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The long buried story of three extraordinary female journalists who permanently shattered the official and cultural barriers to women covering war.

Kate Webb, an Australian iconoclast, Catherine Leroy, a French dare devil 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 paid their own way to war, arrived without jobs, challenged the rules imposed on them by the military, ignored the belittlement and resentment of their male peers and found new ways to explain the war through the people who lived through it.

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, through the Tet Offensive, the expansion into Cambodia, the American defeat and its aftermath. Arriving herself in the last years of the war, Elizabeth writes as an historian and a witness to what these women accomplished.

What emerges is an unforgettable story of three journalists forging their place in a land of men, often at great personal sacrifice, and forever altering the craft of war reportage for generations. 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.

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

"Elizabeth Becker has gracefully weaved admiring but clear-eyed portraits of three remarkable women who reported from its front lines. At a time when most female journalists were relegated to covering food, family, and fashion, these fought for a chance to take on the biggest story of their day — recording both the courage and the human toll of war, earning the amazed respect of soldiers, and making an indelible contribution to our understanding of the war, then and now."
Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down and Hue 1968
“Every journalist should read this stunning book.  Actually everyone should. Elizabeth Becker has that rare ability to weave the fascinating stories of three ground-breaking, very different women journalists with a riveting history of the Vietnam War.  She challenges you to see who these women were in a place they allegedly didn't belong, while describing what and how they witnessed it.”
 
Anne Garrels, former NPR foreign correspondent and author of Naked in Baghdad
“In this meticulously researched and drama-filled book, we can feel the sweat and heat of the jungle, hear the explosion of bombs, and witness the lies and political machinations justifying the doomed “Vietnam War.” Most importantly, Ms. Becker, a master international journalist herself, profiles the extraordinary courage, talent, and raw determination of three wartime female journalists, who succeeded in a man’s world and helped pave the way for women everywhere to receive the recognition and respect they deserve.”
 
Alan Lightman, author of Einstein¿s Dreams and The Diagnosis
"Elizabeth Becker resurrects the long-forgotten stories and enormous sacrifices made by a generation of women who paved the way for the rest of us. Elegant, angry and utterly engaging, it is a long overdue story about a small band of courageous and visionary women.You Don’t Belong Here is a masterpiece of a book."
Rachel Louise Snyder, author of No Visible Bruises
"Becker has done us a great service by shining a light on three hidden women stars of the wars in IndoChina: Francis FitzGerald, Kate Webb and Catherine Leroy. They fought their way through opposition from the "men's club" of war corresponding to focus on reporting the truth, proving that they actually DID belong there. Put YOU DON'T BELONG HERE on your reading list!"
Joseph L. Galloway, co-author of We Were Soldiers Once
“Riveting, powerful and transformative, Elizabeth Becker’s You Don’t Belong Here tells the stories of three astonishing women. This is a timely and brilliant work from one of our most extraordinary war correspondents.”
Madeleine Thien, author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing
“Elizabeth Becker’s luminous book not only belongs, it demands at last that these daring, resourceful, and pathbreaking women take their rightful place in the history of the Indochina wars and journalists who covered them.”
David Maraniss, author of They Marched into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967
“ A riveting read with much to say about the nature of war and the different ways men and women correspondents cover it. Frank, fast-paced, often enraging, “You Don’t Belong Here” speaks to the distance traveled and the journey still ahead.”
 
Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize winning author of MARCH, former Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent
“When these three women were born, 'lady journalists' wore flowery dresses and white gloves, and wrote about fashion and housekeeping. Today, because of the tenacity and bravery of women like Leroy, Fitzgerald and Webb, women report from the frontlines of the bloodiest conflicts … and they aren’t wearing white gloves."
Tony Clifton, veteran Australian journalist
“Crisp and incisive… Becker, who also reported from Cambodia in the 1970s, fluidly sketches the history and politics of the Vietnam War and captures her subjects in all their complexity. Readers interested in women’s history and foreign affairs won’t be able to put this fascinating chronicle down.”
Publishers Weekly

“An incisive history of the Vietnam War via the groundbreaking accomplishments of three remarkable women journalists…. A deft, richly illuminating perspective on the Vietnam War.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“An absorbing narrative… 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… Readers interested in the Vietnam War and in women's history will be engaged.”
Library Journal (starred review)
“Becker blends [the journalists’] individual stories with wider history, setting the unfolding tragedy in Vietnam in the background as her protagonists develop doubts about the logic and legitimacy of the war. She provides vivid accounts of their journalistic exploits and tales of how they suffered in their work—their injuries, traumas, excessive drinking, and complicated affairs.”
Foreign Affairs
“Whether as a woman’s story or a war story, this should find a wide audience.”
Booklist
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