In 1898, Arnold Bennett in his "Journalism for Women: A Practical Guide" asked the question, 'Is there any sexual reason why a woman should be a less accomplished journalist than a man?' and, for the time, bravely answered, 'I can find none'. Anne Sebba, in her introduction, describes her book thus: 'what follows is an account of what many women have witnesses in the last 150 years...It is also an account of the battles women have fought in order to be able to tell these stories...The women in this book have reported much more than just war. They have investigated many a horror of peacetime society from prostitution, drug abuse and sexual deviation to riots, strikes and criminal trials'. From Miss Wreford in Italy at the time of the Risorgimento and Lady Florence Dixie in South Africa during the Boer War to mould-breakers such as Clare Hollingworth, Virginia Cowles and Martha Gellhorn in the 1930s to Kate Adie in Yugoslavia and Tienanmen Square in the 1990s, Anne Sebba recounts the exciting development of the woman reporter.
'"Battling for News" is an important book because it contradicts the myths that is it harder for women to work in difficult situations; that women only report the hospitals and orphanages side of war; that it is easier to get hired in the first place' - Janine di Giovanni, "Sunday Times". 'Anne Sebba's admirable book...is well researched and likely to interest many readers who are neither women nor journalists. For one thing, her journalists stand in their own right not merely in opposition to a man's world. For another, like their male counterparts, they have pursued careers that catch the light of history. This is good material for anyone interested in the events and public debates of the last 150 years' - Jeremy Harding, "London Review of Books". 'Anne Sebba offers convincing answers without resorting to polemic...Sebba presents a coherent picture of women fighting not only for their own rights but for the rights of newspaper readers' - Roy Greenslade, "The Guardian".