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Nellie Bly: Daredevil, Reporter, Feminist
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Nellie Bly: Daredevil, Reporter, Feminist

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  144 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
Now in paperback--the acclaimed biography of Nellie Bly, the "thrilling account of a trailblazer" (Pat Morrison, Los Angeles Times Book Review). "Kroeger's biography of Nellie Bly moves at almost as fast a pace as did Bly's remarkable life".--Mindy Spatt, San Francisco Chronicle. Photos & illustrations.
Paperback, 0 pages
Published March 14th 1995 by Three Rivers Press (first published 1994)
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Aug 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
I love reading about unorthodox, adventurous, Victorian-era women and had recently wanted to know more about Nellie Bly.

Kroeger's portrait of Bly is both thorough and balanced. I came away with less respect for Bly than I thought I would, but I learned more about her than I had hoped. I also came away with respect for the author.
Feb 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
"Nellie Bly: Professional Badass" could have been the title. This is an exhaustive biography, sometimes too exhaustive, of a woman who has been predominantly ignored by history. Kroeger's writing is mostly engaging, though it gets dry and perhaps TOO in depth in parts.

This book left me wanting to know more about the lost history of amazing women in the United States.
May 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-bio
While the author makes it clear that she has a huge appreciation for Nellie Bly, she isn't blind to Ms. Bly's faults. This is one of the most detailed and clear sited biographies that I've read about America's most famous pioneering female reporter.

Elizabeth "Pink" Cochrane (aka Nellie Bly) saw first hand what happened to women when they had no control over their own lives - they were completely dependent on men, and when those men made disaterous decisions, their wives and children suffered. As
Jul 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who like biographies & books about journalism & pioneering women
Because I like biographies, and books about journalists and pioneering women, this book was perfect for me, plus it was well researched and well written. I would like to own a copy to pass down to my daughters and granddaughters.
I sought out this biography of Nellie Bly because I had recently read Bly's Ten Days in a Mad-House and that left me curious to know more about her. According to author Brooke Kroeger's introduction, this is the first biography ever of Bly that was written for an adult audience. (There have been a number of children's books about her famous trip around the world.)

Bly led an interesting life; she was a pioneering female journalist and also an initially successful industrialist. The journalism cha
Alice Vachss
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Every New Yorker who loves investigative journalism has heard the story of the long-ago woman reporter brave enough to fake insanity, get committed to the New York Women's Lunatic Asylum, and expose from the inside the cruelty and abuse prevalent on that infamous island in the East River. Until I started this book, I didn't remember that her pen name was Nellie Bly nor about the rest of her outrageous life. Brooke Kroeger is an imminently fair biographer. She lets her subject speak for herself s ...more
I first heard about Nellie Bly because of Drunk History but hadn't given her much thought since then. Recently, I found out about a podcast called History Chicks and a related book club here on One of the episodes was about Nellie Bly and this biography was the most recent book of the month. I am not a nonfiction reader, no matter how much I want to be. To me, reading nonfiction takes too much concentration and it is, by definition, reality. As I tell people, I live in reality and ...more
Jun 17, 2018 rated it liked it
A VERY long biography of a very interesting woman. This book details different stages of Nellie Bly's life in intricate detail. It also delves deeply into the history of women reporters. In the beginning sections, I found it quite compelling reading. I especially enjoyed the verbatim snippets of her actual articles, which give a picture of her as well as a good feel for the times. However, my interest flagged as it got bogged down in the intricate details of her legal struggles surround her busi ...more
It was definitely interesting to read of the life of Nellie Bly and what she did for women in reporting. I found her story sad because she was so often taken advantage of. Though to me it did come off as if she were a little to trusting and willing to let family or other people take over management of important aspects of her life. Is that merely a sign of her times and how hard it was for women to control anything about their own lives?
Stine Diamond-owens
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Impressively researched. Writer committed a major information dump that made you wonder where her editor had gone when this went to publish. Despite the author's note professing her long-admiration for Ms Bly she presented as if Bly were constantly on trial, failing by oceans to create any connection with the reader and main character. Not good for a book club. Mine wanted to lynch me, and frankly I was ready to give them the rope.
Peter Goodman
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing

“Nellie Bly: Daredevil; Reporter; Feminist,” by Brooke Kroeger (Times Books, 1994). Kroeger could have included “industrialist” and “inventor” in that subtitle. Before reading this book, all I knew about Nellie Bly was that it was the name of an amusement park on the water side of the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn, between Coney Island and Fort Hamilton. Turns out that Nellie Bly (born Mary Jane Cochran in 1864) was, on her death in 1922, declared “the best reporter in America” by Arthur Brisbane, wh
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a well researched biography. I look forward to sharing it with my granddaughter when she is older.
Susan O
Until recently, my knowledge of Nellie Bly was limited to her 10 days in a mental institution and her race around the world, both stunts she performed for the sake of newspaper articles. Then I read a blurb which listed some of her other accomplishments. Of course in typical fashion, I can't remember where that was, but it prompted me to read a biography to learn more about her.

Kroeger's book is well-written, very well-researched, and full of details, in some cases more than I wanted. Bly seems
Andrea Blythe
Nov 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Nellie Bly was all kinds of awesome and apparently was the basis for the character Lois Lane (according to Sarah Rees Brennan in her blog, which is quite entertaining and inspired me to read more about Nellie). Bly virtually invented and became known for "stunt reporting" in which she would go undercover in dangerous situations and then tell all. For example, she tricked hospital staff into thinking she was insane and then wrote and expose on conditions inside. She accepted the challenge of Jule ...more
Jan 24, 2008 rated it it was ok
Nellie Bly was a daredevil! She feigned insanity to gain admittance to a notorious insane asylum, then wrote about its horrors. She packed a handbag and went around the world in 72 days to best the fictional Jules Verne character's journey. She reported from the eastern front of World War I. She changed the world of journalism almost purely by the force of her very strong nature. I was glad to learn more about this woman who so strongly influenced American opinion in the late-19th/early-20th cen ...more
Aug 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When my children were little, we read the Value Tale about Nellie Bly, the intrepid reporter who began her career in the 1880s--going undercover posing as an inmate to expose abuses in a women's insane asylum and then traveling around the world in 72 days (beating the fictional record set in the Jules Verne novel). Brooke Kroeger's biography illuminates these accomplishments and provides a fascinating look at the early years of Bly's life and how her experiences shaped her approach to her varied ...more
Glen Pekin
Jan 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
I have to recommend this one to anyone interested in newspaper reporting during the 1890's. I thought Ms. Kroeger did a great job researching. The only chapter that flagged was the one on lawsuits but I bet someone interested in the specifics of how bankers could steal companies would find it very interesting. Quite a tale of corporate takeover. The snippets of Bly's writing make one want to look up some of her articles and read them. The remarkable life a young determined lady turning into a st ...more
Jul 07, 2008 rated it liked it
i read this for a biography for a school project, and it was pretty interesting, as she climbed her way up in the world. not content with the traditional role of female reporter, she was one of the first "muckrakers" and became a leading journalist. the problem with the book was it began to drag at the end, when her exploits consisted mostly of business endeavors. but overall, an interesting read.
Apr 19, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a fairly complete portrait of Nelly Bly (at least in my uneducated opinion), but the chief problem is that Bly did not keep a diary, or many personal records. The result is that the author's portrayal of Bly centers around her news articles and litigation cases, which starts to get a bit old a couple of hundred pages into the book. I find it disappointing when I read about heroes, and read about their reputations being raked through the mud, and there is plenty of that here.
Diane Heath
Aug 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
When my oldest son was a boy we had a series of children's books that told "biographies" of famous people. One of them was Nellie Bly. It seemed mostly to tell of her trip around the world in less than 80 days. I found this book at the library and thought I would read it to finally find out more about Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Cochran aka Pink). I am not sure if Nellie Bly is still as well-known but based on the information in this biograpy, she should be.
Sep 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a well researched book on a fascinating and not well-documented woman. Every young woman should read about her life. She was, as we all are, flawed but a remarkable person for what she accomplished at that time. In my eyes she was a success because she had a very interesting life and you can't get better than that. In the book they describe her winning smile again and again but there is not one photo of her smiling in it. The photos of the time I guess. Too bad.
Rena Glubay
I enjoyed this book even though I didn't finish it. I am amazed that Kroeger was able to generate a 600 page book when there is so few remaining documents about Bly's life. It is a good read but I had read another book that was a higher level summary and found I wasn't as interested in more detail of Bly's life as I thought I would be.
Elaine Hoffer
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun read. I read about Nellie Bly in high school and it was fun to reread about her again. She was really a woman before her time - in that she traveled the world and reported on conditions that most people would have ignored. I really enjoyed it and it was fun looking forward to a new chapter in the paper each Monday.
Feb 11, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very long, detailed book on Nellie Bly's life. At times I thoroughly enjoyed it, and others it felt a little tedious. I'm glad I finished it, and I definitely know a lot about Nellie Bly.
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Nellie Bly's been a hero of mine since childhood when I read a book of her real life adventures. This was a great find for me years ago, the first real definitive book of her life not geared towards kids.
Feiya Wang
Sep 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Only actually got 33% through. It just wasn't the most engaging book and because I read it for a book club, after the meeting, I'm unmotivated to finish it.
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Nellie Bly was truly an extraordinary woman. I read this book in middle school and yet can still recall how impressed I was by her initiative and daring as a journalist.
Nov 17, 2008 rated it liked it
I wanted more on the early muckracking stuff--the part about ten days in a madhouse was disappointingly short.
Nellie Bly led quite the life. I found her story to be an interesting read filled with real life adventure, and conflict, and kindness in the end.
Stephen Goldin
Dec 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The mosst exhaustively researched book about the life of a true American original.
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