Sensational: The Hidden History of America’s “Girl Stunt Reporters” Audiobook, by Kim Todd Play Audiobook Sample

Sensational: The Hidden History of America’s “Girl Stunt Reporters” Audiobook

Sensational: The Hidden History of America’s “Girl Stunt Reporters” Audiobook, by Kim Todd Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Maggi-Meg Reed Publisher: HarperAudio Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 7.83 hours at 1.5x Speed 5.88 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: April 2021 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9780063071070

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

51:13 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

11 seconds

Average Chapter Length:

24:06 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Publisher Description

"A gripping, flawlessly researched, and overdue portrait of America’s trailblazing female journalists. Kim Todd has restored these long-forgotten mavericks to their rightful place in American history." Abbott Kahler, author (as Karen Abbott) of The Ghosts of Eden Park and Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy 

A vivid social history that brings to light the “girl stunt reporters” of the Gilded Age who went undercover to expose corruption and abuse in America, and redefined what it meant to be a woman and a journalist—pioneers whose influence continues to be felt today.

In the waning years of the nineteenth century, women journalists across the United States risked reputation and their own safety to expose the hazardous conditions under which many Americans lived and worked. In various disguises, they stole into sewing factories to report on child labor, fainted in the streets to test public hospital treatment, posed as lobbyists to reveal corrupt politicians. Inventive writers whose in-depth narratives made headlines for weeks at a stretch, these “girl stunt reporters” changed laws, helped launch a labor movement, championed women’s rights, and redefined journalism for the modern age.

The 1880s and 1890s witnessed a revolution in journalism as publisher titans like Hearst and Pulitzer used weapons of innovation and scandal to battle it out for market share. As they sought new ways to draw readers in, they found their answer in young women flooding into cities to seek their fortunes. When Nellie Bly went undercover into Blackwell’s Insane Asylum for Women and emerged with a scathing indictment of what she found there, the resulting sensation created opportunity for a whole new wave of writers. In a time of few jobs and few rights for women, here was a path to lives of excitement and meaning.

After only a decade of headlines and fame, though, these trailblazers faced a vicious public backlash. Accused of practicing “yellow journalism,” their popularity waned until “stunt reporter” became a badge of shame. But their influence on the field of journalism would arc across a century, from the Progressive Era “muckraking” of the 1900s to the personal “New Journalism” of the 1960s and ’70s, to the “immersion journalism” and “creative nonfiction” of today. Bold and unconventional, these writers changed how people would tell stories forever. 

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

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“A sensational adventure for the ears. Narrator Maggi-Meg Reed is the ideal choice to deliver these narratives of women journalists who donned disguises and affected alternate identities to go undercover…This is a terrific pairing of an impressive work of nonfiction and a splendid performer. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”

— AudioFile 


  • “Todd emulates her pioneering heroines to offer multidimensional examples of the revolutionary contributions women of this era made to journalism.”

    — Booklist
  • “This well-researched history makes clear the crucial role female reporters played in pioneering investigate journalism and boosting progressive reform movements.”

    — Publishers Weekly
  • “Gripping, flawlessly researched, and overdue.”

    — Abbott Kahler, author (as Karen Abbott) of The Ghosts of Eden Park


  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

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About Maggi-Meg Reed

Maggi-Meg Reed has performed as an actress and singer both on and off-Broadway. She is a narrator of many popular audiobooks, including A Very Long Engagement and The Time Traveler’s Wife. She is the winner of several AudioFile Earphones Awards.