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Editorial Reviews

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.

Publisher's Summary

Few people have witnessed more scenes of chaos and conflict around the world than Anderson Cooper, whose groundbreaking coverage on CNN has changed the way we watch the news.

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

Critic Reviews

  • Audie Award Finalist, Biography/Memoir, 2007

"Cooper is an intelligent, passionate man." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

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  • Overall

Dispatches from the Inner Self

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Andrew
  • Kanata, Ontario, Canada
  • 02-27-07

A Powerful Listen

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Heartfelt Book

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Chris
  • Roswell, GA, United States
  • 05-28-06

What a great book!

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Andy
  • Westport, CT, United States
  • 10-04-06

exposed wounds

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Really Interesting.

Would you consider the audio edition of Dispatches from the Edge to be better than the print version?

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

What other book might you compare Dispatches from the Edge to and why?

Don't know.

What does Anderson Cooper bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I feel like he makes it sound more compelling and immediate.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I felt his chapter about Katrina was very informative and brought me a new understanding of the whole event.

Any additional comments?

He does talk about some family events but it's not his

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Very interesting exposure to world happenings.

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Fascinating, moving and wise

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Near the top of my list

This is near the top of my audio book list; it is one of those rare books that I can't wait to get back to. Like books from Bill Bryson and Dan Brown, "Dispatches from the Edge" is captivating.

Anderson Cooper is an interesting character; although he is from a wealthy family, the path he chose is quite different and he should be commended for that. His insights into humanities hot spots provide a glimpse that is usually not provided by those of his profession. Overall, it is an execellent listen and worth the time.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story


Would you listen to Dispatches from the Edge again? Why?

Absolutely. I also read the hard cover

What was one of the most memorable moments of Dispatches from the Edge?

Anderson speaking of his brother's suicide

Have you listened to any of Anderson Cooper’s other performances before? How does this one compare?


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It was daunting. All of it.

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  • Dee
  • 03-09-16

Loved It

Loved this book, it was very interesting and the narration was excellent, thank you Anderson