Looking for Trouble

Virginia Cowles

This sensational 1941 memoir of life on the frontline of wartime Europe by a ‘magnificent‘ (Antony Beevor) trailblazing female reporter is a rediscovered classic, introduced by Christina Lamb.

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This sensational 1941 memoir of life on the frontline of wartime Europe by a trailblazing female reporter is an ‘unforgettable’ (The Times) rediscovered classic, introduced by Christina Lamb

Paris as it fell to the Nazis
London on the first day of the Blitz
Madrid in the Spanish Civil War
Prague during the Munich crisis
Berlin the day Germany invaded Poland
Helsinki as the Russians attacked
Moscow betrayed by the Germans
Virginia Cowles has seen it all.

As a pioneering female correspondent, she reported from Europe from the 1930s into the Second World War, watching ‘the lights in the death-chamber go out one by one’ from the frontline – always in the right place at the right time.

Flinging off her heels under shellfire; meeting Hitler (‘an inconspicuous little man’) and the ‘dapper’ Mussolini; gossiping with Churchill by his goldfish pond or dancing in the bomb-blasted Ritz; reading The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism on a Soviet train or eating reindeer with guerrilla skiers … Introduced by Christina Lamb, Cowles’ incredible dispatches will make you an eyewitness to the twentieth-century as you have never experienced it before.

An amazingly brilliant reporter … One of the most engrossing [books] the war has produced.’ New York Times Book Review

What readers are saying:
The Forrest Gump of early World War II

The queen of historical name-dropping

Holy cow! What a wonderful find!!

Most unexpectedly great book that I have read in years. Reads like a novel [but] this is real life.

The best book I’ve read this year … Exquisitely written [day-to-day] drama of history … Breathtakingly fresh.

I can’t recommend this book enough. Cowles’ voice and humanity are her greatest assets, but her willingness to be where the action was – and always find trouble – paid off.

A marvel. Her ability to capture anecdotes and dialogue that offer surprising insights into historic personages and events is a frequent source of wonder. It was difficult for me not to drive my family crazy wanting to read them quotes.

The intrepid Virginia Cowles was in the right places at the right times and connected to the right people. What a life she led!

Critic Reviews

Cowles, the fearless American war correspondent, takes us there and makes us be there ... A brilliant describer [with] an uncanny ability to be present in the right country [when] it falls into the abyss ... A cut above ... She should be more famous ... A gift for gauging the spirit of a nation ... One of the most atmospheric war descriptions I’ve read ... Unforgettable.

Ysenda Maxtone Graham, The Times
Critic Reviews

The intrepid Cowles experienced it all: the Spanish Civil War, Czechoslovakia, the invasion of Poland, the Winter War in Finland, and the fall of France. One of the truly great war correspondents of all time, she describes everything magnificently.

Antony Beevor
Critic Reviews

Cowles was brave, brilliant and everywhere it mattered, combining a writer’s eye for irony and detail with a stunningly broad and acute political and moral vision, making sense, in real time, of the hard-to-believe events of her day - while representing them in breathtaking, flesh-and-blood human detail ... One of the most exciting journalists of the 20th century.

Anna Funder
Critic Reviews

I was blown away ... An astonishing ability to paint a scene and transport the reader ... The Forrest Gump of journalism ... She wears her courage lightly yet took incredible risks.

Christina Lamb
Critic Reviews

An amazingly brilliant reporter ... One of the most engrossing [books] the war has produced [in] all its diverse richness of drama and compassion and penetration and wit.

New York Times
Critic Reviews

Cowles' beauty, savvy and sheer impudence regularly got her to places no other woman reporter of the time could reach ... She writes vividly and has a gift for simplifying the politics ... A tour-de-force.

Daily Mail

Virginia Cowles OBE was born in Vermont in 1910. She gravitated to journalism in her youth to earn her living after the death of her mother, writing features for Hearst Newspapers. She became a trailblazing war correspondent for the Sunday Times, reporting from Civil War Spain in 1937 before covering wartime Europe for the BBC and NBC. Cowles wrote up…

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