An ideal read for a fan of Anderson Cooper or his programme as it is mostly a memoir telling of his early life and family troubles, but also ideal for fans of journalism and travel books. Cooper is simply the height of journalism!
This book by Anderson Cooper really does get to the heart of the issues of the title. He is a great CNN presenter and this book gives a real and sometimes touching insight into his work in war zones and why he was there.
DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE is a testament to the fact that money does not protect you from heartache; you have your sadnesses in prettier surroundings. Cooper's father, Wyatt Cooper, died when Anderson was ten years of age; his brother Carter committed suicide when Anderson was still in college. Anderson Cooper could have grown into a spoiled, posh brat - famous for having rich parents and nothing more. We've all seen more than enough of those people, clutching tiny dogs and falling out of limousines. Instead of being a rich jerk, he faked a press pass and went into some of the most dangerous parts of the world. Then he reported what he saw.
Anderson Cooper is a phenomenally gifted writer. His ability not only to educate, but to make one feel (be that feeling sympathy, interest or rage) is something I truly did not expect. There are little jolts of reality that startled me as I read this slim volume. Upon his return from a war-torn area, he gets into clean clothes and goes for his first real meal in ages. He's having a lovely time and breathes deep, only to breathe in the scent of death that he thought he'd left behind. The odor has clung to his unchanged boots, and is inescapable. There are more than 200 pages of just such moments, each more beautifully written than the one that precedes it.
Anderson Cooper's travels are an attempt to find his own inner compass, he discovers, given the early losses of his father and brother. How those experiences are tied together within his emotions makes for fascinating reading.
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Anderson Cooper relates this "All this came about for me in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and I started writing about a week after. In many ways, I'd been sort of writing it in my head for the last 15 years. "But there was something about this sort of combination of the present that I was seeing, this horror and this tragedy, and the bravery and the compassion of the people I was meeting." "I was surrounded by all these moments from my past," he said. "My father had lived in New Orleans. My father had grown up in Mississippi. I had been there with him as a child and he had died when I was very young. It was sort of this joining the past and present and I just started writing, and it sort of flowed from there."
Cooper's father was writer Wyatt Cooper, and his mother is Gloria Vanderbilt. Anderson Cooper is the journalist who now has a 2 hour show on CNN called "360". He grew up in a privileged home. When he was ten his father died from complications of cardiac surgery. And, later on, his brother committed suicide by jumping from his mother's apartment in NYC. Both of these events you would think would be difficult to deal with, and they were for Anderson. But, he has some terrible relating his emotions. Death he can relate to, and he has seen it all over the world. In fact he sometimes jumps from on corner of the world to another so quickly; you wonder just where he is. "Where IN The World Is Anderson Cooper? Anderson survived his father and brother's death and went to college at Yale. He graduated and could not find a job in broadcasting/ His mother's name made no difference. So, he went out into the world and met people. Eventually he landed a job at ABC covering the overnight news and reporting for 20/20. He was then given his own show"The Mole", and this is where he was "discovered". His time at CNN has been meteoric and his emotional delivery while covering Hurricane Katrina made him a star. He is admired and respected as a journalist and he has a down to earth delivery. A youngish charm that belies his silvery grey hair.
Anderson Cooper does not talk about his personal life in this book... Much has been speculated and written about him. It is his right not to disclose his sexual orientation, and we should leave it at that. What he does discuss is his philosophy of journalism and the fact that he volunteers to work on New Years Eve. It relieves him of doing anything social. He remembers a New Years Eve watching TV with his brother when his father was in the hospital.
"I've always hated New Year's Eve. When I was ten, I lay on the floor of my room with my brother, watching on TV as the crowd in Times Square counted down the remaining seconds of 1977. My father was in the intensive care unit at New York Hospital. He'd had a series of heart attacks, and in a few days would undergo bypass surgery. My brother and I were terrified, but too scared to speak with each other about it. We watched, silent, numb, as the giant crystal ball made its slow descent. It all seemed so frightening: the screaming crowds, the frigid air, not knowing if our father would live through the new year"
This is as personal as it gets for Anderson Cooper. Where in the world IS Anderson Cooper? Recommended. prisrob 5-26-06
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Anderson Cooper's experiences as a journalist in some of the world's most gruesome places are told against a background of his own personal loss and sadness. He writes about the horrors of Sri Lanka after the tsunami, war-torn Iraq and Sarajevo, the famine in Niger, and New Orleans after Katrina. In each ghastly place, painful memories are triggered of his father's early death and his brother's suicide.
He writes in the present tense with a sense of immediacy, urgency, and intimacy. He often muses that his star has risen with the world's body count, that his fame is based on showing the suffering of thousands around the globe. He's a passionate professional, but also seems vulnerable and haunted by his grief. The graphic descriptions of misery are hard to read, but they are somewhat balanced by his genuine concern for those he writes about.
I read this book a few years back and absolutely loved. Its a personal account of his own experiences both growing up with the suicide of his brother and death of his beloved father through to him covering the Katrina disaster. Years latter I still remember what he wrote about the Katrina disaster "Hope is not a solution". As a Nation you can not just hope everything works out you have to do something.