RIP Michael Herr

“If you think you don’t want to read any more about Vietnam, you are wrong,” critic John Leonard of The New York Times wrote when “Dispatches” came out.

Dispatches is beyond politics, beyond rhetoric, beyond “pacification” and body counts and the “psychotic vaudeville” of Saigon press briefings. Its materials are fear and death, hallucination and the burning of souls. It is as if Dante had gone to hell with a cassette recording of Jimi Hendrix and a pocketful of pills: our first rock-and-roll war, stoned murder.”

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