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Dispatches (Everyman's Library Classics & Contemporary Classics) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, February 17, 2009
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Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.
Top Customer Reviews
Khe Sanh is indeed the centerpiece of the book. He describes the battle from ground level, drawing comparisons to the infamous Battle of Dien Bien Phu, which brought the French chapter of the Vietnam War to an end. Commanding officers bristled at the comparison, yet here were the Americans entrenched in a remote outpost, with the mysterious presence of the Viet Cong all around them. Herr gives you the perspective of a handful of soldiers he was in closest contact with, following up on their fates in later chapters.
Herr doesn't try to make sense of the war, simply presenting it as the maelstrom it was. Chaos reigned. All you could do was keep your head down. He ties you in to some of the other reporters covering the war, including the flambouyant Sean Flynn, who would ride into most any situation with the aplomb of his legendary father, Errol Flynn. It is such a fantastic range of dispatches giving the reader a real feel for what went on in Vietnam.
Beyond that, Herr's writing is almost poetic. His descriptions of the war and the men who fought in it are impressive, borderline masterly. In addition he throws off gems of impromptu character studies, almost throw-away sentences that describe the very core of the soldiers he met. One of my favorite lines that Herr wrote for Apocalypse Now is when Willard meets the PBR crew; he says they're "rock and rollers, with one foot in their graves." Dispatches is filled to the brim with such lines, and if you enjoyed Martin Sheen's voice-over in the Coppola film, you'll really enjoy this book.
I've read Dispatches a few times, and each time I've taken something new from it. The "Khe Sanh" section is obviously the centerpiece of the book; it dwarfs all of the other stories. Stuck in the bombed-out, besieged base, Herr effectively conveys the sense of doom and paranoia that gripped the Marines trapped inside. This section features one of the more memorable soldiers in the book, the black Marine Day Tripper, as well as a mysterious grenade launcher who provided the inspiration for the character Roach in Apocalypse Now.Read more ›
Herr's use of brutal imagery absorbed me into his savage surroundings. From the soldier who can't stop drooling as a result of a particularly dreadful gun battle, to the scenes of the dead, American and Vietnamese, adult and infant, on eclectic battlefields and village streets.
The characters are real people in a situation that most of them neither like nor understand. They are young men who invoke the same shortcomings we all have. But they are a step above the common reader. They are professional soldiers and act that way despite their misgivings. They push past the boundaries of fear and into the realms of heroism or insanity or death. Everyone that he introduces is individual. There are no carbon copy soldiers here. They are funny or musical or religious or delusional, whatever their idiosyncrasy may be. I felt as though I was being introduced to people I knew throughout the book.
Most books on the topic of war that I have read tend to stay with one platoon. Herr constantly shifts places and battalions and makes the reader feel as though he/she is part of something bigger. There is no single climax in the book. An honest reflection of that war perhaps. Each chapter is as horrific and exhilarating as the next.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Best Vietnam book, by far. I'm an USMC/19 month RVN vet; I recently re-read this after a ten year break and was just as amazed as the first time. Michael Herr, R.I.P. Read morePublished 12 hours ago by IrishBill
Michael Herr is one of the best writers to come out of the Vietnam era. He puts you right there. Highly recommended.Published 2 days ago by John F. Moore
Dispatches is a collection of vignettes that are at times journalistic, humorously exaggerated, poetic, and wholly dire slices-of-life that Michael Herr collected as a first-time... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Garrett Zecker
Outstanding book. One of the best I have bought in years! It made me cry.Published 7 days ago by Jorge Leon-Baca
This journalistic work set milestone in the narrative of the Vietnam war.
Extremelly well written and pretty tough many times it perfectly describes the feelings and... Read more