Michael Herr deserves his own post, if only for “Dispatches,” a work I’ve mentioned here before.
He went to Vietnam for Esquire, not for Uncle Sam, and he had to have a breakdown before he finished the book for which he would be best known.
If you saw “Apocalypse Now,” you’ve heard his work (he wrote the narration). You got some more of it in “Full Metal Jacket” (he wrote the screenplay with Gustav Hasford, author of “The Short-Timers,” for his friend Stanley Kubrick).
But “Dispatches” was the real deal. Seventies reportage from the scene, slightly fictionalized, deeply admired, by the king of Gonzo journalism, Hunter S. Thompson, and by me, too.
Rest in peace, Mr. Herr.
• “Hell Sucks,” which became part of “Dispatches,” reprinted in its entirety at Esquire.
• “Breathing In,” also from “Dispatches,” excerpted by NPR.
• Herr’s New York Times obit.
• A remembrance by Graydon Carter.
• A 2000 interview in The Guardian by fellow war correspondent Ed Vulliamy.