In The Double Life of Katharine Clark: The Untold Story of the Fearless Journalist Who Risked Her Life for Truth and Justice, debut author Katharine Gregorio tells the thrilling story of her great-aunt, the first American woman to work as a wire reporter behind the Iron Curtain. Gregorio recounts Clark's heroic efforts to spread the truth about Communism to the world.
From an early age, Clark exhibited a fearless independent streak that led her into the male-dominated world of journalism. Clark and her husband, a prominent Time-Life correspondent, were based in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, by the 1950s, covering a wide beat that included Hungary, Poland, Germany and Bulgaria. Clark followed the high-profile 1955 trial of Milovan Djilas, a high-ranking Communist leader in President Josip Broz Tito's Yugoslavian government. Djilas had dared to criticize the regime and, stripped of his posts and privileges, refused to be silenced. He reached out to Clark to publish his articles in the American press, and an abiding friendship developed, despite heavy surveillance by government agents. This resulted in Clark's most hair-raising episode: smuggling the second half of Djilas's manuscript, The New Class, out of Yugoslavia after he was imprisoned in 1956. Working carefully to shepherd both The New Class and Djilas's autobiography, Land Without Justice, to their eventual blockbuster publications, Clark led a "double life" as a journalist but also as an advocate and friend to a man who--in theory--should have been her enemy. Clark's story, finally told, reads like an espionage thriller in Gregorio's capable hands--with the added wallop of its being true. --Peggy Kurkowski, book reviewer and copywriter in Denver