Birthplace: Syracuse, New York
puts the rest of us in the shade."
— Hunter S. Thompson.
"Nothing else so
far has even come close to conveying how different this war was from any we fought — or how utterly different were the methods and the men who fought for
— New York Times Book Review
precision [Dispatches] summons up the very essence of [the Vietnam War] — its space diction, its surreal psychology, its bitter humor — the dope, the dexedrine, the body bags, the rot, all of it ... I believe
it may be the best personal journal about war, any war, that any writer has ever accomplished."
— Chicago Tribune
"He seems to have
brought to this book the ear of a musician and the eye of a painter . . . the premier war correspondence of Vietnam."
— Washington Post.
"The best book I
have ever read on men and war in our time."
— John le Carre
There was a map of Vietnam on
the wall of my apartment in Saigon and some nights, coming back late to the city, I'd lie out on my bed and look at it, too tired to do anything
more than just get my boots off. That map was a marvel, especially now that it wasn't real anymore. For one thing, it was very old. It had been
left there years before by another tenant, probably a Frenchman, since the map had been made in Paris. The paper had buckled in its frame after years in the wet Saigon heat, laying a kind
of veil over the countries it depicted. Vietnam was divided into its older territories of Tonkin, Annam and Cochin China, and to the west past
Laos and Cambodge sat Siam, a kingdom. That's old, I'd tell visitors, that's a really old map.
If dead ground could come back and haunt you the way dead people do, they'd have been able to mark my map current and
burn the ones they'd been using since '64, but count on it, nothing like that was going to happen. It was late '67 now, even the most detailed
maps didn't reveal much anymore; reading them was like trying to read the faces of the Vietnamese, and that was like trying to read the wind. We
knew that the uses of most information were flexible, different pieces of ground told different stories to different people. We also knew that for
years now there had been no country here but the war.
Dispatches happened for me, even if it didn't necessarily happen to me."
— Michael Herr
"Year after year, season after season, wet and dry, using up options faster than rounds on
a machine-gun belt, we called it right and righteous, viable and even almost won, and it still only went on the way it went on. When all the
projections of intent and strategy twist and turn back on you, tracking team blood, 'sorry' just won't cover it. There's nothing so
embarrassing as when things go wrong in a war."
— Michael Herr
The Big Room
Walter Winchell: A Novel
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