Close Up on War by Mary Cronk Farrell

Tuesday, March 22, 2022 - 7:00pm


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.


Local favorite Mary Cronk Farrell will join us March 22nd at 7pm for an evening celebrating the release of her new book, Close up on War. She'll be discussing it with Clarie Rudolph Murphy, Christopher Howell, Liliana Kaneshige, and Stanton Inzer. 




About the book: 

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 foreword by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Peter Arnot, the book includes a preface, author's note, endnotes, bibliography, timeline, and index.


About the author: 

Mary Cronk Farrell, a former Spokane TV journalist, now write books for young people, telling stories of little-known women whose strength and courage helped shape our history. Her work aims to shine a light in shadowy forgotten corners and empower us all to use our voices constructively for what we believe. Mary's recent titles include critically acclaimed Pure Grit: How American World War II Nurses survived Battle and Prison Camp in the Pacific, and Fannie Never Flinched: One Woman's Courage in the Struggle for American Labor Union Rights. Her honors include the SPUR Award for Best Juvenile Fiction, NY Public Library Best Books for Teens, Banks Street College Best Books for Children and nomination for the Washington State Book Award. 


About the panelists

Christopher Howell has published twelve collections of poetry, received three Pushcart Prizes, two National Endowment fellowships and among other awards, his Light’s Ladder won the Washington State Book Award in 2005.  His poems, essays, and translations have appeared in many anthologies and journals. Before he became a poet and professor of creative writing, Howell was a journalist with the United State Navy during the Vietnam War.

Claire Rudolf Murphy is a local award-winning author of seventeen books of fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults. Her most recent, Martin and Bobby: A Journey Toward Justice is her most personal book. As a teen in the 1960s, Claire lived during the inspiring leadership of both men, including the Vietnam War, Civil Rights and the aftermath of Martin Luther King Jr’s and Bobby Kennedy’s tragic deaths in 1968. Kirkus Reviews called the book, “Powerful, engaging, and enlightening.” Claire teaches in the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Hamline University.

Liliana Kaneshige


Photography Editor Gonzaga Student Publications


Stanton Inzer

Stan served with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam June 1968-June 1969 with a combat infantry company as a machine-gunner. He was wounded December 19, 1968, by a Chinese Communist grenade but refused to Medivac out to continue fighting with his understaffed combat company.

Spokane Valley Vietnam Veteran

Vice President, Vietnam Veterans of America #879


Event address: 
Close-Up on War: The Story of Pioneering Photojournalist Catherine Leroy in Vietnam By Mary Cronk Farrell, Nick Ut (Preface by), Peter Arnett (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Mary Cronk Farrell, Nick Ut (Preface by), Peter Arnett (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781419746611
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Amulet Books - March 22nd, 2022

The inspiring and fascinating true story of Catherine Leroy, one of the few women photographers covering the Vietnam War who gave a human face to the conflict, told by award-winning journalist and children’s book author Mary Cronk Farrell.
Close-Up on War tells the story of French-born photographer Catherine Leroy, who documented some of the fiercest fighting