How Women Changed American Journalism

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From A.A. Knopf, May 16, 2023 | ISBN 9780525659143.

Available for pre-order everywhere.

An essential history of women in American journalism, showcasing exceptional careers from 1840 to the present.

Undaunted is a representative history of the American women who surmounted every impediment put in their way to do journalism’s most valued work. From Margaret Fuller’s improbable success to the highly paid reporters of the mid-nineteenth century to the breakthrough investigative triumphs of Nellie Bly, Ida Tarbell, and Ida B. Wells, Brooke Kroeger examines the experiences of the best remembered and long-forgotten women journalists. She 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, including those of Martha Gellhorn, Rachel Carson, Janet Malcolm, Joan Didion, Cokie Roberts, and Charlayne Hunter-Gault.

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 as well 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       000

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

21 Assessment

22 The More Things Change

Epilogue #MeToo, You Too

Notes and Sources




REVIEWS: Advance Praise for UNDAUNTED

"a phenomenal work of research with a simple point to make. Women are half the public. Making them equal in the newsroom is not an option but a necessity." (Jay Rosen)

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NOTICE: Library Journal Pre-Pub Alert: Undaunted: How Women Changed American Journalism

From Margaret Fuller to Nellie Bly, Ida Tarbell, and Ida B. Wells to the women who reported major news from the Civil War, World War II, and beyond to more recent stars like....

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NOTICE: CLIO: AEJMC Newsletter: “Member News: Brooke Kroeger, Yong Volz”

  About UNDAUNTED, in the November 2022 CLIO, the newsletter of the AEJMC, the American Educators in Journalism and Mass Communications: Brooke Kroeger, professor emerita at New York University, has […]

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