Fighting for the News

The Adventures of the First War Correspondents from Bonaparte to the Boers

Brian Best

Date Published :
November 2016
Publisher :
Frontline Books
Illustration :
16 illustrations
No associated books available.


It is now two centuries since a newspaper conceived the idea of sending a reporter overseas to observe, gather information and write about war.

With no experience to draw upon, both newspaper and correspondent gradually worked out a procedure that has evolved into today’s incredibly sophisticated and unrecognizable form.

The first special correspondent employed by a newspaper to gather information about a current war was Henry Crabb Robinson. In 1807, the proprietor of The Times, John Walter II, sent this thirty-two-year-old lawyer to act as their ‘man in Germany’, ostensibly to follow and report the movements of Napoleon’s Grande Armée. He was almost arrested, escaping from the Continent in disguise, the first of the many exploits and adventures of this bold group of individuals undertook to bring news from the seat of war.

This included William Russell in the Crimean War, whose reports helped bring down the Government, and perhaps the most famous correspondent of all, Winston Churchill, who reported on conflicts in Cuba, the Indian frontier, Sudan and the Boer War.

About The Author

BRIAN BEST has an honors degree in South African History and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He was the founder of the Victoria Cross Society in 2002 and edits its Journal. He also lectures about the Victoria Cross and war art.


"Reporters have an important job to do - this book reveals some of the hazards of reporting from the front line and the risks taken by members of a profession that doesn't have a terribly good reputation..."

- Books Monthly

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