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

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,516 Ratings  ·  819 Reviews
In 2005, two tragedies--the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina--turned CNN reporter Anderson Cooper into a media celebrity. Dispatches from the Edge, Cooper's memoir of "war, disasters and survival," is a brief but powerful chronicle of Cooper's ascent to stardom and his struggle with his own tragedies and demons. Cooper was 10 years old when his father, Wyatt Cooper, di ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 224 pages
Published May 23rd 2006 by Harper (first published May 1st 2006)
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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
Jun 21, 2013 Andrew rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 09, 2008 Felipa rated it really liked it
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
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...
Jan 30, 2009 Gayle rated it really liked it
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
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
Jan 29, 2012 Frenje rated it really liked it
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
Anashuya Kakati
Jul 16, 2014 Anashuya Kakati rated it it was ok
I picked up this book in my 'memoirs reading phase'. Actually, I have never watched any of Anderson Cooper's shows. So for me it was a clean slate when I started reading the book.

I feel Mr. Cooper has squeezed the 'pathos' lemon a little too hard, and the taste by the end was utterly bitter. I appreciate his sharing of many heart wrenching stories which are absolutely unimaginable. But the thing with stories like these is that there is no need to add extra zing to them. After a hundred pages or
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
C.J. Edmunds
Mar 02, 2011 C.J. Edmunds rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 18, 2016 Mommarush rated it really liked it
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
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 26, 2010 Megan rated it really liked it
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
Elizabeth Reuter
Oct 16, 2012 Elizabeth Reuter rated it really liked it
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
Jan 17, 2009 Mayee rated it liked it
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
Oct 16, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it
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
Dec 31, 2015 Melissa rated it really liked it
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.
Bert Klimas
Dec 10, 2012 Bert Klimas rated it really liked it
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
Nov 15, 2014 Jim rated it liked it
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
Mehvash Doerr
Mar 05, 2015 Mehvash Doerr rated it really liked it
So i didn't actually read this one. Lately on my commutes I've been picking up Audio-books from the library instead of talking on the phone. This was the latest in audio-books i listened too and it was so enjoyable. It was really interesting to hear about these stories told from another perspective...the personal perspective. I've always found anderson cooper to be pretty least i feel like he's trying to be a more neutral spectator than trying to impose his opinion on his viewers. ...more
Christina Boyle
Aug 20, 2015 Christina Boyle rated it liked it
I have always sensed a quiet melancholy in Anderson Cooper's visage. Something is still bottled up. You read the memoir and you finally get him and you cry for him. He offers enough material to evoke the catharsis that he has clearly been searching for his entire life. His profession is one big giant pursuit of novocaine to distract or numb or project the pain that this poor young man has experienced at such a young age.

His indirect descriptions about the loss of his father - who was a a writer
Oct 19, 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.
Luke Goldstein
Jan 24, 2014 Luke Goldstein rated it really liked it
It is expected now for any member of the political beltway or those who report on it (and other daily news events) to grace the shelves of our local bookstores (or the front page of our eBook apps) with a tell-all/biography/memoir. Most are pushed on them by overzealous managers and agents trying desperately to cash in on their popularity with various demographics, but every now and again one journal will come to fruition from a much more real and meaningful purpose.

Dispatches From The Edge: A M
Isla McKetta
Jan 06, 2013 Isla McKetta rated it it was amazing
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.
Liz Echavarria
Apr 14, 2015 Liz Echavarria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

What a fascinating story Anderson has to tell. From the nostalgic moments spent with his dad as a child, the devastating events in his life, his initiatives to report on the tragedies around the world and in the US, as well as the fearless way he created his own opportunities to make his way into journalism when it seemed that his chances were low. I appreciated the honesty and melancholic overtone of the writing when recounting the deaths of two very important people in his life, becau
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.
Aug 31, 2014 Ashley rated it really liked it
...this was one of those weird experiences where you're cleaning out bookshelves and find a book that isn't even yours, and you notice it's short so you're like "eh...why not"

Not bad. It seemed kind of melodramatic and forced for a while- it definitely clashed with the image I've developed of him over the years...but this was written nearly a decade ago, so he's matured as a person/professional since then.

Overall, it was pretty enjoyable. Super short chapters made it a perfect book to have sitti
Jul 05, 2015 Jessica rated it it was amazing
So I love Anderson Cooper as a correspondent, and I decided I needed to read his memoir. This whole book was amazing. He talks in a way that feels like a conversation, and weaves together a story of his life from the deaths of his father and brother up to his coverage of Katrina. The dueling themes of finding purpose through constant movement and exposure to raw emotion and coming to terms with loss and pain by finding it in other places were perfect threads to weave through experiences in war a ...more
Molly Sparber
Firstly, I'm going to say this and then move on to my thoughts about this book. It doesn't matter one way or another if Anderson Cooper is gay. Those that seem fixated on that missed the point of this whole book. In this day and age, sexuality should have nothing to do with what goes on in an author's head or whatever. He's a human being for crying out loud.

The book was a struggle for me to get through. His seeming need to search out the next tragedy so he didn't have to remember the tragedies
Jul 01, 2011 Stepha rated it liked it
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.
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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 art
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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.” 2101 likes
“Each child’s story is worthy of telling. There shouldn’t be a sliding scale of death. The weight of it is crushing.” 64 likes
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