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Crossing the Pass of Clouds - An Army Photographer's Vietnam Journal

Crossing the Pass of Clouds

An Army Photographer's Vietnam Journal

By Lon Holmberg
Hardcover : 9781496855329, 208 pages, 147 b&w photographs, March 2025
Expected to ship: 2025-03-17

An extraordinarily up-close and personal photography collection and journal of the last years of the Vietnam War


Crossing the Pass of Clouds: An Army Photographer’s Vietnam Journal is an intimate portrait of the last years of the Vietnam War in 147 black-and-white pictures and a series of vignettes written by photographer Lon Holmberg. As the photographer for American Commanding General Creighton Abrams, Holmberg had the opportunity to document pivotal moments involving a range of influential historical figures. Among the many remarkable images Holmberg has captured are photographs of South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu, US Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger during his journey to China, a trip that paved the way for President Nixon’s historic visit the following year.

In Crossing the Pass of Clouds, Holmberg presents a captivating and deeply personal account of his experiences during his service as an army photographer in Vietnam in 1971. Through a combination of vivid narration and poignant images, this memoir provides an intimate glimpse into the complexities of the Vietnam War and its aftermath, both for the country and for the narrator. Holmberg recounts his assignment in the Ashau Valley in the north (a significant infiltration route for the North Vietnamese Army); a daring reconnaissance mission across the border in Laos; and his time at a firebase in central Vietnam near the enigmatic Hai Van Pass (known in English as the Pass of Clouds). Yet even as Holmberg’s photographs look squarely at the realities of war, they also explore beyond it, illuminating the faded elegance of Saigon, the lives of indigenous communities and of farmers working in fields, and the eventual transition of Vietnam into an industrialized society.


"Crossing the Pass of Clouds is a layered tale well told. The photographs are superb. This is as good as it gets in Vietnam War memoirs."

- Robert K. Brigham, author of This Is a True War Story: An Adoptee’s Memoir