A Fresh Air (NPR) Best Book of the Year – 1994
Nellie Bly: Daredevil, Reporter, Feminist is the first and only fully documented biography of Bly and integrates a wealth of previously unknown information with a reporter’s zeal for the hard fact. It is the first attempt to give us this legendary figure in all her complexity: the most famous woman journalist of her day, an extraordinary American industrialist, and a compelling humanitarian. Hers is not only an inspiring personal tale, but the story of an exemplar of an age when American women were vigorously asserting their right–indeed, their need–to shape history itself.
From Chapter Four, “The World”:
“Bly would assay the universe through a special lens with her own peculiar tint, and the reader, seeing her name in the headline, knew he or she would be in for an excruciatingly detailed account of whatever she had encountered. How she approached the subject and how she felt about anything that came into her mind at the time, even the most extraneous details, were as essential to the telling as why she had reported the story in the first place. Unlike her unwitting heirs of the 1960s and 1970s, when the phrase New Journalism would come around again, it was not her wit or sarcasm or counter-culture stream-of-consciousness that delivered a ripe audience. It was her compassion and social conscience, buttressed by a disarming bluntness. There was no mind-splitting intellectual insight or noteworthy literary finesse. Bly simply produced, week after week, an uninhibited display of her delight in being female and fearless and her joy in having such an attention-getting place to strut her stuff. It was “gonzo” journalism cloaked in Victoriana. Even her detractors found her too astounding to ignore. . . .”
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THE BOSTON SUNDAY GLOBE, Katherine A. Powers
“Kroeger has pieced together a convincing and scrupulous picture of an extraordinary, courageous, sometimes disagreeable woman of her times.”
THE LOUISVILLE COURIER-JOURNAL
“Kroeger’s painstaking and diligent research has begun to tell the real story of Nellie Bly . . . The author has collected and compiled the details in a narrative that is witty, precise, amazing, and entertaining to read.