Close-Up on War: The Story of Pioneering Photojournalist Catherine Leroy in Vietnam

Abrams/Amulet. Mar. 2022. 320p. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9781419746611.
Gr 7-10–Short in stature but a giant of determination, Catherine Leroy left France in 1966 to photograph the rising conflict in Vietnam. Though she had no journalism experience and had never even handled a camera, Leroy had an innate sense of the news and the confidence to ignore and overpower the sexism she confronted as the only female photojournalist. At 21, she traveled on helicopters with the troops, moved through jungles, went weeks without a shower, and gained the respect of the infantrymen. Farrell begins each chapter with portions of Leroy’s letters to her mother. These small peeks into her life are often in stark contrast with her deadly profession; she asks her mother to send clothes, money, and tampons. While telling Leroy’s story, Farrell also gives a compelling history into Vietnam and the events that led to the conflict. Life in Vietnam during the war is told in vivid detail, as is the hardship endured by soldiers and peasants. The book concludes with an examination of 1960s cameras, a glossary, time line, notes, and bibliography. 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.
VERDICT History buffs looking for a personal account of the war will enjoy this book. Recommended for schools and public libraries.

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