How Women Changed American Journalism

Buy Now Trailers



An essential history of women in American journalism, showcasing exceptional careers from 1840 to the present, from A.A. Knopf, May 16, 2023 | ISBN 9780525659143..

Undaunted is a representative history of the American women who surmounted every impediment put in their way to do journalism’s most valued work. It explores the careers of standout woman reporters who covered major news stories and every conflict at home and abroad since before the Civil War, and celebrates those exceptional careers up to the present. As Kroeger chronicles the lives of journalists and newsroom leaders in every medium, a larger story develops: the nearly two-centuries-old struggle for women’s rights. Here, too, is the collective fight for equity, from the gentle stirrings of the late 1800s through the legal battles of the 1970s to the #MeToo movement and today’s racial and gender disparities. Undaunted unveils the huge and singular impact exceptional women have had on a vital profession still dominated by men.



Part One    First Wave, 1840s–1880s

1 The Asterisk

2 The She Lot

Part Two   Experts, Stunts, Sobs, Front Pages, and Amazons, 1880s–1920s

3 The Breakout

4 From Cuba to the Far East

5 New Thought

6 Janus-Faced

Part Three Global Crises, 1930s–1940s

7 Practice War

8 Depressionistas

9 Home Front

10 Sidebars

Part Four   Advances and Setbacks, 1950s–1970s

11 Bridges

12 Foment

13 Supernovas

14 Vietnam

15 Collective Action

16 Star Power

Part Five    Realignment, 1980s–1990s

17 Not Quite

18 Power Coupling

19 Moving Up

20 Moving On

Part Six     State of Play, 2000s–Early 2020s

21 Assessment

22 The More Things Change

Epilogue #MeToo, You Too

Notes and Sources



Featured, Notice, Undaunted

Advance Praise for UNDAUNTED

"a phenomenal work of research" . . . "impossible to read this record of journalistic innovation without a sense of triumph.” . . . “unprecedented scope" ... "a fast-paced beautifully written account" ... " "retrieved . . . from the wastebin of history to show how women forever changed the field."

Read More

Event, Undaunted, Upcoming Event

All UNDAUNTED Events—Upcoming and Past

Upcoming 2023   7pm ET, fundraiser, sign up, PEN America Author Evening with Brooke Kroeger, hosted by Gail Gregg, New York City           Time TBD, discussion, […]

Read More

Notice, Undaunted

Undaunted on Instagram

    View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Montclair Literary Festival (@montclair_literary_festival) https://www.instagram.com/stories/lorissa_rinehart/3054759502973984350/   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Jaymi | […]

Read More

Notice, Undaunted

UNDAUNTED on Facebook


Read More

Notice, Undaunted

Undaunted on Twitter

I loved talking with @brookekroeger last night at @nyu_journalism about her new book on the history of women in journalism in the U.S.. I was inspired (and infuriated). Keep an […]

Read More

Nellie Bly, Notice, Radio, Undaunted

ABC Radio (AU) Adelaide: “Guess Who’s Coming to Brunch” on “Mornings” with David Bevan

      Nellie Bly “came to brunch” on David Bevan’s program, Mornings, on ABC Radio Adelaide in Australia, channeled by me. Here’s the segment, courtesy of producer Paul Gough. […]

Read More

“Monumental . . .  A substantial work of research on women journalists over the last 180 years, underscoring both sexist hurdles and tremendous breakthroughs . . . A tour de force that should be in every library and school in the country. Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A sweeping history . . . “Kroeger more than proves that women have ‘faced down and overcome all manner of impediment to become integral to this enterprise’ . . . a solidly researched and fluidly written overview of an important chapter in women’s history.” – Publishers Weekly

The book is proof that not every patriotic hero bore a gun and wore pants. Historically, most of the women who poured their souls into the Fourth Estate were treated like witnesses to their own execution: Everyone got to make a speech about them—but them. Now their story is told by one of their own, with the forthright candor and superb journalistic skill for which Brooke Kroeger is known. The pioneers in this tome were foot soldiers of justice and imagination. Their presence in newsrooms challenged the very nature of journalism, which by its nature, lives in a language dipped in the subtle but charged, effective strength of male prejudice. For all their talent and skill, these women had no voice in history. Now, thanks to Kroeger, they have one.

James McBride, author of Deacon King Kong


Brooke Kroeger here offers an invaluable accounting of two centuries of achievement. Full of surprising stories, Undaunted masterfully charts individual breakthroughs while building the larger narrative of female journalists in America. While it can be disheartening to watch the same issues come back decade after decade, it is impossible to read this record of journalistic innovation without a sense of triumph.

Kim Todd, author of Sensational: The Hidden History of America’s “Girl Stunt Reporters”

Editors confined them to the women’s section, and thought them too emotional for wider duty. Bosses insisted they could not go out at night without a male escort. Professional societies would not let them in. Historians of journalism wiped them from the story. Newspapers mercilessly underpaid them. And everyone seemed to observe upon their ‘nature,’ said to be ill-suited for journalism’s toughest tasks. The gradual overcoming of these barriers is the grand theme of Brooke Kroeger’s Undaunted, a phenomenal work of research with a simple point to make. Women are half the public. Making them equals in the newsroom is not an option but a necessity.

Jay Rosen, author of What Are Journalists For?

For too long the contributions of women to American journalism have been devalued or overlooked. Fortunately, Brooke Kroeger has retrieved many of their inspiring tales from the waste bin of history to show how women forever changed the field. An overdue collective history of generations of intrepid female journalists.

Pamela Newkirk, author of Within the Veil: Black Journalists, White Media

In the no-stone-unturned style of the reporters whose exploits she retells, Brooke Kroeger documents how tenacious pioneers from Nellie Bly to Nikole Hannah-Jones blasted through the walls of journalism, exposed topics previously ignored, and built a home for women in America’s most controversial profession even as newsrooms fought for survival. Kroeger leaves no doubt that enterprising women have long narrated America’s real story.

Elizabeth Cobbs, author of Fearless Women: Feminist Patriots from Abigail Adams to Beyoncé

With unprecedented scope, Brooke Kroeger has created a fast-paced, beautifully written account of fearless women journalists across America whose inspiring, relentless determination overcame pernicious behavior and persistent barriers. Undaunted is a heavy dose of inspiration for today’s women working in journalism and all women still knocking down gender barriers.

Jennifer Preston, Senior Fellow, Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics, and Public Policy


Undaunted Trailers

  trailer credit: Adam Vine