Virginia Cowles was raised in Boston, where she "came out" as a society debutante in 1928. She then got a job with the North American Newspaper Alliance and later as a roving correspondent for The Sunday Times of London. She first wrote for the gossip columns and on topics such as fashion and love, before moving on to politics and war. She became a well-known journalist, with a reputation for boldness and tenacity, with columns appearing on both sides of the Atlantic in the 1930s. Her first book, Looking for Trouble (1941), described how she started out for Madrid in 1936 with a freelance newspaper assignment and wound up covering the Civil War in Spain. There she met Martha Gelhorn, with whom she later co-wrote the 1946 play, Love Goes to Press, about a group of war correspondents on the Italian front. She interviewed Churchill, the Nazi leaders, and Mussolini. During World War II, she covered events such as the Italian campaign, the winter war between Finland and Russia, the liberation of Paris, and the Allied invasion of Germany. She received the Order of the British Empire in 1947 for her war reporting. In 1945, Miss Cowles married Aidan Crawley, a writer and Member of Parliament, and the couple had three children. Her many nonfiction books included The Phantom Major, Great Marlborough and His Duchess, No Cause for Alarm, How America is Governed, Winston Churchill: The Era and the Man, The Romanovs, Edward VII and His Circle (1956), and The Rothschilds (1973).