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From the acclaimed author of The Pattons and Patriot Pirates: a book celebrating America's early war correspondents--legends in their time, but mostly forgotten today--who learned their trade in the Civil War and went on to cover twenty years of bloody imperial conflict in Europe and Central Asia. Their harrowing experiences changed their politics, their youthful illusions of war's glory and thrill, and in some cases cost their lives, while also setting examples of globetrotting gallantry that would influence such iconic daredevils as Rudyard Kipling, Winston Churchill, and Theodore Roosevelt in the decades that followed.
It was the dawn of America's Gilded Age. Thanks to advances in the electric telegraph and the transatlantic cable, the reporters' dispatches were featured in daily newspapers that proliferated as never before on both sides of the Atlantic, driving public opinion and fueling political passions that wouldn't resolve until World War I. Inspired by history's first war correspondent, William H. Russell of The Times of London, they interpreted Russell's heartbreaking account of the Charge of Light Brigade not as tragedy but as grand adventure. Hard experience would teach them otherwise, yet the romance of their profession remained. Said one of them even after he'd lost his health, buried his friends, and seen the terrible truth of combat: To have lived at the very heart of everything that was most sensational in those sensational days--what joy! Their editors and newspaper owners treated them like cannon fodder, sending them repeatedly into harm's way to obtain the exclusive battlefield beat, but the reporters didn't mind. Even in bitter competition they were a brotherhood above all. Hell Before Breakfast is their marvelous story.