Dispatches from the Edge, by Anderson Cooper
Dispatches from the Edge offers more than a description of a
journalist covering wars and natural disasters around the globe.
This is also a highly personal account of the experience, and it is
by one of the heirs to the Vanderbilt fortune.
This viewpoint is unique. Here we see and feel compassion with the
people who are suffering tragedy, and it comes to us from Andersonís
As nonfiction, the book is mystifying, for it seems to defy the
rules. While its Table of Contents separates the story into
geographic areas, the text does not. Instead, the reader is treated
to seemingly random (but emotionally related) vignettes of Anderson
as he reports from Iraq, Rwanda, Viet Name, etc. And yet, as he
jumps from Sarajevo to Soweto, all but the sophisticated reader will
allow these places to blur, for the vignette is a close-up, and
fails to give us the big picture (in this case, the name of the
I accept the book as impressionistic coverage, for I could not
escape very powerful scenes describing Andersonís personal life
before he deliberately launched into the journalistic career. In
fact, having read this, I wonder why other reporters havenít given
us such background, for so often we detect such bitterness and bias
in their coverage that we have to wonder why they have chosen such a
Read dispatches from the edge. Itís truly honest journalism, and
well worth the read.
Bruce Cook, Ph.D.
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