Dorothy Thompson’s Warnings to the West
War correspondent, syndicated columnist, and public speaker, Dorothy Thompson was America’s leading voice against fascism and for supporting refugees before and during World War Two. She was the first American woman to lead a foreign press bureau and the first Western journalist expelled from Nazi Germany. Thompson’s reporting from Europe, with relevant warnings about the fragility of western civilization, inspired her husband, Nobel Prize-winner Sinclair Lewis, to write his 1936 (and 2016) bestseller “It Can’t Happen Here,” a satirical depiction of a fascist’s rise to power in America. Before her death, Dorothy Thompson advocated for international disarmament, world federation, and more women in positions of power, including a woman as U.S. president; some of her contemporaries even suggested her for the job.
As one of the leading journalists of her time, and with a reputation that bordered on legendary, Dorothy Thompson often risked her career and her life to learn the truth and report it to her readers and listeners – more than 10 million Americans every week.
Without Fear or Favor is the story of this extraordinary reporter’s professional, emotional, intellectual, political, and spiritual journey as an active participant in the 20th Century’s most transformational events: women’s suffrage, post-WWI reconstruction, the Great Depression, the rise of nationalism and fascism, World War II, the dawn of the nuclear age, and the Cold War.
A fearless and uncompromising truth-teller, Dorothy Thompson raised the alarm whenever threats to a free press and civil society appeared, and she expected her audience to rise to the challenge. She was committed to the defense of liberal democracy from enemies both foreign and domestic, and boldly personified the power of a free press and the Fourth Estate.
Many of Dorothy Thompson’s words and warnings still resonate today – some more loudly than in her own time.