Looking for Trouble

By Virginia Cowles,

Book cover of Looking for Trouble: The Classic Memoir of a Trailblazing War Correspondent

Book description

This sensational 1941 memoir of life on wartime Europe's frontline by a trailblazing female reporter is an 'unforgettable' (The Times) rediscovered classic, introduced by Christina Lamb (who calls her 'the Forrest Gump of journalism').

Paris as it fell to the Nazis
London on the first day of the Blitz

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Why read it?

3 authors picked Looking for Trouble as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I loved Virginia Cowles from the moment I read about her arrival in Madrid to cover the Spanish Civil War. In her high-heeled shoes and elegant wool dress Cowles looked as though she were dressed for a Manhattan tea party rather than the trenches of Spain. Yet she was a doggedly ambitious reporter whose glamour often bought her unique access to her subjects, not least the besotted Soviet General who kept her captive for three days, feeding her champagne while trying to convert her to Marxism. From Spain, Cowles went on to cover much of WW2, including the fall of…

From Judith's list on WW2 – but written by women.

Originally published in 1941, this new 2022 edition has a foreword by Sunday Times chief foreign correspondent Christina Lamb. Gellhorn and Cowles met in Spain in the Spring 1937, where Cowles was unconventionally reporting on both sides of the civil war. She interviewed Mussolini and would later meet Hitler, to whom she referred as “an inconspicuous little man.” Like Gellhorn, Cowles understood that fascism in Europe was a threat to democracy everywhere. Her words remain true eighty years later.

From Janet's list on women war correspondents.

I would love to invite Virginia Cowles to dinner, but unfortunately she died in a car accident in the 1980s (Ouija board, anyone?). A socialite turned war correspondent, Virginia navigated not just Nazis and Fascists while covering the Spanish Civil War and WWII, but an entire misogynist war bureaucracy bent on keeping her from doing her job. Looking for Trouble is a smart, funny, moving, and insightful account of being on the front lines in high heels and a fox fur jacket.

From Christina's list on women in wartime.

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