My review of Close-Up on War: The Story of Pioneering Photojournalist Catherine Leroy is on Amazon and Goodreads. However, I wanted to delve deeper into this book’s impact on me.
Although I’ve never wanted to read a book about the Vietnam War, the cover photograph pulled me in. It amazed me that I’d never heard of Catherine Leroy. Multiple posts on social media about the impact of women during this month were the final push to influence my purchase.
After unwrapping my copy, I photographed it on the feminine purple tissue paper, lovingly surrounding the gritty contents.
The quality of the paper in the book was like nothing I’d ever seen. Flipping through, it was apparent why the pages were high quality. It is littered with award-winning photographs by Catherine Leroy, her contemporaries, and official agencies.
As I began reading, I felt disappointed. Early chapters review the history of Viet Nam and set up the reader’s knowledge of the area. This type of information has always felt dry to me. Furthermore, I was thirteen in 1967 and saw live news reports about the conflict in Vietnam.
It seemed unnecessary to me until I began to imagine the young women reading this book. Then my attitude softened, and Mary Cronk Farrell’s words permeated my entire being.
My Interest Began to Rise
First, I appreciated the setup of terms in Chapter One once I started reading about Catherine Leroy’s connection to Southeast Asia. Then each chapter became more and more enjoyable.
I couldn’t put it down by the morning of my third reading day. So I finished it before eating a late breakfast near noon, tears running down my cheeks.
The rawness of Catherine’s experience is not for everyone, but her story is remarkable. I felt like I was there with Catherine Leroy as she began her career in photojournalism. As I continued to read how she broke the barriers of a woman photographing the horrors of war, my heart soared. This tiny woman stood tall among her male peers in courage, tenacity, humility, and compassion.
Mary Cronk Farrell has written a book that inspires all women to trust their instincts and follow their dreams. I gave my review of Close-Up on War five stars.