Michael Herr (1940-2016)

Michael Herr’s amazing “nonfiction memoir” Dispatches, based on his time as an embedded reporter greatly affected the way I, and many others, viewed the recently ended Vietnam War, excuse me, “police action.” His vision of war spread even further through his collaboration on Full Metal Jacket and, especially, the voice over narration he wrote for Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalyse Now:

I just hope he managed to find the peace he wished for others who served there:

“I do believe it’s OK to have been there — to have seen it, to have participated in it. I wish people didn’t have to suffer for 20 years for what happened there. Just in the way that I wish that all the people who remember it would forget it, I wish all the people who’ve forgotten it would remember it — if they could just change places. And all those guys could move that rock off their chests.

“I don’t know if there’s any other level on which catharsis is possible — other than doing it alone, and quietly.”

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