who wrote about it. Among the latter group, Vietnam made the careers of a number of journalists, like David Halberstam, Neil Sheehan, and Michael Herr. Less well known were the small, but formidable, number of women journalists who covered the war. But their achievements were no less impressive; and in many cases, they saw a side to the conflict that their male The story of the Vietnam War has largely been synonymous with the story of men — the men who led it, the men who fought it, and then men who wrote about it. Among the latter group, Vietnam made the careers of a number of journalists, like David Halberstam, Neil Sheehan, and Michael Herr. Less well known were the small, but formidable, number of women journalists who covered the war. But their achievements were no less impressive; and in many cases, they saw a side to the conflict that their male counterparts missed. You Don't Belong Here is the story of three of these women. Catherine Leroy, a diminutive, fiery French photographer; Francine Fitzgerald, an American writer from a prominent family who wrote about the lives of the Vietnamese; and Kate Webb, an Australian reporter who covered Vietnam amid enormous tragedy in her personal life. Through these women's stories, Becker, herself a journalist who covered Vietnam and, with distinction, the subsequent tragedy in Cambodia, tells the familiar story of America's failure — but adds a number of details that male-penned accounts would have overlooked. Leroy, Fitzgerald, and Webb overcame rules forbidding their participation in the war, rampant sexual harassment, and a journalistic culture that doubted their ability to write or photograph the conflict with requisite skill. Becker weaves together the three women's personal stories with the story of the war itself, a colossal, infuriating tragedy, perpetuated by lies and corruption and ignorance. Today, this view of the war has a more or less elite consensus. But at the time, swept up in the promises of generals and presidents, fewer journalists were aware of what Leroy, Fitzgerald, and Webb understood from immersing themselves in the country they covered. If only we'd listened.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    You Don't Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War is written by journalist Elizabeth Becker about three of her groundbreaking colleagues in country during the Vietnam War: Catherine Leroy, Frankie FitzGerald, and Kate Webb. Kate Webb searched to find relevant wire copy for a Sydney newspaper and ultimately decided write from the war torn country. Catherine Leroy, a French photographer, used her skills as a licensed skydiver as an "in" with elite American forces. Frances FitzGerald, You Don't Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War is written by journalist Elizabeth Becker about three of her groundbreaking colleagues in country during the Vietnam War: Catherine Leroy, Frankie FitzGerald, and Kate Webb. Kate Webb searched to find relevant wire copy for a Sydney newspaper and ultimately decided write from the war torn country. Catherine Leroy, a French photographer, used her skills as a licensed skydiver as an "in" with elite American forces. Frances FitzGerald, an American intellectual from well placed, high society family with ties to the government, arrived in Vietnam to write freelance stories and other publications. All of these women paid their dues and suffered from resistance at the hands of their male counterparts. Their reporting, both visual and in print, changed the way that war correspondence was handled. The most amazing part of the story was the fact that Kate Webb, Catherine Leroy, and Frankie FitzGerald had mainly been overlooked and forgotten. Author Elizabeth Becker did a good job of highlighting the accomplishments of these women, as well as their struggles. You Don't Belong Here is definitely a book that I would recommend to other readers, especially young women who are searching to find their own place in the world. Kate Webb, Catherine Leroy, and Frankie FitzGerald are inspirations and important figures in the history of modern reporting. Disclaimer: I was given an Advanced Reader's Copy by NetGalley and the publisher, PublicAffairs. The decision to review this nonfiction history book was entirely my own.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Roger Smitter

    Becker takes up a topic that has been overlooked for over 50 years: There were women reporters who worked to find out what was happening in Vietnam war! . Becker takes on this piece of US history to make us wonder (again) why did we send soldiers to a country that was run by a dysfunctional group of (assumed) leaders. Why did thousands of young people on the North and the South territories had to die to own some territory. These themes are found in many books about the Vietnam War. This book how Becker takes up a topic that has been overlooked for over 50 years: There were women reporters who worked to find out what was happening in Vietnam war! . Becker takes on this piece of US history to make us wonder (again) why did we send soldiers to a country that was run by a dysfunctional group of (assumed) leaders. Why did thousands of young people on the North and the South territories had to die to own some territory. These themes are found in many books about the Vietnam War. This book however, raises a very overlooked part of the war. There were women reporters who dug up and insightful and mysterious information. Once the opening two chapters set the story with information about the women reporters, we get a sense of what a change in journalism began for women. The women’s stories and experiences in Vietnam keep the book moving. There’s also some shots on our national leaders during the war. For example, there’s a reference to Watergate. And the book makes it clear that Vietnam was the first war the US ever lost. The core of the book is how the women not only covered a war but opened the doors for many female women who supply the news we have now. It should be in the courses of college journalist libraries and courses.

  22. 4 out of 5

    John

    Three audacious women break through male skepticism and sometime hostility to bring unique insights to Vietnam war news reporting; one a diminutive French photographer, another, a rich well-connected American socialite, and a third, a smoky-voiced, no-nonsense Australian (né New Zealand). The author, as a war correspondent in Cambodia toward the end of the Vietnam War, devotes a portion of a chapter to her own experiences, which no doubt enhanced her ability to relate to the quixotic personality Three audacious women break through male skepticism and sometime hostility to bring unique insights to Vietnam war news reporting; one a diminutive French photographer, another, a rich well-connected American socialite, and a third, a smoky-voiced, no-nonsense Australian (né New Zealand). The author, as a war correspondent in Cambodia toward the end of the Vietnam War, devotes a portion of a chapter to her own experiences, which no doubt enhanced her ability to relate to the quixotic personality natures of the other women and thus enliven the book's text. The three undertook dangerous assignments and dealt with war horrors; they endeavored to cover the overall human toll. The last thing they wanted to do is write from a “woman's viewpoint.” All helped puncture the myth of the American war effort. Daring endeavors and often hardship, heart-wrenching and edgy. One could call this a tri-biography. I love that the writing is journalistic rather than academic.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Trevor Seigler

    Most books about war correspondents emphasize the macho fraternity that has included writers like Ernest Hemingway, Stephen Crane, and Winston Churchill in its ranks. But Elizabeth Becker has written a new book that shows how female journalists, far from being liabilities on the field of battle, helped to bring the truth about the Vietnam War and America’s policies to light. It is a story long overdue, and well-told in Becker’s hands. “You Don’t Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of Most books about war correspondents emphasize the macho fraternity that has included writers like Ernest Hemingway, Stephen Crane, and Winston Churchill in its ranks. But Elizabeth Becker has written a new book that shows how female journalists, far from being liabilities on the field of battle, helped to bring the truth about the Vietnam War and America’s policies to light. It is a story long overdue, and well-told in Becker’s hands. “You Don’t Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War” tells the stories of three women who served in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War and the subsequent American invasion of Cambodia. Becker, a war correspondent herself, profiles French photographer Catherine Leroy, Australian journalist Kate Webb, and American socialite-turned-author Frances “Frankie” FitzGerald as they navigate the male-dominated field of war reporting. Each woman endures not just the trauma of seeing combat unfold around them, with no guarantee of their safety, but also the biases and condescension of their male colleagues. Female journalists, as Becker points out, had to grapple with slights and snubs more than their male counterparts; a man who had a bevy of girlfriends was simply being a man, while a woman who slept with one man or more was considered a “slut.” Women have covered wars before; Martha Gelhorn documented the Allied invasion of Europe while navigating her own complicated marriage to Hemingway, and female reporters had tried to reach access to the battlefields of Korea with limited success. Becker shows how each woman made her own way to the battlefield, often at her own expense. FitzGerald, whose father worked for the CIA, used her Washington connections to get overseas when no news organization would take her seriously as a journalistic hire (despite her academic achievements and high I.Q.). Leroy, viewed as stubborn and abrasive by many of her male counterparts, captured indelible images of the war due to her short stature and focus on the eyes and faces of combatants and civilians. And Webb, seeking to forget the tragedies that had befallen her back home (the suicide of a close friend and the sudden deaths of her parents in a car accident), fell into the hands of the North Vietnamese while in Cambodia and held captive for almost a month in 1971. Each woman dealt with post-traumatic stress brought on by her experiences in the war zone of Southeast Asia. Of the three, the most haunting portrait that emerges is that of Webb, whose life both before her trip to Vietnam and during it encompassed tragedy and misery (she fell in love with an American soldier whose deception about his marital status caused her to regret initially leaving her job). Leroy, a talented photographer, proved to be an agent of her own undoing when she used the occasion of an awards ceremony to burn bridges with her male co-workers, and she also made bad financial deals for her photographs. FitzGerald, prescient about the cost of the war and how unwinnable it was, wrote about the war from the Vietnamese perspective at a time when men were still getting their quotes from American military press briefings, and her book “Fire In the Lake” was the first to examine the conflict in depth. Each woman found a way, despite the odds against them, to bring the truth of the war to their respective publications. In the years to come, the example that each woman set would be followed by subsequent American conflicts like the first Iraq War and the invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11 (the background for Kim Barker’s memoir, which subsequently became the Tina Fey film “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”). Like their male counterparts, female war correspondents would report from the front lines, risking life and limb to bring each war home to the public. More than anything, “You Don’t Belong Here” shows how the three women profiled here were able to break through the glass ceiling of war reporting at a time when female journalists were segregated to “society pages” at major newspapers and magazines. It shows how fearless they could be (Leroy’s trip behind enemy lines in Hue during the Tet Offensive, Webb’s harsh treatment by the North Vietnamese), but also how deeply scarred they were by their experiences. Like the men who fought and covered the war, these women were forever changed by Vietnam. In the first and so far only instance of the American military not censoring war correspondents (as Vietnam was never officially declared a war), Webb, FitzGerald, and Leroy brought the truth of the war’s devastation and cruelty home in a way that many of their male colleagues couldn’t or wouldn’t. It would be fitting if these three names became more well-known thanks to Becker’s book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Saionee

    This astonishing book give us glimpses of the struggles and hard-work of three accomplished, conscientious war correspondents who covered Vietnam War (that i knew very little about). From the very first chapter to the epilogue I was totally glued and floored. The author, a renowned reporter herself , tells us - how Frank Fitzgerald (American journalist), Catherine Leroy (French photo journalist) and Kate Webb (Australian journalist) paved the path for future female war correspondents through thei This astonishing book give us glimpses of the struggles and hard-work of three accomplished, conscientious war correspondents who covered Vietnam War (that i knew very little about). From the very first chapter to the epilogue I was totally glued and floored. The author, a renowned reporter herself , tells us - how Frank Fitzgerald (American journalist), Catherine Leroy (French photo journalist) and Kate Webb (Australian journalist) paved the path for future female war correspondents through their grit, compassion and dedication. They went ahead and won numerous prestigious awards and their historical coverage would be treasured always. I am definitely going to read 'Fire in the Lake' by Fitzgerald and When the War was Over by Elizabeth Becker to know more about the Vietnam and Cambodian wars. A must read!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kappy

    I am not ordinarily a non fiction reader. This book is FAR from dry. The writing style kept me engaged the whole time. Oh my goodness. The writer and the three women she features are ground breaking war journalists. This book puts the human touch on the reporter's and photographer's lives. The passion and grit that all four women is covered in this book. Even though I was a young (and naive) adult at the end of the war, I never understood all the reason for the Viet Nam War or all the rivalries I am not ordinarily a non fiction reader. This book is FAR from dry. The writing style kept me engaged the whole time. Oh my goodness. The writer and the three women she features are ground breaking war journalists. This book puts the human touch on the reporter's and photographer's lives. The passion and grit that all four women is covered in this book. Even though I was a young (and naive) adult at the end of the war, I never understood all the reason for the Viet Nam War or all the rivalries in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. This book brought me new understanding. My quibble is occasionally I lost track of who we were talking about , because of pronouns or sentence structure . Mostly secondary characters. Because I am not well versed in the history, the confusion is failure to understand is mine.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Hagan

    At a time when women were belittled by their male peers and deemed unfit for the role of a war reporter, Leroy, Fitzgerald and Webb were determined to make their mark and left a legacy that has paved the way for generations of journalists to come. Becker uses their work and lives (as well as an insane amount of research) to illuminate the tragedies of the Vietnam War and its wider history. With thanks to Becker’s beautiful and personable writing, I felt like I was sat at a bar with the women hea At a time when women were belittled by their male peers and deemed unfit for the role of a war reporter, Leroy, Fitzgerald and Webb were determined to make their mark and left a legacy that has paved the way for generations of journalists to come. Becker uses their work and lives (as well as an insane amount of research) to illuminate the tragedies of the Vietnam War and its wider history. With thanks to Becker’s beautiful and personable writing, I felt like I was sat at a bar with the women hearing their stories and I cannot put into words how incredible I found reading about their accomplishments and struggles. Becker creates heartbreaking, maddening, thrilling and inspiring portraits and I’m only annoyed my poor knowledge of the war hindered some understanding in parts.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Emma Julian

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A riveting account of three trailblazing journalists - Catherine Leroy, Frances Fitzgerald, and Kate Webb - who were some of the first female journalists to cover the Vietnam War (and wars generally) and who each challenged in her own way the sexist view that women weren’t fit to be war reporters and were better suited to reporting on “women’s issues.” Elizabeth Becker, who is a journalist herself and was on the ground in Cambodia during the rise of the Khmer Rouge, writes with objectivity yet e A riveting account of three trailblazing journalists - Catherine Leroy, Frances Fitzgerald, and Kate Webb - who were some of the first female journalists to cover the Vietnam War (and wars generally) and who each challenged in her own way the sexist view that women weren’t fit to be war reporters and were better suited to reporting on “women’s issues.” Elizabeth Becker, who is a journalist herself and was on the ground in Cambodia during the rise of the Khmer Rouge, writes with objectivity yet empathy to shed light on the hurdles these women faced on and off the battlefield, from jealous male colleagues who petitioned for Leroy’s exclusion from the press corps to a fiancé who convinced Webb to leave Vietnam for the U.S. only for her to find out he was already married. An excellent, informative read that men, especially, should pick up. (5/5)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    This book about pioneering journalists Catherine Leroy, Frances FitzGerald, and Kate Webb also included much information about the Vietnam War. These women were the first female journalists allowed on the battlefield. Leroy was a photographer who parachuted along with the military into battle zones. Webb spent 23 days as a prisoner on the North Vietnamese. Fitzgerald wrote "Fire in the Lake," the 1973 Pulitzer Prize winner for general nonfiction, considered one of the best on the Vietnam War. Th This book about pioneering journalists Catherine Leroy, Frances FitzGerald, and Kate Webb also included much information about the Vietnam War. These women were the first female journalists allowed on the battlefield. Leroy was a photographer who parachuted along with the military into battle zones. Webb spent 23 days as a prisoner on the North Vietnamese. Fitzgerald wrote "Fire in the Lake," the 1973 Pulitzer Prize winner for general nonfiction, considered one of the best on the Vietnam War. These ladies did not have a political agenda but went to great lengths to cover all sides of the story. Author Elizabeth Becker also spent time reporting in nearby Cambodia. Fascinating!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    If you are looking for a play-by-play (down in the weeds) synopsis of the Vietnam War, you will enjoy reading this. I, however, was not. I found the information about the 3 reporters during their time in Southeast Asia interesting, but I would say that was about 1/4-1/3 of the book. I wasn’t really interested in reading bios on the women’s parents, or these women’s upbringings, college days, etc., in extreme detail I didn’t really want to read a bio of one reporter’s favorite author either. A li If you are looking for a play-by-play (down in the weeds) synopsis of the Vietnam War, you will enjoy reading this. I, however, was not. I found the information about the 3 reporters during their time in Southeast Asia interesting, but I would say that was about 1/4-1/3 of the book. I wasn’t really interested in reading bios on the women’s parents, or these women’s upbringings, college days, etc., in extreme detail I didn’t really want to read a bio of one reporter’s favorite author either. A little bit would have sufficed and then focus on their time in Vietnam & Cambodia. Not the other way around.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Homerun2

    This story of three female journalists and their trail-blazing coverage of the Vietnam War doesn't shirk from telling about the cost of their dedication -- the emotional toll, their physical risks, and their often chaotic personal lives. These are elements common to anyone fighting or writing about a war, but additionally, these women had to fight to be able to just do their jobs since they were female. They brought a different perspective into their articles, books and pictures. Written by anot This story of three female journalists and their trail-blazing coverage of the Vietnam War doesn't shirk from telling about the cost of their dedication -- the emotional toll, their physical risks, and their often chaotic personal lives. These are elements common to anyone fighting or writing about a war, but additionally, these women had to fight to be able to just do their jobs since they were female. They brought a different perspective into their articles, books and pictures. Written by another war correspondent, the book also provides a cogent summary of the chronology of the war. Highly recommended.

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