192 of 209 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave memoir
Too often, those we see on television are packaged into a personality that is devoid of inner demons- everything is slick and beautiful. Anderson Cooper lets us inside of the pain in his life and his imperfections and the road he has travelled in dealing with his demons. Of course, we also read about the man we see on television- deeply caring and willing to ask the very...
Published on May 23, 2006 by Nor'easter
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Honest & Personal Perspective
Cooper's book is compelling because it is an honest and highly personal account in addition to being a reportage montage. The juxtaposition of his reporting experiences, which are mostly revealed in a sequential manner, with his family story makes this the book it is.
Cooper juxtaposes his reporting experience from the Tsunami to Somalia, Niger and Iraq to...
Published on May 1, 2007 by George H. Garfield
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192 of 209 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave memoir,
Too often, those we see on television are packaged into a personality that is devoid of inner demons- everything is slick and beautiful. Anderson Cooper lets us inside of the pain in his life and his imperfections and the road he has travelled in dealing with his demons. Of course, we also read about the man we see on television- deeply caring and willing to ask the very hard questions in any situation. I admire Mr. Cooper for his honesty about the inner turmoils of his life and the truly sincere caring he brings to every story he covers. And for those who think he is on an ego trip talking about his wounded youth- wake up! Our pasts are a deeply ingrained part of every one of us and sometimes we do not integrate the pain of a wounded childhood until we are adults and in Anderson's case until he has witnessed the most obscene of suffering on this earth. Kudos- a very well written first book from Mr. Cooper.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and literate,
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I just finished Dispatches from the Edge, and found myself close to tears as I read the final pages. While ultimately uplifting, Cooper, I think, writes of the search that many of us go through to bring meaning to pain and loss. While searching for some solace, he finds a way to illuminate the tragedies of others. He recognizes, due to his own famous family, that there is a balance that constantly has to be examined between reporting and voyeurism, and seem to work to always keep the scales in order.
For those expecting straight reporting, there will be disappointment, for there is more of a blend of narrative and recollection, and the mix brings an interesting melancholy to scenes already overwhelmingly sad. Cooper's loss, both of his father and his brother, color much of his reporting, and rather than detracting from it, adds a great deal of emotional context.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Really 360 Degrees But a Sharp and Swift Memoir of a Reporter on the Rise,
Deemed by CNN programming executive Jonathan Klein as the "anchorperson of the future", Anderson Cooper has experienced the type of meteoric rise that is bound to draw critical diatribes as well as hosannas. Based on personal journals he has kept, his newly published book will unlikely shift opinions drastically, but this relatively brief memoir does provide an intriguing, sometimes poignant portrait of a man who let his natural curiosity of the world fester into a career in television journalism. As the son of writer Wyatt Cooper and heiress/blue jean magnate Gloria Vanderbilt, he was a child of privilege. At the same time, he was driven to find his own identity in light of deep personal tragedies, which by far, provide the most absorbing passages in his book.
His father died during open heart surgery at the age of fifty, and a decade later in 1988, his brother Carter jumped off the balcony of their mother's apartment. It was this senseless suicide that pushed Cooper to become a reporter, first with the youth-oriented Channel One and then ABC, traveling with his own video camera to dangerous regions of the world like Myanmar, Somalia, Bosnia and Rwanda. These passages are filled with vivid impressions of poverty, starvation and the personal impact of war. It becomes clear through Cooper's writing that he was seeking an escape from the personal pain he felt from his brother's premature death.
Ironically, the least interesting parts of the book have to do with his move to CNN. In spite of his sharp accounts about the Indian Ocean tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, especially expressive in his frustration with the minimal government support for the victims, he comes across a bit too pat and expeditious in his coverage of these events and the impact on him personally. Perhaps because so much has been covered by CNN, we take for granted that Cooper will provide more than a general hope for humanity. Regardless, the book provides a glimpse into a television personality who has used his own experiences with tragedy as a supremely empathetic means toward addressing the broader-based tragedies he covers. I look forward to his next set of memoirs.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ANDERSON'S BRILLIANT PERSONAL and INVESTIGATIVE '360 DEGREE' BOOK,
Five "Brilliant" Stars!! It's like Anderson Cooper started writing about what he found in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and his life literally began to seep through the pages: a brilliant, opportunistic, tragic, and ultimately triumphant life which is a tremendous 'focus lens' that he uses to view everything from distant wars to a rampaging Tsunami to Niger, to Hurricane Katrina. He touches on that life in the Introduction dropping us into his life at age 10 and intersperses "his" story around "their" stories throughout the remainder of the book.
I first encountered Anderson Cooper when he and Alison Stewart did the ABC late night news and those two kept alot of Americans up late as they chatted about and around the news. Even then you could tell those two were destined for great things: she's now doing "The Most" on MSNBC and Anderson is "the big news guy" replacing Aaron Brown on CNN's prime time news, called "Anderson Cooper 360". Now he's being paid the big bucks for stories that he once did for free as a correspondent with a fake press pass for the unsuspecting "Channel One".
I was surprised that what I expected to be exclusively about Hurricane Katrina became something so personal: about his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, and the tragedies of his father's and his brother's deaths. The fact that both mother and surviving son have successfully dealt with these tragedies has done nothing but made them strong and allowed them to move on. In reporting on Katrina, the Tsunami, Iraq, Niger, and the other locales, Anderson takes no prisoners in assessing the damage to lives and property. This is an engrossing, sometimes shocking, and truly informative personal memoir and investigative reporting. May Anderson Cooper find himself "never having to slow down, never having to land". Five Big Investigative Stars!!
*Never one to leave a deep subject alone, Anderson Cooper is broadcasting similar stories under the title of "Dispatches from Katrina" on his CNN "360 Degree" cable show, as I write this review.
*This review of based on an EBook digital download. Save a tree, download your books whenever possible. Publishers, please do offer all books in digital formats.)
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars seemlessly woven,
I appreciated the way Cooper wove his personal life and honest emotions into his work as a journalist. Some other reviewer asked, "What's the point?" The point of any memoir is to get a flavor of the how, why, and what of a person's life. And to learn how they make sense of it. Cooper does this honestly. He often blatently describes such things as his need to enter into tragedy as an escape from personal tragedy-- or a way to stay "in motion." Yet, it is in these stories and experiences ie: Katrina, Sri Lanka, that Cooper finds the voice, and the emotions--the whole or sense of his life-- and communicates that to us. The tragedies are not ones he 'uses' as someone else wrote, but they are mirrors. A big difference! Cooper's vulnerablity (what makes readers interested),and ability to gain the reader's attention by accessible, clear and passionate writing is a success.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A world of pain,
This is the story of how a little boy's heart broke, so that he decided to bury the pain deep within. Little did he know that you cannot bury one feeling without burying most others as well. Carrying this well of pent-up emotions, feeling cut off, he spent years going to the worse places on earth, hoping to learn how other people dealt with overwhelming pain, and how they survived it. He frantically ran away from his internal demons by facing death and loss in their worse forms, and only the most extreme conditions made him feel alive.
In 2005, the dam finally broke. The long denied pain came seeping out, then rushing out, and the man finally reconnected with his emotions and himself, in an excruciating but life-saving hurricane of grief.
Anderson is very candid in giving us access to the pain he kept repressing. He explains how he had compartmentalized his life in order to handle it. But the truth is, we can't help but feel he has opened but one compartment in this book. The box "loss, death and grief" is generously shared. But it is not enough because we guess there is a lot more to Anderson than what is revealed there. We never get a sense of who he really is, what makes him get up in the morning, what he loves and hates. This book is a splendid display of opening up while at the same time keeping a huge part hidden. And Anderson fails to ever rise high above his experiences in order to view them in an all-encompassing perspective. Perhaps it is because, as he says, "he doesn't wear his opinions on his sleeve", but what better place than this book to have and express one's opinions? If he has developed mottos, convictions, a philosophy of life, after all he has seen, he doesn't really share them.
What's more, for those who have followed his career closely, the book offers little new material. Between the segments on his show, the Details articles, the interviews and articles published about him, and his parent's books, most of what's in "Dispatches" has already been published or aired. However, there's probably only a minority of people who followed him this closely. It is very well written and twice, his narrative reaches literature level.
We close the book full of compassion for him, and hoping he has finally come full circle, that his life will now be different and he might no longer have the compulsion to cover the worst disasters our world has to offer.
Still, while seemingly baring it all, Anderson manages to keep us at arm length.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book Filled with Suffering and Tragedy,
Although this book is only 207 pages long Anderson Cooper has done a masterful job in tying together his own personal tragedy of losing both his father and brother at a young age, but also his experiences covering tragedies around the world. What I admire most about Mr. Cooper is his desire to put his own life at risk, and be a first rate reporter while helping people in some small way when his personal wealth would make it possible for him to live a life of ease. This is a book filled with tragedies, most notably hurricane Katrina in August of 2005, but also the tsunami in Sri Lanka, the starvation in Africa, and the war in Sarajevo. Anderson Cooper is a credit to himself and to CNN.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A heroic effort,
"Dispatches from the Edge" is a very courageous recount of the personal tragedies that Cooper has suffered in his life. He makes no effort to sprinkle the truth with rose petals. It is honest writing that stems straight from the heart. There is never a dull moment; this book will hook you from start to finish.
Despite his background, Cooper was able to cultivate his own success and fame on account of his deep passion and steadfast determination. This point in particular will touch every reader because he is a character to whom we can all relate. Despite his now celebrity-status, he has had to fight the same battles we all did and continue to do every day. He comes across as a very humble man, and his sincere caring for those whose paths he has crossed does not go unnoticed.
He specifically does a brilliant job of connecting the personal incidents in his life with the world happenings on which he reports. Anderson Cooper strikes me as a jewel in a brainwashed media playground. His reporting is impartial and extremely insightful. Learning about recent natural disasters and world problems from someone who experienced them first hand was a real eye-opener. This book is a very welcome perspective to the bias and half-truths that we see and hear from the media on a daily basis.
The chapters are short and are a breeze to sail through; and Cooper's ability to seamlessly flow from personal narration to factual reporting made the book all the more enjoyable.
"Dispatches from the Edge" presents news reporting as it should be: raw and unprocessed.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic,
Five Stars *****
Anderson Cooper's memoir DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE is one of the most well written books I have heard (read) in the past several months. Cooper's writing stands out! Turns out that in the interview with the author after the reading, Cooper talked about the seriousness with which he approached the task of writing. He achieved his goal by crafting a superb experience for the reader and what I think was a personally cathartic experience for him.
Many of you know Cooper from his role as a star CNN correspondent. You will know him better if you treat yourself to his memories of the disasters of 2005 as well as the death demons that have so influenced his personal history.
This book is not a casual read. This book is not a comforting read. But this book is an important read for those trying to put some perspective on the tragedies that defined 2005 around the globe. As an instructor in media concepts, I also find this book an important read for those wanting to develop a better understanding of what drives at least one major voice in our media saturated world.
If I were forced to sum this book up with one word, it would be authentic. In the past I have not paid much attention to Anderson Cooper, thinking him just one of the cable pack that trivialize the concept of journalism. In the future, I may listen longer, especially if he is dealing with the issues that really make a difference in our country and in our world.
A week or so ago I was at a Public Innovators Lab sponsored by the Harwood Institute. Richard Harwood, who has been working on community innovation for nearly 20 years, has a concept of leadership he calls the 3-A's. Those three A's are Authority (knowing what you are doing, Authenticity (doing it for the right reasons, and Accountability (taking responsibility).
My experience at the Innovator Lab may account some for why I found this book so moving, even if more than a little unnerving. As Cooper discusses his metamorphisis from detached journalist to engaged reporter, you can feel those three A's taking a firmer and firmer hold on his life.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anderson Cooper hits a home run,
I'm not sure exactly what I expected, but was blown away. Could not put it down, never boring. For someone who refuses to see or read about WARS, he really brought my attention to the people involved. It sounds like he still suffers for the loss of his father and brother, hope it was cathartic.
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Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival by Anderson Cooper (Paperback - May 8, 2007)
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