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THE FIVE O'CLOCK FOLLIES by Theasa Tuohy

THE FIVE O'CLOCK FOLLIES

What's a Woman Doing Here, Anyway?

By Theasa Tuohy

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0984779918
Publisher: Calliope

A freelance writer struggles to find her place among hard-nosed newsmen covering the Vietnam War in this depiction of wartime journalists.

In her debut, former Associated Press editor Tuohy describes the Vietnam War through a journalist’s lens. Freelance writer Angela Martinelli arrives in Saigon in 1968, wearing her “greenness” in the form of high-heeled shoes and a gorgeous mane of red hair. As one of the few women correspondents in a war zone, Angela is greeted with misogyny, skepticism or disdain by her male colleagues, except for Nick, who works for a Chicago newspaper and gives her the benefit of the doubt. She soon proves her merit and bravery in the middle of a covert operation in Cambodia, surviving capture by the Viet Cong, living in a bunker during a siege and chasing truths that the military denies and her fellow reporters doubt. Angela also finds romance in the midst of this chaos; eventually she must choose: her career or love. Angela’s determination is commendable as she forges ahead in spite of incredible dangers and an unconscionable lack of professional support. She’s a model for young women seeking equality in male-dominated professions. Some portions of the book are slow, but they accurately reflect the downtime journalists endure between scoops—hanging out at bars, drinking Scotch, swapping gossip and waiting for the next gig. The story picks up steam when Tuohy describes pivotal moments of the war: the Tet offensive, the siege of Khe Sanh, soldiers on the line and the horrific injuries they sustained, even the psychological torment of walking endlessly through the jungle. The action is riveting and the writing is clear, detailed and highly readable.

An engrossing portrait of a woman among men in wartime.