Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: Military, Scientific, and Technological: Reporting War: How Foreign Correspondents Risked Capture, Torture, and Death to Cover World War II/The War Beat, Europe: The American Media at War against Nazi Germany/Alamein

Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: Military, Scientific, and Technological: Reporting War: How Foreign Correspondents Risked Capture, Torture, and Death to Cover World War II/The War Beat, Europe: The American Media at War against Nazi Germany/Alamein

Article excerpt

Recent Books: Military, Scientific, and Technological: Reporting War: How Foreign Correspondents Risked Capture, Torture, and Death to Cover World War II BY RAY MOSELEY. Yale University Press, 2017, 440 pp.

The War Beat, Europe: The American Media at War Against Nazi Germany BY STEVEN CASEY. Oxford University Press, 2017, 448 pp.

Alamein BY SIMON BALL. Oxford University Press, 2016, 288 pp.

Could the reporters who covered World War II have been truly independent even though they shared the dangers and discomforts experienced by combatants and even though their lives depended on operational secrecy? Moseley, himself a former war correspondent, tackles that question in a largely descriptive survey, reliant on memoirs, that still manages to cover all of the war’s theaters and relate the experiences of reporters from all the Allied countries. The book is full of striking vignettes: a reporter yelling “Traitors!” at his carrier pigeons as the birds fly toward German lines in France rather than back to London, as they were supposed to; the American journalist Martha Gellhorn observing that many of the people she had met in Germany denied being Nazis and claimed to have helped Jews. Toward the end of the book, Moseley considers whether journalists might have held back some information out of a desire to not undermine the war effort by demoralizing the public.

Casey touches on that issue, as well, and points out that the relationship between the media and the authorities was complex and that military officials would not necessarily have appreciated sanitized reporting: General Dwight Eisenhower, the supreme allied commander in Europe, for instance, wanted people to understand that the fighting could be grim and difficult. Casey’s book benefits from a sharp focus on U. …

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