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Extended Audio Sample Dispatches Audiobook, by Michael Herr Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.2 out of 54.2 out of 54.2 out of 54.2 out of 54.2 out of 5 4.20 (30 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael Herr Narrator: Ray Porter Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2009 ISBN: 9781455193134
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One of the greatest examples of war journalism ever written, Michael Herr’s collection of dispatches from the front lines of the Vietnam War reveal with shattering impact how that war differed from any combat theatre fought before. Herr’s clearheaded yet unsparing retellings of the day-to-day events in Vietnam take on the force of poetry, capturing the unique flavor of the time and place and finding clarity in one of the most incomprehensible events in our modern era. A National Book Critics Circle finalist and highly acclaimed upon its publication, this modern classic retains its powerful resonance as America finds itself in the midst of another military quagmire.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The best book I have ever read on men and war in our time.”

    John le Carré, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  • “We have all spent ten years trying to explain what happened to our heads and our lives in the decade we finally survived—but Michael Herr’s Dispatches puts the rest of us in the shade.”

    Hunter S. Thompson, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Having read Dispatches, it is difficult to convey the impact of total experience as all the façades of patriotism, heroism and the whole colossal fraud of American intervention fall away to the bare bones of fear, war and death.”

    William S. Burroughs

  • “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 us.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “What a passionate, compassionate, brilliant book this is. With uncanny precision, [Dispatches] summons up the very essence of [the Vietnam War]…I believe it may be the best personal journal about war, any war, that any writer has ever accomplished.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Herr reaches an excruciating level of intensity…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

  • “Michael Herr’s Dispatches…remains one of the seminal texts in our understanding of the American experience in Vietnam. His unblinking, earnest, but absurdist treatment of a hundred landing zones, fire bases, base camps, and Saigon hangouts before and after the Tet Offensive in 1968 is full of powerful images, unforgettable characters, and haunting scenes of violence. Those unfamiliar with the original will recognize its flavor from derivative works like Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket. Like many sixties classics, Dispatches is not long on structure. This lack of structure is no impediment for the listener. Like Homer’s Iliad, Herr’s war stories seem suited to being spoken rather than read. Ray Porter provides the perfect clear, clipped, but not overdramatic narration. Porter’s occasional character voices enrich the text without distracting from it.”

    AudioFile

  • “Herr captures the almost hallucinatory madness of the war…This is a compelling, truth-telling book with a visceral impact, its images stuck in the mind like shards from a pineapple bomb.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • A Guardian Pick for Top 10 Books on 1960s America

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mickelo | 2/18/2014

    " One of the best books on the Vietnam "war". Good as, if not better than A Bright Shining Lie. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jessica | 2/16/2014

    " One of my favorite books! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terrell | 2/12/2014

    " Herr didn't waste ink mourning over the fact that Vietnam was a trying experience. Besides, Herr was a willing participate, who had he written a book about his bravery it probably wouldn't have garnered any respect from the soldiers. But it should not be concluded that Herr's actions were not admirable. It was made clear that he had to watch his back as well as his front in order to maintain his safety. The way in which Herr's courageous acts were conveyed didn't overshadow his reason for being there-to report the occurrences in Vietnam. Consequently, it is the book's humility that writers, especially writers who find themselves entrenched within the same chaotic circumstances with the people of whomthey seek to accumulate information from, should attempt to emulate. Herr's collection of thoughts and ideas are connected with those he spoke for. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rob Palange | 2/11/2014

    " This book is fabulous. A first rate view of the Vietnam conflict. I haven't read it in awhile but I do remember it being on one of the more enjoyable, intelligent & enlightening books that I read about the conflict that embroiled the United States in one of its longest conflicts till 9/11 when we got involved in Iraq & Afghanistan. This book should be read alongside Tim O'Brein's, "Things They Carried" for a definite more personal view of what it was like to serve in Vietnam. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 1/17/2014

    " A riveting, roller coaster ride of New Journalism. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicky | 1/1/2014

    " A must read for anyone interested in Vietnam (in particular) or the culture of war (in general). "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jayne Charles | 12/17/2013

    " I often find I learn a lot about geography and history through reading fiction, and though this book isn't fiction but a war correspondent's account of being in Vietnam in the late '60s, I hoped for the same here. My knowledge of the Vietnam war isn't good, and I hoped this book would remedy that. Unfortunately it's not an ideal first port of call, as it assumes a lot of prior knowledge that non-Americans may not possess, and was peppered with initials and acronyms but had no glossary or any other means of explanation. I connected with it only in patches - where the narrative occasionally narrowed its focus down to to a single person, and then it was possible to understand and to empathise, but these sections were relatively sparse. All in all I would concede it is fantastically well written, and worthy of more than the speed-reading I resorted to in the end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ben | 12/3/2013

    " A gonzo spin on the vietnam war. amazing read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steve Kettmann | 11/25/2013

    " Sometimes it's not a bad thing to wait to read a book. I started having people urge me to read this one in, let's see, the summer of 1983, and it was only recently that I finally got around to it. I picked up a copy at the former Hanoi Hilton, where John McCain was held prisoner, now a museum, and read the first half on my way from Hanoi to Danang to Saigon (OK, Ho Chi Minh City). There is a fierce originality and honesty to the book, coupled with such intense subject matter, that made reading this a scalding experience, in a good way. I'm going to wait a month or two and read it again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lyn Elliott | 11/24/2013

    " Utterly unforgettable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ellie | 10/13/2013

    " It is a priceless book, in a kind of screwy way. It gave me nightmares a la Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I think it should be required reading for all politicians who vote to send our nation - and thus our 17 year olds - to war. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 9/20/2013

    " Very honest and believable. The author was a war correspondent, and whilst this gave the novel a very authentic feel it also tripped me up with a lot of the lingo that I wasn't familiar with. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 mikeyO | 8/5/2013

    " Pretty intense, and gory, collection of war stories from Vietnam. I think large portions of this book were used to write the screenplay for Full Metal Jacket. I wouldn't call this a novel, but a collection of war stories. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jack | 6/24/2013

    " The definitive work on Vietnam as experienced by the guys on the ground. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff Forker | 10/10/2012

    " Good but not great. But prob a must read on Nam. But written by a journalist and not a soldier. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Desertvoyage | 9/21/2012

    " Great, riveting, elucidating. Drags a bit in the 'Colleagues' section (or maybe it was just me) but overall I loved it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Krista McCracken | 6/28/2012

    " Great non-fiction representation of the Vietnam War. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jonathan Dennis | 1/29/2012

    " Wanted to like this more. Didn't. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelly | 12/27/2011

    " This book inspired my Vietnam War study project. It raised some interesting question for me about the aesthetics, ethics, and politics of representing the Vietnam War. I look forward to seeing how I feel about it after I've read some of the other novels. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jack Witt | 10/4/2011

    " I'm probably showing my shallow side, while I really liked the book, the style was too intense, very hard to stay with the writer as he jumped around. a very stream of consiousness type of narrative "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leonard | 9/6/2011

    " book with some great parts but poorly written at times "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Henry | 5/2/2011

    " My favourite ever book about war. Deals honestly with the attractions and glamour of war. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ashley | 3/28/2011

    " insane. awesome. wish more people wrote like this. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ben | 2/13/2011

    " The classic example of the Vietnam oral history genre. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tommyt | 2/1/2011

    " An incredible memoir of Herr's experiences working as an UNembedded journalist during the Vietnam War. It's told through a haze of drugs, violence & helicopter flights. Some of the people he met are truly strange... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 J.C. | 1/25/2011

    " Written like Hunter S. Thompson went to war and tried to write a war novel in the style of William Burroughs or Nelson Algren. A little slow at times (mostly near the end where he talks about his colleagues who were mostly invisible throughout the book) but overall really great. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike | 10/27/2010

    " Fierce and unsettling war correspondence from Vietnam, written in a profane, druggy, stream-of-consciousness rap that is yet vivid and precise. The chapter on Khe Sahn ranks with The Things They Carried as the finest writing to come out of that horrible, beautiful, soul-destroying time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 10/19/2010

    " Very honest and believable. The author was a war correspondent, and whilst this gave the novel a very authentic feel it also tripped me up with a lot of the lingo that I wasn't familiar with. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wells | 9/26/2010

    " maybe the best piece of non-fiction i've ever read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenna | 9/4/2010

    " The very best book I have read about Vietnam and what it means to be a Marine. The things those boys did to protect the journalist, and to put their lives on the line for love of country was amazing. "

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About the Author
Author Michael Herr

Michael Herr is the author of Dispatches, The Big Room, and Walter Winchell and is coauthor of the screenplays for Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket.

About the Narrator

Ray Porter has garnered fourteen Earphones Awards, two Audie nominations, and a multitude of enthusiastic reviews for his sparkling narration of audiobooks. He has also appeared in numerous films and television shows, including Frasier, ER, Will & Grace, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and Almost Famous. He has most recently received Audible’s Narrator of the Year Award. He is a fifteen-year veteran of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.