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Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival
 
 
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Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival [Bargain Price] [Paperback]

Anderson Cooper
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (307 customer reviews)


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.

From Publishers Weekly

HarperCollins touts the handsome, prematurely gray host of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360°as the "prototype for a twenty-first century newsman." Sadly, that statement is all too true. This brief, self-involved narrative reaffirms a troubling cultural shift in news coverage: journalists used to cover the story; now, more than ever, they are the story. Cooper is an intrepid reporter: he's traveled to tsunami-ravaged Asia, famine-plagued Niger, war-torn Somalia and Iraq, and New Orleans post-Katrina. Here, however, the plights of the people and places he visits take a backseat to the fact that Cooper is, well, there. The Yale-educated son of heiress and designer Gloria Vanderbilt weaves personal tragedies (at 10, he lost his father to heart disease and later his older brother to suicide) awkwardly into far graver stories of suffering he's observing. Even when he plies the reader with his own unease ("the more sadness I saw, the more success I had") and obliquely decries TV news's demand for images of extreme misery ("merely sick won't warrant more than a cut-away shot"), he seems to place himself in front of his subjects. Cooper is an intelligent, passionate man and he may be a terrific journalist. But this book leaves one feeling he's little more than a television personality. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

This hunky--but taken seriously, nevertheless--CNN reporter and anchor really made a name for himself during his sensitive live coverage of the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. But Cooper, as he makes graphically and poignantly clear in this memoir of his journalistic career, has been in several other hot spots around the world as well, learning his trade in a big way and earning his stripes to move up the news-show ladder. In straightforward yet passionate prose, the author recounts his experiences not only in Louisiana and Mississippi but also in sniper-riddled Sarajevo, famine-plagued Niger, tsunami-destroyed Southeast Asia, and civil-war-ravaged Somalia. At the same time, Cooper takes a look inward, at his motivations in gravitating to dangerous adventures, and at his family history and his relations to his late father and brother and his famous mother (Gloria Vanderbilt, for those who didn't know). He scrutinizes how those relations helped formulate his life view and compelled him to follow his dreams and desires. Cooper is both respected and popular; expect the same attitude toward his book. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Cooper is a storyteller with plenty of heart. . . . A smart, soulful pageturner.” (People )

“Powerful. . . . Packs a visceral punch. . . . Cooper opens a tantalizing window into his own soul.” (USA Today )

“Cooper weaves his experiences at CNN into a moving memoir.” (Newsweek )

About the Author

Anderson Cooper joined CNN in 2001 and has anchored his own program, Anderson Cooper 360°, since 2003. He had previously served as a correspondent for ABC News and was a foreign correspondent for Channel One News. Cooper has won several awards for his work, including an Emmy. He graduated from Yale University in 1989 and also studied Vietnamese at the University of Hanoi. He writes regularly for Details magazine.

From AudioFile

Anderson Cooper has a pleasant, distinctive, and recognizable voice, but that's not the reason he's effective as the reader of this memoir of war, disasters, and survival. The book is a compelling listen because Cooper is a talented writer, filling his text with riveting images and compelling phrases. For example, writing about tsunami victims dying after being thrown through the roof of a house needs no vocal enhancement. The images speak for themselves. But Cooper's reading is not without energy and emotion. He parcels them out, using them for effect at just the right moments. Cooper moves effectively between reporting on the cataclysmic events of 2005 (from the tsunami through Hurricane Katrina) and reflecting on his childhood and early professional career. His discussion of the death of his father is particularly moving. The audio concludes with an interesting interview with the author. R.C.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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