Walmart # 558551379


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Dispatches is a magnifice

Dispatches is a magnificently sprawling word-on-the-page, in-your-face account of humans-at-war and captures the gross wretchedness of the Vietnam War. A conflict as we all now know, fought for no other purpose than 2 bloodily unfeeling ideologies who could not care less for their peoples - - caught in the middle: the "grunts" of both sides though Herr naturally, understandably concentrates on his armed forces personnel - - Herr throws out line after line of instant graphic comment and observation in the heat of battle and in the grind of waiting, preparing for it and its grim aftermath. More than that, by focussing on the individuals' buried alive by the brutality of the melee he puts the US Military Command through the ringer of factual reality on the ground exposing their glib, colossally complacent summations, misinterpretations, miscalculations. Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon... who'd want to be a President & Commander-in-Chief as that bunch of 4 & 5 star numbskulls gave advice!

According to LibraryThing

According to LibraryThing stats this is the second most read book on the Vietnam War, after The Things They Carried. Critics have called it one of the best books of the war. Micharl Herr passed away a few weeks ago so I thought I would honor his memory by reading his most famous book. Although Herr's prose style is disjointed and lacks narrative, chronological order or main character (other than Herr himself), it is brimming with the sights, sounds and smells of the war told through small stories, "dispatches". I feel as though I just took a trip back in time. It's so dense with incident it will reward re-reading on occasion. With all that said, with the distance of time Herr's narrative feels overdone at times. Speaking of nightmares that will never end, etc.. there has been healing in the past 50 years and as time passes those comments will seem increasingly remote, perhaps even cliche. However they do give a sense of how that generation reacted to the war - there is a sense of betrayal, abandonment. All wars suck in their own special way, but nothing like the toxic mix of problems that came together in Vietnam.

I often find I learn a lo

I often find I learn a lot about geography and history through reading fiction, and though this book isn't fiction but a war correspondent's account of being in Vietnam in the late '60s, I hoped for the same here. My knowledge of the Vietnam war isn't good, and I hoped this book would remedy that. Unfortunately it's not an ideal first port of call, as it assumes a lot of prior knowledge that non-Americans may not possess, and was peppered with initials and acronyms but had no glossary or any other means of explanation. I connected with it only in patches - where the narrative occasionally narrowed its focus down to to a single person, and then it was possible to understand and to empathise, but these sections were relatively sparse. All in all I would concede it is fantastically well written, and worthy of more than the speed-reading I resorted to in the end.

Michael Herr's account of

Michael Herr's account of the Vietnam war as a free-lance journalist. A flat-out masterpiece. I have read this book several times and never fail to be thoroughly engrossed: horror, butt-clenching fear, brutality, black humor, folly, stoicism, superstition and, even, beauty - the whole whacked-out, hallucinogenic quality of the Vietnam war. Firsthand accounts of the grunts who fought it and the correspondents who covered it. Form perfectly meshed with function. The book has a dreamlike, nightmarish quality that is more real than facts. Probably no one who was not there (and I wasn't) can know what it was like, but this book comes as close as anything.

A very vivid account of w

A very vivid account of what life on the ground was like in Vietnam. I have some knowledge of the war, which was at times necessary to understand a number of references in the text. Hence, I'd suggest reading a more conservative history of the conflict before taking on 'Dispatches'. The sections at the beginning and end of the book are rather garbled and I did not enjoy reading what, in my opinion, represent little more than rather pretentious ramblings. However, these do not form a large proportion of the text, and the rest is very good and incredibly atmospheric. The battles at Khe Sahn and Hue are featured and I have never read anything that conveys the spectrum of experiences and views of the men involved, both soldiers and reporters, as well as this book. A considerable achievement in fewer than 300 pages.
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