Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival by Anderson Cooper
Non-Fiction (Memoir/Current Events), Published 2006
Challenges: Audio Book
Read Feb 2011, Unabridged Audio – 6 hrs
From the Cover:
Anderson Cooper’s groundbreaking coverage on CNN has changed the way we watch the news. Few people have witnessed more scenes of chaos and conflict around the world. In this gripping, candid, and remarkably powerful memoir, he offers an unstinting, up-close view of the most harrowing crises of our time, and the profound impact they have had on his life – from the tsunami in Sri Lanka to the war in Iraq, from the starvation in Niger to the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and Mississippi.
Striking, heartfelt, and utterly engrossing, Dispatches from the Edge is an unforgettable story from on of America’s most trusted, fearless, and pioneering reporters.
First off, can I say how I LOVE all the commas in the descriptions! No, seriously, the fact that there’s a comma before “and” in the title really makes me happy because I know this is how I learned it in elementary grammar and people just disregard the use of commas these days.
Also, I had no idea Anderson Cooper was Gloria Vanderbilt’s son until he says so in the introduction. That has major clout, or at least I think it would, and yet it seems that Anderson has never used the Vanderbilt name to get ahead in life. He lives on the edge of the major news stories, waiting and needing to be on the front lines of the action. This definitely gets a thumbs up from me.
Secondly, he had me at page 2 of the introduction:
“As a boy looking at the globe, I grew up believing, as most people do, that the earth is round. Smoothed like a stone by thousands of years of evolution and revolution. Whittled by time. Scraped by space. I thought that all the nations and oceans, the rivers and valleys, were already mapped out, named, and explored. But in truth, the world is constantly shifting: shape and size, location in space. It’s got edges and chasms, too many to count. They open up, close, reappear somewhere else. Geologists may have mapped out the planet’s tectonic plates – hidden shelves of rock that grind, one against the other, forming mountains, creating continents – but they can’t plot the fault lines that run through our heads, divide our hearts.” (pp. 4-5)
Just beautiful! His personal story is truly heartbreaking and I have heard him talk about it more on his talk show now (2012), but he says in the book that so few people knew his real story. I loved his writing and the fact that he narrates his own story. I hope he continues to publish in the future!
I’ve been a journalist for fifteen years now, and have reported on some of the worst situations on earth: Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Iraq. I’ve seen more dead bodies that I can count, more horror and hatred than I can remember, yet I’m still surprised by what I discover in the far reaches of our planet, the truths revealed in the dwindling light of day, when everything else has been stripped away, exposed, raw as a gutted shark on a fisherman’s pier. The farther you go, however, the harder it is to return. The world has many edges, and it’s easy to fall off. (pp. 5-6)