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Of Fortunes and War: Clare Hollingworth, first of the female war correspondents

A chance find in the family attic launches an author on a globetrotting odyssey to learn the truth about his great aunt, Clare Hollingworth, the legendary war correspondent. Clare was famous for getting the “scoop of the century” - the outbreak of the Second World War. But her old trunk revealed that there was a lot of her life story that had gone unreported…

From witnessing the first aerial bombing against England in the First War, through Hitler's Blitzkrieg, Clare’s résumé includes desert war in North Africa, civil war in Greece, terrorism in Jerusalem, and guerrilla warfare in Vietnam and Borneo.

But this book is about both love and war - a moving story of Clare's passion for life, but the tough compromises she had to make over personal relationships.

It is a gripping story of a century-long journey from rural England, through wars and revolutions, right up to Britain's final “End of Empire” in Hong Kong.


“A fascinating account of an extraordinary career. This vivid story, beautifully told, is unputdownable.”

Alexander McCall Smith

“Clare Hollingworth is certainly one of the most unforgettable journalists I have ever met and one of the greatest journalists of the 20th century.”

Chris Patten

“She was regarded by everyone as the most formidable foreign correspondent around, not just of women but out of everyone.”

John Humphrys

“Clare Hollingworth was one of the greatest reporters of the 20th century, and famously scooped the competition by reporting the German invasion of Poland in 1939 before anyone else did, for the Daily Telegraph.”

Charles Moore

“She was a pioneer.”

Kate Adie OBE

“Clare made an extraordinary impact in journalism. Who did the first interview with the Shah of Iran? Clare Hollingworth. Who did the last interview all those years – 30 – 40 - years later, after he fell? Clare Hollingworth. And she was the only person he wanted to speak to. And that’s really the measure of the woman.”

John Simpson CBE

“It was her dispatches that alerted the British Foreign Office to the fact that Germany had invaded Poland in 1939. Many of us who have come afterwards, and the generations afterwards, look back and are proud to remember that it is not us pioneering. It’s them. It’s Clare and that band of women who really did it for us.”

Christiane Amanpour CBE

“She was the standard bearer of reporting at an age when it just was not usual, was not normal, to be female in a hostile environment, and she did it with complete panache and skill and success. She is exactly what every female war correspondent wants to be aspires to be like.”

Alex Crawford OBE

“The story of how Clare Hollingworth achieved her great scoop, the outbreak of World War Two, during her first week as a journalist is well known, but it is always worth telling again, especially when it is done with such verve and skill as it is by Patrick Garrett.”

The Correspondent

“A gripping account of a restless life that also illuminates profound social changes.”

The South China Morning Post

Buy Patrick Garrett