“Published in 1977, almost a decade after his yearlong sojourn in Vietnam and after he had recovered from his own bout of depression brought on by his war experience, ‘Dispatches‘ was a sensation — an acutely observed, acutely felt, wisely interpretative travelogue of hell, deeply sympathetic to the young American conscripts, and deeply skeptical of the political and military powers that kept them there.
“Written with the residual rhythms of the 1960s counterculture, redolent of drugs and rock ’n’ roll, it was also partly fictionalized, though its authenticity was received by critics — and ordinary readers — as indisputable, and they treated it as an exemplar of the kind of fiction that is truer than fact.
“In an interview on Thursday, the novelist Richard Ford, who was a friend of Mr. Herr’s, said ‘Dispatches’ ‘gave an emotional, verbal and aural account of the war for a whole generation — of which I am a member — particularly for those who didn’t go. His nose was right in the middle of it, and he wrote exactly what it was like to be in that place and to be that young.” — From Bruce Weber‘s 6.24 N.Y. Times obit-profile of Michael Herr. Here’s my 6.24 quickie.