Chris Dubbs

Women Reporters in WWI

Chris Dubbs, a military historian and the author of An Unladylike Profession: American Women War Correspondents in World War I, discusses the untold story of the first women war correspondents and their pioneering coverage from the front lines of the first World War.

From the publisher

When World War I began, war reporting was a thoroughly masculine bastion of journalism. But that did not stop dozens of women reporters from stepping into the breach, defying gender norms and official restrictions to establish roles for themselves—and to write new kinds of narratives about women and war.

Chris Dubbs tells the fascinating stories of Edith Wharton, Nellie Bly, and more than thirty other American women who worked as war reporters. As Dubbs shows, stories by these journalists brought in women from the periphery of war and made them active participants—fully engaged and equally heroic, if bearing different burdens and making different sacrifices. Women journalists traveled from belligerent capitals to the front lines to report on the conflict. But their experiences also brought them into contact with social transformations, political unrest, labor conditions, campaigns for women’s rights, and the rise of revolutionary socialism.

An eye-opening look at women’s war reporting, An Unladylike Profession is a portrait of a sisterhood from the guns of August to the corridors of Versailles.

Review excerpts selected by the publisher

“This slice of World War I history offers insights into American journalism as well as into the terrible conflict itself. . . . [Dubbs] writes with a sure hand, drawing from published articles, memoirs, diaries and letters. He skillfully presents each woman’s story in a linked series of riveting—sometimes heart-breaking—narratives. . . . Near the end of An Unladylike Profession, Mr. Dubbs remarks on the reporter’s duty to report the truth no matter how uncomfortable it might be. The journalists profiled in this absorbing book lived up to that responsibility.”— Melanie Kirkpatrick, The Wall Street Journal

“Readers will be inspired by the nearly unimaginable obstacles these journalists overcame to perform their jobs with flair. A welcome history suitable for World War I aficionados and budding journalists.”— Kirkus Reviews, starred

“Chris Dubbs’s An Unladylike Profession jumps into the trenches with the women reporters of World War I—groundbreaking journalists who explained the war to readers in the US, and who shared stories from the war’s brutal aftermath.”—  Foreword Reviews

“By bringing together so many of these women in a single volume, An Unladylike Profession frames them not as isolated individuals or well-meaning amateurs, but as a small but vocal cohort of dedicated professionals who challenged society’s expectations for what any reporter—male or female—could accomplish.”—Shannon Granville, Army History

“This book makes an important contribution to our understanding of the Great War’s impact on the role of female war reporters, the obstacles they faced, and the hurdles they overcame. It serves as a reminder that audiences depend on ingenious, courageous, and, most importantly, truth-seeking war correspondents who provide eyewitness accounts of conflicts and crises.”—Elisabeth Fondren, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly

“Dubbs tells his story with an unerring eye for unforgettable anecdotes and dramatic situations, nicely balanced by careful attention to historical background. He is a master at distilling complex historical information into readable and intelligent works for an audience of academics and non-academics alike.”— Steven Trout, author of On the Battlefield of Memory: The First World War and American Remembrance, 1919–1941

[Recorded August 13, 2020 and rebroadcast on January 4, 2024]

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    America's Summer Roadtrip 2020

      Chris Dubbs is a military historian living in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, and has worked as a newspaper journalist, editor, and publisher. He is the author of numerous books, including An Unladylike Profession: American Women War Correspondents in World War I (Potomac Books, 2020), American Journalists in the Great War: Rewriting the Rules of Reporting (Nebraska, 2017), and America’s U-Boats: Terror Trophies of World War I (Nebraska, 2014).

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