First to the Front: The Untold Story of Dickey Chapelle, Trailblazing Female War Correspondent (Hardcover)

Staff Pick Badge
First to the Front: The Untold Story of Dickey Chapelle, Trailblazing Female War Correspondent By Lorissa Rinehart Cover Image

First to the Front: The Untold Story of Dickey Chapelle, Trailblazing Female War Correspondent (Hardcover)


On Our Shelves Now
On hand as of Jun 23 12:30pm

Staff Reviews

"'More danger' could be the subtitle of this book, as Dickey Chapelle, in her own words, was always looking 'as far (forward) as you'll let me,' chasing danger in a way that makes her seem like what we call an adrenaline junkie. From her early time working for TWA, to her parachute jumps in Vietnam, Chapelle was ever in search of something exciting, thrilling, more than the mundane.  Of course, being a woman in search of such things comes with its own challenges, ones Chapelle met repeatedly through her career with a kind of bullheaded stubbornness you need as both a woman and a journalist. While courage and fearlessness are job descriptions for just about any journalist in wartime, be it in World War Two’s Pacific Theater or the jungles of Vietnam, it is in the relatively quieter time of the Cold War that these qualities really shine in Chapelle-whether it is helping out in Poland in the immediate aftermath of WW2, being imprisoned and tortured in a Hungarian jail, or sneaking into Algeria to document their independence war against the French. None of this, though, is what made her good at her job-rather she was able to always find a human connection, and exhibit deep compassion for almost everyone she met or wrote about, with a particular connection to the Marines, forged in WW2. Testament to her enduring influence is an eponymous award given by the Marines, for women who 'contributed substantially to the morale, welfare and well-being of the officers and men and women of the United States Marine Corps.' She was truly a woman for all seasons."--Reviewed by  Andrew

The first authoritative biography of pioneering photojournalist Dickey Chapelle, who from World War II through the early days of Vietnam got her story by any means necessary as one of the first female war correspondents.

"I side with prisoners against guards, enlisted men against officers, weakness against power."

From the beginning of World War II through the early days of Vietnam, groundbreaking female photojournalist and war correspondent Dickey Chapelle chased dangerous assignments her male colleagues wouldn’t touch, pioneering a radical style of reporting that focused on the humanity of the oppressed.

She documented conditions across Eastern Europe in the wake of the Second World War. She marched down the Ho Chi Minh Trail with the South Vietnamese Army and across the Sierra Maestra Mountains with Castro. She was the first reporter accredited with the Algerian National Liberation Front, and survived torture in a communist Hungarian prison. She dove out of planes, faked her own kidnapping, and endured the mockery of male associates, before ultimately dying on assignment in Vietnam with the Marines in 1965, the first American female journalist killed while covering combat.

Chapelle overcame discrimination both on the battlefield and at home, with much of her work ultimately buried from the public eye—until now. In First to the Front, Lorissa Rinehart uncovers the incredible life and unparalleled achievements of this true pioneer, and the mark she would make on history.

Cultural critic and historian LORISSA RINEHART writes about art, war, politics, and the places where these discourses intersect. Her writing has recently appeared in Hyperallergic, Perfect Strangers, and Narratively, among other publications. She holds an MA from NYU in Experimental Humanities and a BA in Literature from UC Santa Cruz.
Product Details ISBN: 9781250276575
ISBN-10: 1250276578
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: July 11th, 2023
Pages: 400
Language: English

"An extraordinary story....Reads like a Hollywood movie." —The Wall Street Journal

"Compelling and detailed...a thrilling adventure story." —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Remarkable." —The Christian Science Monitor

"Jam-packed with colorful details and incisive character sketches, this is a vivid reappraisal of a pioneering journalist." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Unforgettable....A valuable, long-overdue tribute to an American woman whose work and commitment to human rights is more relevant than ever." —BookPage (starred review)

"A life brazenly lived and a tale compellingly told....To see war through photojournalist Dickey Chapelle’s eyes is to witness not only battles fought on distant shores, but also those waged at home against individuals who dare to unearth the truth and strive to break free of the limitations others seek to place on them. With gripping, fluid storytelling, this enthralling account of Dickey Chapelle is given well deserved and illuminating new light and life." —Denise Kiernan, New York Times bestselling author of The Girls of Atomic City, The Last Castle, and We Gather Together

"Thanks to Lorissa Rinehart's detailed and heartfelt biography, we now know about the fascinating life of the photojournalist known as Dickey Chapelle....Readers will be pulled into this book and won't want to be let go."
—Tom Clavin, New York Times bestselling author of Lightning Down

"An astonishing story...exquisite. After reading this enthralling book, now, when someone asks, 'What three people from history would you have over for dinner?' My first choice is easy: At the head of the table is the incomparable Dickey Chapelle. Next to her, the other two guests will be fighting for table scraps." —Buddy Levy, author of Empire of Ice and Stone: The Disastrous and Heroic Voyage of the Karluk

"From a hospital ship at Iwo Jima to the Ho Chi Mihn trail, a bracing account of a female combat reporter who risked everything to inform the American public." —Mary L. Dudziak, author of War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences

"An extraordinary story, told with cinematic flair. Chapelle's groundbreaking career should be studied in every journalism school in the country. Rinehart's vivid prose makes us feel like we're right there with her through all her trials and triumphs." —J. Martin Daughtry, author of Listening to War: Sound, Music, Trauma, and Survival in Wartime Iraq