undaunted: how women changed american journalism book cover


How Women Changed American Journalism

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Review, Undaunted

New York Times: Undaunted Review by Jane Kamensky, May 13, 2023

  From ‘Front-Page Girls’ to Newsroom Leaders “Undaunted,” Brooke Kroeger’s new history of women in journalism, tracks the victories, setbacks and pathbreaking careers that have marked the decades-long fight for […]

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NPR Book of the Day, UNDAUNTED, May 31, 2023

This is the interview Scott Simon conducted for NPR’s Weekend Edition which aired Saturday, May 20, 2023, refashioned as an NPR “Book of the Day.” Simon also featured Undaunted on […]

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Notice, Undaunted

Editors’ Choice: The New York Times Book Review; 9 Books We Recommend This Week, July 13, 2023

From the print edition of the New York Times Book Review, page 23, underneath the week’s bestsellers, July 16, 2023: Read this also at this link as it appeared on […]

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Notice, Undaunted

People: The Best New Books, June 12, 2023

“We all owe a debt to the brave women reporters Kroeger profiles here from some household names to others who should be …” 

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Review, Undaunted

The Guardian: Undaunted Review: From Gellhorn to Abramson, the Women Who Changed US Journalism, by Clara Bingham, June 10, 2023

Read this review in full on the site of The Guardian

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The Guardian: Undaunted: The Untold Story of Women in American Journalism by Veronica Esposito, May 31, 2023

Read in full on the site of The Guardian

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“Compendious and lively . . . Deeply researched and encyclopedic in the best sense, the book attempts to create a broad new cannon of unforgettables.”


“In a masterly work of broad research and elegant synthesis, Kroeger writes a lively, fast-paced account spanning 150 years in newspapers, magazines and television news> Cataloguing a dizzying arrray of characters in complex and unconventional exploits, Kroeger conveys both the glory and the sexist humiliation and roadblocks these talented, driven women experienced.”


“This book is a timely reminder that while women have come a long way in journalism, their gains can’t be taken for granted . . . Kroeger is well equipped to take us through generations of determined, tenacious women.”


“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)

[Undaunted] is packed with the stories of women who have taken part in writing the first draft o f history . . . [Written] with refreshing positivity . . . Kroeger is a great champion of women, and she is a preserver of the long, rich historical record.”




“Eye-opening . . . For nearly 100 years, no new book for a wide audience had been published documenting the contributions of women to journalism. It was certainly time for an update. . . . In addition to getting into major transformation in the field of journalism, Undaunted is also a delight for the many personal stories it relates.”





“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.”


“Kroeger’s immersive history examines the myriad challenges [women journalists] faced professionally and from society writ large and celebrates the ingenuity, valor, and integrity with which they pursued their goals. Merging feminist struggles with journalistic triumphs, Kroeger sheds an important light on both spheres.”


“Significant . . . in useful and engaging detail [Undaunted illustrates] how acceptance of women reporters and editors was glacial and incremental, how deeply entrenched newsroom sexism has been, and the degree to which those factors affected the way news consumers thought and think about life in the United States. [A] principal contribution has been the breadth of her catalog and how up to date it is, including events as late as mid-2022, and her welcome documentation of the way women journalists were change agents for their profession.”


“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