Michael Herr – the American writer and war correspondent famous for writing Dispatches described as ‘the best book I have ever read on men and war in our time’ by John le Carré has died aged 76.
Born in 1940 Herr was one of the most respected writers of New Journalism – the novelistic reportage pioneered by the likes of Tom Wolfe and Truman Capote – where the journalist is as much part of the story as their subject.
He practised this most famously in his book Dispatches about his time working as a war correspondent for Esquire magazine in Vietnam between 1967 to 1969.
Using traditionally literary techniques to convey the harsh realities of the war he experienced firsthand Herr produced a unique uncensored account of life among the conscripted troops.
He avoided the US government’s daily press conferences – instead placing himself among the soldiers to document the fear exhaustion and drugs he saw among the fighters.
(ed:..i can only give the highest recommendations for ‘dispatches’ – it is an incandescently brilliant piece of writing..grips you like glue..)