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

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

Elizabeth Becker. PublicAffairs, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5417-6820-8

Journalist Becker (Overbooked) delivers a crisp and incisive group biography of three women who battled sexism and broke new ground while reporting on the Vietnam War and the U.S. invasion of Cambodia. During the 1968 Tet Offensive, French photojournalist Catherine Leroy rode a bicycle into the Communist-occupied city of Hue and took the first pictures of North Vietnamese Army soldiers in South Vietnam (the photos appeared on the cover of Life magazine). Frances FitzGerald, the daughter of a CIA deputy director, circulated among the American elite in South Vietnam, Becker notes, but her reporting, which culminated in the book Fire in the Lake, centered on Vietnamese history and culture and explored how America’s “ham-fisted policies” delegitimized its allies in South Vietnam. In 1971, North Vietnamese soldiers in Cambodia took Australian reporter Kate Webb prisoner and held her for more than two weeks, leading to erroneous reports of her death. 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. Photos. Agent: David Halpern, Robbins Office (Feb.)