Gender bias in postings on this site.
I was looking back over past postings and realized there was a considerable gender bias: no obvious women contributors to conflict work. Perhaps the skew towards greater empathy meant they had less need for theory about conflict? But then I thought of a few mother-daughter conflicts I know.
And I had worked with great women conflict professionals, especially the labor relations sisters in the auto industry. I also worked with Deborah Kolb in the 1990s, who was working to take a better perspective on conflict, including but not exclusively from a woman’s perspective. This is her site:
And this is Deborah:
Still, I had no obvious woman author who had experienced heavy conflict in my blog and then my friend Kate wrote a book review:
I was brought to Gellhorn’s writing after finishing The Postmistress, where Gellhorn gets a cameo and a few shout-outs for her war-reporting. They didn’t have The Face of War at the local library, so I picked up this instead. This is probably the best travel memoir that I have ever read. Gellhorn is one pugnacious, brutally intelligent female with ovaries of steel. In Travels with Myself and Another: A Memoir, Gellhorn recounts her ‘horror journeys’: to the front of the Sino-Japanese war on the back of a miniature pony, straight through the heart of a cholera epidemic, riding shotgun in a tiny merchant vessel through U-boat infested waters of the Caribbean and then up the Saranoco (probably spelled that one wrong) River into the uncharted backlands of Suriname. She hires a driver and field guide in Kenya who can neither drive nor has ever left Nairobi to take her through the game parks of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika and sneaks stockings and detective thrillers to Mrs. Osip Mandelstam in Moscow. Rather than the stoic war reporter you might expect her to be, Gellhorn is filled with piss and vinegar at the injustice with which so many people in the world are treated AND the old cigarette butts that were left in her hotel room. She writes honestly, self-effacingly, and candidly. Not a sentence is out of place or boring. I am filled with an itch to travel after reading this wonderful book, and a quite separate itch to get my hands on the rest of Gellhorn’s writing. Highly recommended for everyone.
Problem partly solved: Martha Gellhorn. Read about her on Wikipedia at
And above all read her The Face of War (1959) collection of war journalism, updated in 1986.
Olivia Manning in her Fortunes of War series is supposed to have written the best account of what the battle of El Alamein in 1942 actually felt like. Olivia with her husband Reggie Smith, the original for the character Guy Pringle:
And please, let me know other women authors writing about their experience of conflict and/or ways to handle conflict.