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Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  7,093 Ratings  ·  867 Reviews
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. 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.

After growi
Paperback, 222 pages
Published May 8th 2007 by Harper Perennial (first published May 1st 2006)
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Jun 11, 2013 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's unbelievable that many reviews for this book tend to focus on the completely irrelevant fact that Anderson Cooper is gay. It proves his point about how many simply forget about disasters. Here the book outlines disasters all over the world and goes into extreme detail about Hurricane Katrina and yet "Is he really gay" are the words in the first reviews that pop up. Some of you folks make me sick.

This book is intense. The Hurricane Katrina piece is especially jarring. I highly recommend this
The Book Maven
Is Anderson Cooper REALLY gay? It seems like I have heard this from different people. And if so, oh god. What a tragic waste of beautiful manflesh.

...Oh wait. I should be talking about his book, not his devastatingly handsome looks. Whoops! See what college education has done for women?

Dispatches from the edge was a very...not edgy book. Entertaining and enlightening perhaps, but but it is more likely to be that to someone who does not listen to NPR or BBC, or just does not know what is going on
May 06, 2008 Felipa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I initially had stopped reading this book at the mid point because I found it very depressing and thought Cooper's endless pursuits of finding the next tragedy and trauma a little exploitive. It wasn't until I decided to finish it and got to the chapter on Katrina that I began to see how much Cooper cares about the people behind the stories and how the tragedies of others have helped him deal with tragedy in his own life. I found his experiences as a journalist difficult to read at times but ver ...more
Jan 05, 2009 Britt is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I know, I know. Really?

Only partway thru...But who would've thought the gay son of Gloria Vanderbuilt would toss himself into war-torn countries in his tender 20's just to get the story. He is such an amazingly brave and complicated fellow. Not just that annoying CNN guy. Wow. Liking the memoir so far...
Емпіричним шляхом виявила, що я люблю жанр "хлопчик із привілейованого суспільного прошарку країни першого світу їде у гарячу зону в країні третього світу, щоб довести собі, який він крутий мачо-мен" лише в одному випадку: Томас Едвард Лоуренс, "Сім стовпів мудрості" (О-Б-О-Ж-Н-Ю-Ю <3 <3 <3). Всі інші хлопчики з привілейованого суспільного прошарку, які їдуть у гарячу зону повийобуватися, мене неілюзорно дратують, і Андерсон Купер тут не виняток. До Купера як ведучого я таки маю певну с ...more
Jan 29, 2012 Frenje rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've never really watched much of Anderson Cooper's reporting, though I think I might try to a bit more from now on. Actually, up until I read this book, the image his name brought to mind was the snazzy trailer CNN had of him, which somehow always made me think he was one of those uber successful guys who's just a bit too aware of how successful he is.

So the book was a bit of a surprise. I picked it up expecting to hear a bit about the news stories he's covered, and he certainly provides that i
Jan 30, 2009 Gayle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always thought of Anderson Cooper as a thoughtful-looking self-contained news guy, and expected this book to be a fair amount of self-promotional blather interspersed with a few biographical details. Instead, I found that Anderson Cooper, in addition to being a t-l s-c news guy, writes like one. This memoir is thoughtful, self-contained, filled with news-that-was, and surprisingly well written. (My expectations are seldom high.)

The wars are comprehensive--Bosnia, Somalia, Niger, Iraq. The
Jul 10, 2012 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Devastation can be physical as in the tsunami in Sri Lanka, famine in Africa, and Hurricane Katrina or emotional when the unexpected delivers a sucker punch from which you think you can not recover. In this memoir, Anderson Cooper reveals the emotional voids created in his life by the death of his father when he was ten years old and the suicide of his elder brother when he was in college. He also details how those tragedies caused him to lose any sense of safety and to try to avoid and dull his ...more
C.J. Edmunds
Mar 02, 2011 C.J. Edmunds rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why do people write memoirs?

Because they want to understand the life they lead by looking back at the life they led.

Why do people read memoirs?

More or less the same reason, but just reversed. Isn’t it rather fashionable to read about someone else’s life, learn what you can and quote it next time in casual conversation in order to pass oneself as learned?

Sure we can.

At times we do and even get a kick out of it equally, especially when someone takes notice of it and marvels at your apt usage of it
Victoria Rodarte
Anderson Cooper’s is a journalist for CNN, where he has a program called AC360. He is usually the most recognized journalist out in the middle of war, or in an area hit by a disaster. He’s out in the front lines reporting the stories. Cooper’s memoir details his life according to the events that unfolded in 2005. Beginning with the tsunami in Sri Lanka, to the war in Iraq, to the starvation in Niger, and finally, back home, to the disaster left in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. His memoir i ...more
Powerful, riveting, beautiful, passionate. It made me cry. Highly reccomended and a new favourite of mine.
Jan 23, 2010 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stumbled upon this book a few days ago and am very glad that I did. It's a quick, but significant read. I've never really paid that much attention to news anchors, but Anderson Cooper's life is worth a story. Born into the Vanderbilt lineage, Cooper lost his father and his brother at an early age. He has spent the rest of his life trying to cope with both of those losses and chose the medium of field reporting in order to do so. This particular book chronicles Cooper's 2005, a year fraught wit ...more
Josh McConnell
A journalist's duty is to tell someone else's story. Personal opinion is to be put to the wayside as the journalist steps back and allows others to be heard when they normally don't have a voice on their own. So when a book from a respected journalist is released, I'm always curious to see how much of their personality shines through. Now we finally are able to get a glimpse inside their personal thoughts and experiences; unadulterated and ready for consumption.

Anderson Cooper's Dispatches From
Jan 17, 2009 Mayee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I admit that I was drawn to read this book mostly because my friend Wendy kept playing CNN on the telly when I was in Chicago last winter and the advertisement for the New Year's Show kept running. Anderson Cooper is the perfect poster boy for a romantic ideal of journalism -- the tough journalist who goes into places where other people turn a blind eye to because he cares, the journalist who gives voice to the anonymous victims who suffer in the face of disaster and the quiet heroes who work to ...more
Elizabeth Reuter
Oct 16, 2012 Elizabeth Reuter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anderson Cooper is a journalist and writes like one. Dispatches from the Edge is bare bones, not a word wasted or a tangent followed. He lost his father and brother as a child, thus he grew obsessed with finding extreme feeling, which led him to take risks as a newsman.

This is not to say the book lacks emotion; Anderson describes his grief, his obsessions, and his mistakes with the same quick precision that he uses to describe Katrina's devistation. I was impressed by how much feeling, how much
Christopher Quintana
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Will Byrnes
This is no bit of fluff tossed off by rich kid Cooper. Despite his silver spoon, Cooper has seen his share of tragedy and emotional hardship. The travails of his mother were the stuff of tabloid delight, but did you know that his brother committed suicide when Anderson was still in college? It is clear that this haunts him to this day. Cooper, his protestations notwithstanding, is clearly an adrenaline junky. He has enough self-awareness that he sought treatment for this addiction. It did not ta ...more
Jul 16, 2016 Jan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. There's a lot more to Anderson Cooper than any of us think. We see the giggly guy tolerating Kathy Griffin at New Year's Eve and the calm, measured individual providing us the news on CNN. This book provides a deeper look at the contained and approachable individual behind the prematurely white hair. This is an account of how Cooper came to be an overseas correspondent and what darker emotional forces are at play in his life and what drives him to go where he goes and chronicle what he sees ...more
Oct 18, 2016 Joanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This deeply affecting memoir is so beautifully eloquent that I slowed down my reading to enjoy every word.
Interspersing memories both good and bad about his late father and brother with recollections of stories he covered in some very dangerous places, Cooper moves effortlessly from the past to the present without the sense of disjointedness that could have resulted. It all flows seamlessly.
While the stories from Bosnia, Iraq, Somalia, Niger et al are interesting and intriguing, he really excels
Although I didn't love the delivery, with the narrative seemingly bouncing all over the place as Cooper tried to weave his personal heartbreaks into a traumatic year of reporting, there was a lot of interesting material and observations, some of it quite critical. I like his reporting. There were times I wondered if he knew exactly what he wanted to do with this book, or if he was winging it. Still, I stayed with it. I felt he was honest, but there were lingering feelings that he was holding bac ...more
Bert Klimas
Dec 08, 2012 Bert Klimas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are not many public figures I would enjoy having a beer or two with, but Anderson Cooper makes the short list. He's a true journalist in this era of talking heads. He has the ability to see through the crap and does not lose sight of the humanity in each story.

Who would predict that a privileged childhood -- a Manhattan Vanderbilt -- could turn out such a down-to-earth and driven personality? His personal story is woven throughout chapters covering war, tsunami disaster, more war, and Katr
Oct 10, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
This is simultaneously an easy and very difficult read. Cooper's writing style flows in such a way that the pages turn quickly, but the content will make you pause to breathe every so often. Trying to fill the void from the loss of his father during childhood and the suicide of his brother as a young adult, Cooper sprints from war zones to countries devastated by famine. He only really begins to face his own demons while covering New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

To say I enjoye
Feb 11, 2016 Mommarush rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was very well-written. Anderson was very concise and clearly chose his words carefully--something I really appreciate after a succession of long-winded authors who seem to drone on endlessly about nothing. His intertwining of the extremely tragic scenes he has covered with his own personal tragedies was very powerful and moving. I only held off on a 5-star rating because there were parts where he jumped back and forth in time and places that made it hard to follow.

I recommend trying to read
Oct 16, 2013 Nicki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best books I've ever enjoyed. Cooper digs deeply into himself and his past while giving candid and articulate information about the places he has visited and the stories he's covered. He articulates the character of disaster victims that he met around the planet and made me feel like I could really see what he was seeing, how he was seeing it. A great quality book that I very highly recommend.
Dec 10, 2015 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating but very depressing and scary because it's all true. A little hard to follow the timeline because it skips around, though it is clearly stated where and when the memory takes place. The whole thing is like one long panic attack. I wish I knew how I could help more, but I'm grateful for reporters like him that actually CARE.
Isla McKetta
Jan 05, 2013 Isla McKetta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this brave and thoughtful book, Anderson Cooper takes us behind the public face of a very private mad. He simply and poignantly talks about tragedies both global and personal. For a peek at how this book helped me understand my own escapist tendencies, read my full-length book review.
Edward Wada
May 27, 2016 Edward Wada rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took some (for lack of a better term) "gumption" to get through this book. At first it seems a rather sad story, and terribly truthful. But as the reader begins to learn if the author's personal tragedies you are compelled to discover if he comes to any resolutions.
He's a freakin' stud.
Very good book! Couldn't put it down and read it in just two days! Definitely helps you appreciate what you have in life. I'm so thankful I can walk down the street without fear of a bomb blowing up, or worrying if my child have proper nutrition.
May 24, 2009 Stepha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
a little self-indulgent, but it's anderson, so i'll let it slide :) well-written. the section on hurricane katrina was tough to read.
Jul 30, 2009 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
aw anderson. my love for you knows no bounds. :)
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Anderson Hays Cooper is an Emmy Award winning American journalist, author, and television personality. He currently works as the primary anchor of the CNN news show Anderson Cooper 360°. The program is normally broadcast live from a New York City studio; however, Cooper often broadcasts live on location for breaking news stories.

Cooper is the younger son of the writer Wyatt Emory Cooper and the ar
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“The farther you go...the harder it is to return. The world has many edges and it's easy to fall off.” 2107 likes
“Each child’s story is worthy of telling. There shouldn’t be a sliding scale of death. The weight of it is crushing.” 65 likes
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