Hell Before Breakfast: America's First War Correspondents (Paperback)

Hell Before Breakfast: America's First War Correspondents Cover Image


From acclaimed historian Robert H. Patton, author of The Pattons and Patriot Pirates, a rediscovery and celebration of America’s first chroniclers of foreign war. 

The first war correspondent, William H. Russell of The Times of London, described himself and his profession as “the miserable parent of a luckless tribe.” But it wasn’t long before others saw it differently. Hell Before Breakfast is the spectacular tale of larger-than-life Americans who made it their business to bring back news from the front; from Bull Run to the Paris Commune, from Africa to the Ottoman Empire, through decades of lightning-fast technological progress and high adventure.  As America matured into a great power and the monarchies of Europe battled for dominance through a series of brief, bloody imperial wars, with the storm clouds of World War I drawing rapidly closer, these men and their newspapers were at center stage—the vanguard of a golden age of war correspondence.   

About the Author

Robert H. Patton graduated from Brown University and Northwestern University. He is the author of, among other works, The Pattons: A Personal History of an American Family and Patriot Pirates: The Privateer War for Freedom and Fortune in the American Revolution. He lives with his wife and family in Darien, Connecticut.

Praise For…

“Robert H. Patton paints a vivid picture of those nearly inconceivable times through the eyes of those who wrote about major historical events.”
—The Washington Post
 “A highly entertaining window into a long-lost, quintessentially 19th-century world of wars great and small and of the brave and resourceful men who covered them... Tells the story of the early years of this new profession and its practitioners with considerable gusto… [Patton] is a graceful writer… A great tale.”
The Wall Street Journal

Hell Before Breakfast takes us from the battlefields of Bull Run and Antietam to Europe’s bloodiest pre-World War I conflicts... their intriguing tales, enough for three books, are worthy of resurrection.  Patton’s account showcases innovation, bravado, and showmanship... Patton’s spirited chronicle evokes a lost age of journalism.”
Boston Globe

“[Patton] tells this story with readability and color that would have made a newspaperman of that era proud… Engrossing.”
New York Journal of Books
“Patton follows a dozen of the 19th century's best war correspondents, from the battlefields of the Civil War to the deserts of Central Asia.  The portraits -- of American, French, German, Russian and Turkish men and officers -- are sharply drawn, and some of the scoops, like the ‘Bulgarian Horrors’ of 1876 still send a chill up the spine.”
—Geoffrey Wawro, author of A Mad Catastrophe and Director, University of North Texas Military History Center.
Epic…splendidly written…Patton has once again proven that he is a gifted writer with a keen eye for chronicling their tales in a way that is both entertaining and insightful.”
—Carlo D’Este, author of Patton: A Genius For War and Warlord: A Life of Churchill at War, 1874-1945
“A fascinating cast of characters…Patton details major conflagrations and social and technological changes amid the gore of war and the prose of reporters of another era.”

Product Details
ISBN: 9781101910498
ISBN-10: 1101910496
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: June 9th, 2015
Pages: 368
Language: English