Fierce Ambition: The Life and Legend of War Correspondent Maggie Higgins (Hardcover)

Fierce Ambition: The Life and Legend of War Correspondent Maggie Higgins By Jennet Conant Cover Image

Fierce Ambition: The Life and Legend of War Correspondent Maggie Higgins (Hardcover)


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A spirited portrait of twentieth-century war correspondent Maggie Higgins and her tenacious fight to the top in a male-dominated profession.

Marguerite Higgins catapulted to journalistic fame with her dramatic account of the liberation of Dachau at the end of World War II. Brash, beautiful, ruthlessly competitive, and sexually adventurous, she forced her way to the front despite being told the combat zone was no place for a woman. Her headline-making exploits earned her a reputation for bravery bordering on recklessness and accusations of “advancing on her back,” trading sexual favors for scoops. Her notoriety soared during the Cold War, and her daring dispatches from Korea garnered a Pulitzer Prize. A star reporter, she became close to the Kennedy brothers, but provoked bitter rivalries with male correspondents who vilified her until her untimely death. In Fierce Ambition, journalist and historian Jennet Conant digs into Maggie’s turbulent life and shines a spotlight on her legacy—her trailblazing career, unwavering courage, and refusal to sacrifice success to fit gender expectations.

Jennet Conant is the author, most recently, of The Great Secret. Her other books include the New York Times best-selling Tuxedo Park, 109 East Palace, The Irregulars, and the critically acclaimed Man of the Hour. She lives in Sag Harbor, New York.
Product Details ISBN: 9780393882124
ISBN-10: 0393882128
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: October 31st, 2023
Pages: 576
Language: English
The remarkable story of an irrepressible wartime reporter who would do almost anything to get a scoop. Beautiful, brilliant, and demanding, Maggie Higgins was a comet in the gray, male world of mid-20th century American journalism captured in all of her complexity by Jennet Conant in her utterly compelling Fierce Ambition.

— Gay Talese, author of The Kingdom and the Power

Jennet Conant’s brilliant storytelling and extraordinary granular research bring Maggie Higgins’s long forgotten but vital story to life. From small town California to Columbia University to Dachau to Washington, DC—Maggie lived passionately, but died tragically at the height of the Vietnam War. One wishes she had lived to report Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Ukraine, and the difference her work would have made. Her fearless quest to bring the truth to light will serve as inspiration for a new generation of pathfinding women. What a woman, what a legend.
— Janine di Giovanni, author of The Morning They Came for Us: Dispatches from Syria

Maggie Higgins lived life at a gallop and this book keeps up with her—reporter, columnist, celebrity, mother, wife, lover, cheat, sneak, activist, combat correspondent, Pulitzer winner, war hero, patriot, polemicist, and drop-dead beauty. Jenny Conant tells the whole story with verve, insight, and deep appreciation for this fascinating, complex, and pioneering woman.
— Richard Cohen, four-time Pulitzer Prize finalist

Fierce Ambition is a reflection of journalism, hung on the passionate, brilliant, sexy, hilarious, honest, complicated, moving, tough, heartbreaking outrageous, courageous, astonishing life of the intrepid ‘girl’ war correspondent Maggie Higgins. Slam! Bang! Kapow! If you’re a journalist and you’re not reading Fierce Ambition you’re not doing your homework.

— Terry McDonell, author of The Accidental Life: An Editor’s Notes on Writing and Writers