Dispatches Background

Dispatches Background

Dispatches is a New Journalism book by Michael Herr published in 1977. The autobiographical work details Herr's harrowing experiences as a war correspondent during the Vietnam War.

Prior to the book's release, many Americans had a very narrow concept of the experiences of soldiers during the war. Dispatches, along with other pieces of Vietnam war literature, shed light on the previously undiscussed topic in the perspective of a solider. Serving as an integral aspect of American literature, Diapatches is regarded highly for its ability to create a more dynamic view of the war, and the humans fighting in it. 

Fellow war correspondents Sean Flynn, Dale Dye, and Dana Stone offer insights throughout the book, as well as photojournalist Tim Page.

"Composite characters" are crafted in the book from a variety of soldiers Herr had met, as well as his own experiences. These fictional characters were later used as source material for cult the classic films Full Metal Jacket and Apocalypse Now.

In 2009, Dispatches received the distinction of being noted as a contemporary classic. In 2011, the book made the top 100 greatest non-fiction book list in The Guardian. 


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