Warning: The following book review is given based on my opinion, and my opinion alone. It does not, in any way, reflect the opinion of the author or anyone else involved with this book. Thank you.
As you may remember, a couple months ago I started reading the book “On Their Own: Women Journalists and the American Experience in Vietnam” by Joyce Hoffmann. This was one of the only non-fiction books I have ever read, and I chose it because not only would it be a nice change of pace, but also it appeals to aspiring journalist within me. Unfortunately, I have yet to finish reading it, and the reason for that is not due to lack of time…
The content of the book itself is quite brilliant; so many inspiring stories of women who went to great lengths to prove that they had what it took to get the story when it happened, and where it happened, no matter the danger to themselves. It is so empowering, so motivating, so inspiring … and yet I found the book itself to be difficult to read to. It is just one of those cases where the idea is better than the thing itself, which is unfortunate because there is some amazing information held within its pages that I would like to uncover.
I cannot say for sure whether it is the way it is written, or perhaps the way in which the information is organized, but I just found it difficult to hold my concentration for any length of time. If I had to compare it to something, it would have to be the textbooks I have to read for class; lots of information, but impossible to take it all in the first time around. Perhaps I just need to expose myself to more literature of this genre before I can get a feel for it, and hopefully a deeper appreciation for the research and time the author has to put into it.
If I had to rate this book, based on my initial impression, I would give it 4 out of 5 stars, for the following reasons:
1. It gave a unique perspective on the Vietnam war (one that did not come from the soldiers, or men for that matter)
2. It focused on various female journalists and the struggles they went through, as well as their triumphs
3. It included information gleaned from interviews with the journalists themselves (first hand accounts)
4. It also gave a detailed description of the other people with whom the journalists interacted with (family, friends, co-workers, lovers, etc.)
Four reasons for four stars. The fifth star would have been given for how easily it read, which for me it did not. If I had to decide whether or not I would recommend this books to others, I definitely would. It is an amazing book, even if I was unable to get through it myself. It is the epitome of everything I stand for; going against the grain, overcoming oppression, getting to the heart of a major conflict instead of relying on outside accounts, and exceeding societal expectations.
That is all for today. I hope you enjoyed my book review, and hopefully you will add it to your list of must reads. I look forward to reading more books and sending them your way, but until then, happy reading!