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In 2005, two tragedies--the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina--turned CNN reporter Anderson Cooper into a media celebrity. Dispatches from the Edge, Cooper's memoir of "war, disasters and survival," is a brief but powerful chronicle of Cooper's ascent to stardom and his struggle with his own tragedies and demons. Cooper was 10 years old when his father, Wyatt Cooper, died during heart bypass surgery. He was 20 when his beloved older brother, Carter, committed suicide by jumping off his mother's penthouse balcony (his mother, by the way, being Gloria Vanderbilt). The losses profoundly affected Cooper, who fled home after college to work as a freelance journalist for Channel One, the classroom news service. Covering tragedies in far-flung places like Burma, Vietnam, and Somalia, Cooper quickly learned that "as a journalist, no matter ... how respectful you are, part of your brain remains focused on how to capture the horror you see, how to package it, present it to others." Cooper's description of these horrors, from war-ravaged Baghdad to famine-wracked Niger, is poignant but surprisingly unsentimental. In Niger, Cooper writes, he is chagrined, then resigned, when he catches himself looking for the "worst cases" to commit to film. "They die, I live. It's the way of the world," he writes. In the final section of Dispatches, Cooper describes covering Hurricane Katrina, the story that made him famous. The transcript of his showdown with Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu (in which Cooper tells Landrieu people in New Orleans are "ashamed of what is happening in this country right now") is worth the price of admission on its own. Cooper's memoir leaves some questions unanswered--there's frustratingly little about his personal life, for example--but remains a vivid, modest self-portrait by a man who is proving himself to be an admirable, courageous leader in a medium that could use more like him. --Erica C. Barnett --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Most listeners will already be familiar with Anderson Cooper's dangerous field reporting on CNN. While this autobiography is heavy with those tales of wars and natural disasters, it is also rife with a surprising number of very personal incidents and revelations. His straightforward reading of his on-camera adventures is clear and engaging. But what keeps this reading from being great is his detachment. Perhaps because he has spent his professional life trying to be objective in his role as a journalist (although it could be argued that he became a media star when that facade cracked during his coverage of Hurricane Katrina) the more personal bits of the book are spoken with a level of distance that doesn't quite match up with the subject matter, especially when dealing with such delicate personal issues as his feelings concerning the suicide of his brother. Anderson is a sensational writer and reporter, but this mixture of public and private dispatches would have more power if he'd let his professional persona slip more.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Anderson Cooper is brutally honest about his personal losses as well as wonderfully descriptive about all the world events he has covered over the years. Excellent book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Carla Kann
Who doesn't love that sweet faced Anderson? I see on television the emotion he feels when he is off on assignment. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Sara / Gull Cottage
I am glad this was not a gift for a friend, The jacket was a little ragged. One other problem, the spine of the jacket had some kind of blue price tag, showing $2.00. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Diana Lewis
Excellent read. Well written. Heart touching. Amazing to see Anderson on CNN and to realize all he's been through in his life.Published 2 months ago by D. Jeana Stone
I heard him talk about a great deal of this at a seminar he gave recently. He barely touched on his brother's suicide, yet I kept wondering how that would impact a 21 year old. Read morePublished 4 months ago by susan dana kennedy
What a fascinating story Anderson has to tell. From the nostalgic moments spent with his dad as a child, the devastating events in his life, his initiatives to report on the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Elizabeth Echavarria
Anderson Cooper is my hero. Ever since I saw his coverage of Katrina and he snapped at Senator Landrieu...I keep hoping that he runs for office one day.Published 4 months ago by Nick Manix