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by Adrienne Petterson © 2007     About Me

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Dispatches from the Edge - A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival
by Anderson Cooper
ISBN 0-06-113238-1
Published May 2006 - Hardcover - 212 pages - $24.95

I was keen to read Anderson Cooper's book as I'd just read two books by his mother.  I'd also just seen him on Oprah and could feel his urgency and drive.  This is a man on a mission, and God bless him, for he keeps the country in touch with what's going on in the rest of the world.  Sadly however, it often seems as though the majority of Americans couldn't really care about things "non-American".  (It's called apathy.)  So, what does this driven man get up to?  His book is a reflection of the disaster spots around the globe and how it all affects him and his own life.  He tells stories of his trips to Sri Lanka, Bosnia, Iraq, Niger, Rwanda, South Africa (I'm embarrassed), and Vietnam among other places.  He also relates some of the hair-raising things he saw and did.  From war-torn and ravaged cities to poor and starving children.  Tears came to my eyes when I read about the dying (starving) children in Niger, and how Mr. Cooper was at war with himself.  He felt so helpless, but he's not.  He's alerting the world to these people's plight and that to me, is helping.  The book is very autobiographical so it's natural that he also tells us a little bit about himself as a boy, his family, his mother Gloria Vanderbilt, and his late brother who committed suicide in 1988.  New Orleans keeps drawing him back and it's here where he's very active.  He's angry too.  "New Orleans is a fresh wound, sliced open by the shrapnel of a storm," he says, shortly after Hurricane Katrina struck.  Of course Anderson Cooper is not the only American journalist to cover wars, but, in my opinion, he's the most convincing and perhaps the most committed.
Conclusion - Do yourself a favor and read this book.

book cover

Review copy not supplied by publisher - library copy reviewed.

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