Published in 2006, Anderson Cooper’s Dispatches from the Edge was a New York Times Bestseller and continues to be a popular read as Cooper’s celebrity grows with the introduction of his daytime talk show Anderson Live. And the only thing better than reading this fascinating book is listening to the audiobook, narrated by the author himself.
Dispatches From the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disaster and Survival is actually part memoir and part news reporting, in which Cooper reveals how various news stories—including the Niger famine, the tsunami in Sri Lanka, and Hurricane Katrina—affected him psychologically and emotionally.
Cooper began his career by making a fake press pass and acting as an independent "correspondent", reporting from war torn countries like Rwanda, Bosnia and Somalia. He was able to sell his video reports to Channel One, a news channel broadcasted in junior high and high schools across the United States, where he had previously been employed as a fact checker.
Anderson Cooper lost his father during heart surgery when he was ten years old, and his older brother Carson to suicide when Cooper was twenty-one and a student at Yale. He attributes his fascination with war-ravaged places as a response to these early losses, attempting to cope with his personal tragedies by focusing on the tragedies of others. Throughout his career he has been captivated by the resiliency of the human spirit.
Following his impassioned coverage of Hurricane Katrina, in which Cooper confronted various politicians for a too-little, too-late response to the devastation and suffering of the victims, the author/newsman was heralded as a new breed of emo-journalist. The term applies to news correspondents who display some degree of emotion related to the stories they broadcast and are willing to speak out and ask the tough questions. Dispatches from the Edge does a good job of demonstrating this type of journalism, with Cooper revealing the reflections and reactions one doesn’t necessarily see on camera.
In this gripping, candid, and remarkably powerful memoir, Anderson Cooper 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 growing up on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Cooper felt a magnetic pull toward the unknown. If he could keep moving and keep exploring, he felt he could stay one step ahead of his past, including the fame surrounding his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, and the deaths of his father and older brother. As a reporter, the frenetic pace of filing dispatches from war-torn countries and the danger that came with it helped him avoid having to look too closely at the pain and loss that was right in front of him.
But during the course of one extraordinary, tumultuous year, it became impossible for him to continue to separate his work from his life. From the tsunami in Sri Lanka to the war in Iraq, the starvation in Niger, and ultimately Hurricane Katrina, Cooper gives us a firsthand glimpse of the devastation that takes place when the normal order is ruptured on such a massive scale. Cooper had been in his share of life-threatening situations before—in Sarejevo, Somalia, and Rwanda—but he had never seen human misery quite like this. Writing with vivid memories of his childhood and early career as a roving correspondent, Cooper reveals how deeply affected he has been by the wars, disasters, and tragedies he has witnessed and why he continues to be drawn to some of the most perilous places on earth. Download and start listening now!