Anderson Cooper has a pleasant, distinctive, and recognizable voice, but that's not the reason he's effective as the narrator 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. The images speak for themselves. But Cooper's narration 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 (from the tsunami through Hurricane Katrina) and reflecting on his childhood and early professional career. The audio concludes with an interesting interview with the author.
After growing up on Manhattan's Upper East Side, Cooper felt a magnetic pull toward the unknown. If he could keep moving, and keep exploring, he felt he could stay one step ahead of his past, including the fame surrounding his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, and the tragic early deaths of his father and older brother.
But recently, during the course of one extraordinary, tumultuous year, it became impossible for him to continue to separate his work from his life. From the tsunami in Sri Lanka to the war in Iraq to the starvation in Niger and ultimately to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and Mississippi, Cooper gives us a firsthand glimpse of the devastation that takes place. Writing with vivid memories of his childhood and early career as a roving correspondent, Cooper reveals for the first time how deeply affected he has been by the wars, disasters, and tragedies he has witnessed, and why he continues to be drawn to some of the most perilous places on earth.
Striking, heartfelt, and utterly engrossing, Dispatches from the Edge is an unforgettable memoir that takes us behind the scenes of the cataclysmic events of our age and allows us to see them through the eyes of one of America's most trusted, fearless, and pioneering reporters.
©2006 Anderson Cooper; (P)2006 HarperCollins Publishers
"Cooper is an intelligent, passionate man." (Publishers Weekly)
Anderson's own history is fascinating but what really struck me with this audiobook was the emotion he was speaking with. This wasn't just "here's my story" - it was full of emotion and opinion and really made listening to it all enjoyable. I listened while driving and I often went driving just to listen to more of it. Highly recommended.
I'm so surprised that this book didn't get better reviews out there in the literary community. I thought Anderson did a beautiful job of telling his story with humility, humor, and very open honesty. This was a great study of one person's attempt to ask himself the questions that matter, and to find the answers. He doesn't always find the answers, and doesn't always do the right things, but he tries and he lets the world watch as he does. Great philosophical and introspective "Everyman" memoir. I loved it.
Like many highly successful people, CNN reporter Anderson Cooper is driven to compensate for inner conflicts. Unlike many successful people, he reveals this discord in a best selling book. Some of these conflicts are fully disclosed, such as putting himself in dangerous situations to compensate for two childhood tragedies. Others are superficially alluded to, inviting the reader to do some interpreting.
Cooper's book, "Dispatches from the Edge" at first glance appears to be an autobiography. But only a small part of his life is covered in any detail. In fact, he claims to have forgotten most of his childhood before age ten. He clearly remembers the death of his father when Cooper was ten and the suicide of his older brother when Cooper was 21. Maybe too clearly.
Cooper tells us that he has few vices except for one: he's a workaholic. He enjoys the company of many associates but has no really close friends. He can't relax and is in his prime on the chase for a story. If the story is a war, famine or natural disaster where he could be killed, all the better. All of this culminates as he reports on the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. Seeing how people cope in the worst situations gave Cooper some insight into his inner self. And motivation to write this book.
In his own words and voice, Anderson Cooper takes the listener through first person accounts of some recent and terribly tragic events. Woven into the book is a dash of memoir, giving the listener a sense of Cooper's background...also tragic in many ways, but inspiring as well.
Anderson Cooper does a fantastic job narrating his story- intermixing his personal life that is the motivation behind the relentless drive he has to travel, explore and understand. It is ironic that a man who so studiously avoids dealing with his own personal pain and tragedy can so eloquently share the stories of suffering of others in such a compassionate and intimate manner.
I found one aspect of his personality to be particularly refreshing- his views on wealth and privilege. Remember when the wealthy used to be humble, self-deprecating and believe they had a duty to serve some higher purpose for all they had been given? (Or at least had the decency to pretend to be?) Well, that is Anderson to a T! He is not one of the annoying trust fund babies; born with 10 million bucks that thinks that makes them a financial genius. He is the anti-Paris!
The only tiny negative- I have heard so many excerpts of his story in Vanity Fair, on Oprah, on his show- that parts do seem repetitive.
I greatly enjoyed listening to this book and highly recommend it to everyone.
I actually thought I was going to like this book more than I did. Maybe it's because Anderson Cooper seems a certain way on the news and comes across quite differently in his own words. I was put off initially by the way Cooper presented himself as almost an adrenaline junkie, feeling bored if he was not covering a war or stationed in some other dangerous place. It felt unseemly that he was drawn to places of such misery, especially after he went on at length about his reaction to the press that wanted to cover news of his brother's suicide. I hadn't known that he grew up with such vast personal wealth, which sort of exacerbated my impression of him as a person who was not truly connected to the misery he was seeing.
This was not the case with his discussion about Hurricane Katrina, however, and this was by far the best part of the book. He may have been better off sticking to that subject while periodically inter-cutting to his own story as he did throughout the book. The other parts weren't bad or poorly written, but he clearly felt a personal connection to the Katrina story that came across better and more clearly than the other stories described.
I love to hear a book read by the Author. I don't know why anyone would choose the print version instead. I feel like I'm getting the
I feel like he makes it sound more compelling and immediate.
I felt his chapter about Katrina was very informative and brought me a new understanding of the whole event.
He does talk about some family events but it's not his
Worth the read. Not only do I like A Cooper's reporting, his writing is captivating as well. The book left me with a different perspective on the world, and hunger, relief workers, Doctors Without Borders, storm reporting and . . . the list goes on. It was interesting seeing the world from this reporter's prespective.
Anderson Cooper shares why his personal relationship with memory and grief has driven him to a career focused on making people see and remember. Highly recommended for the context it offers on some of the most gripping and complex news stories of the past decade – and for the insights it gives into the minds of the journalists on the ground and the people who share their stories with them.
Dispatches was dry, delivered with no emotion or change in tone....unfortunate from such an interesting person/life. Wish someone else would have done the reading. Thought is was rather self-serving.
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