The incredible story of Catherine Leroy, one of the few woman photographers during the Vietnam War, told by an award-winning journalist and children’s author
From award-winning journalist and children’s book author Mary Cronk Farrell comes the inspiring and fascinating story of the woman who gave a human face to the Vietnam War. Close-Up on War tells the story of French-born Catherine Leroy, one of the war’s few woman photographers, who documented some of the fiercest fighting in the 20-year conflict. Although she had no formal photographic training and had never traveled more than a few hundred miles from Paris before, Leroy left home at age 21 to travel to Vietnam and document the faces of war. Despite being told that women didn't belong in a “man’s world,” she was cool under fire, gravitated toward the thickest battles, went along on the soldiers’ slogs through the heat and mud of the jungle, crawled through rice paddies, and became the only official photojournalist to parachute into combat with American soldiers. Leroy took striking photos that gave America no choice but to look at the realities of war—showing what it did to people on both sides—from wounded soldiers to civilian casualties.
Later, Leroy was gravely wounded from shrapnel, but that didn’t keep her down more than a month. When captured by the North Vietnamese in 1968, she talked herself free after photographing her captors, scoring a cover story in Life magazine. A recipient of the George Polk Award, one of the most prestigious awards in journalism, Leroy was one of the most well-known photographers in the world during her time, and her legacy of bravery and compassion endures today.
Farrell interviewed people who knew Leroy, as well as military personnel and other journalists who covered the war. In addition to a preface by Pulitzer Prize-winning Vietnam War photographer Nick Ut and a foreword by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Peter Arnett, the book includes an author’s note, endnotes, bibliography, timeline, and index.
About the Author
Mary Cronk Farrell writes about women whose courage and strength have helped shape our history, including the book Fannie Never Flinched: One Woman’s Courage in the Struggle for American Labor Union (three starred reviews, Amelia Bloomer Project). Among her honors are the Western Writers SPUR Award for Best Juvenile Fiction, Washington State Book Award Finalist, Notable Social Studies Books for Young People and NY Public Library Best Books for Teens. She lives in Washington State.
"This excellently written account will leave readers marveling at Leroy’s determination, bravery, and disregard for her own safety as she documented what was happening in Vietnam. A riveting biography that puts an overlooked, award-winning female photojournalist into historical context."
— Kirkus Review
"Smooth, engaging writing nimbly avoids the doldrums of stats-saturated reportage, taking a human-interest approach to the war and putting readers directly in the action beside Leroy. . .Source notes, image credits, and a bibliography speak to Farrell’s diligent research into this inspiring but under-recognized woman’s life."
"This is really three books in one—it tells of the work of Leroy, describes the daily workings of war correspondents of that era, and gives a glimpse into life during the Vietnam War—excelling at each. History buffs looking for a personal account of the war will enjoy this book."
— School Library Journal
"Well-contextualized. . .Offering an intimate glimpse of the photographer’s personal observations and needs amid discussions of the war and of Leroy’s actions in Vietnam."
— Publishers Weekly
"Background on the course of the war during Leroy’s three years there is provided, and the inclusion of a raft of Leroy’s photographs ably convey information beyond history texts."
— The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Leroy is not as well-known as her male counterparts in Vietnam, but Farrell's gripping biography has the potential to put a significant dent in that discrepancy. She brings her audience face-to-face with the determination, compassion and fortitude of this groundbreaking woman. Readers who meet Leroy through Close-Up on War will not forget her."