I've read dozens of books dealing with war and Dispatches stands apart from nearly all of them.
This is not meant to be an authoritative historical overview of the conflict in Vietnam. Rather it's a deeply personal account of Herr's time spent with the guys in the mud, doing the fighting, marking their time and hoping to make it home in one piece.
Plenty of books have been written from this perspective before. But Herr's jazz-like prose, keen observations and raw honesty paint a picture that's so immersive it will be hard to forget.
Put it in your shopping cart now.
First and foremost this is a thoroughly researched, well written, very detailed account of the how The Simpsons came to be on TV. Beyond that Ortveld clearly has a deep seated belief that:
1) The Simpsons is the greatest show ever seen on TV
2) For the first 9 years
3) And terrible since then
Of course it's the "why" that makes the book enjoyable to listen to. The author's own ruminations on what makes the show so important to pop culture borders on religious fervor at times. In between those thoughts we get detailed accounts of all the back stabbings, broken promises, out of control egos, strikes, walk-outs, epic temper tantrums and sheer creative nutiness that happened behind the scenes. Honestly, some of it was really quite fascinating. Just to hear Conan O'Brian recount jumping around the writer's room like a "trained monkey" shouting "Jub, jub, jub, jub!" was worth the cost alone.
In the end it'd be hard to see how this book would appeal to anyone beyond the show's fans. But if you are a fan, lapsed or otherwise, jump in. I think you'll like it.
In a sentence this book is waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy too long. It really could have used a tougher editor. Some of these stories are as good as short stories get. Yet, sadly, others reek of ham handed Fan Fiction. It's as if they simply included every story they received without review.
But you can't argue with value. At 30+ hours it's well worth the one credit. Just keep the skip button handy.
Oh, and where is the Stephen King story? I could not find it either.
Wonderfully enjoyable in the same perverse way demolition derbies are enjoyable; You know there's going to be mayhem, you're just there to watch how it happens. Vuic does a great job of bringing the whole Yugo story to life with rich detail, and then shows how it all fits in the context of the times.
The Narrator is a little stilted and it may be a chapter too long but those are nits. In the end it's a great listen for car buffs and regular folks alike.
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