Thursday, May 17, 2007

Dispatches from the Edge


This is definitely not the best time to write about a book you just read...or is it? the images are fresh in your mind and you have soo much to say. I just finished "Dispatches from the edge" by Anderson Cooper..yes, THE CNN Anderson Cooper. It is his memoir of war, disasters and survival. Andy Cooper doesn't talk about anything new.. the stories covered are all the same old stories we've heard over and over again.. the tsunami, wars in rwanda, bosnia, iraq, starvation in somalia, hurricane katrina, etc. THough we've heard about all these, reading the crude brutal facts makes you want to cry.
Why is it that when i change channels from a war report to a comedy-sitcom, i feel like the world's become a happier place? people dying are still dying..its just that i chose to change channels.. move away from their reality. i have done it soo often that its become a habit for me.. by not listening to the horror stories of attacks and disasters, i feel that those incidents have not happened.. and i know i am not the only one who shuts out the truth.
So what does it feel like to be in these places right in the middle of action? how does it feel to constantly face death? how does it feel to watch people cry after losing someone special in life? Anderson Cooper has been through it all and his crisp desxriptions are heart rending. It makes you feel guilty for curling up in the couch ready to watch "the break up" , when there are millions of people dying all around the world..
the book is of course not just a description of events..there is a human side to it.. he writes about his feelings as he moves from war sticken iraq to starvation filled somalia to flooded new orleans. What makes the book more personal is ofcourse his personal story.. the loss of his father when he was 10 years old and the even more tragic suicide of his brother when he was about 10 years older..
the book definitely does fill you with grief. in this book, cooper reveals for the first time how deeply affected he has been by the wars, disasters and tragedies he has witnessed..who would'nt be?
another endearing quality about the book is the honesty that is displayed in it.. the reality is not covered and the truth is exposed.. very honestly.
being a public health student, i have come across various talks about the inefficiency in disaster management that was displayed after 9/11 and yet again after hurricane katrina. the reality about how bad it actually was, is brought out in this book. cooper spends about half the book duscussing katrina.. first covering the disaster and then covering the disastrous management of the disaster. the scenario seems so unreal..
i think this book is a must read for all.. it is rather depressing..but i guess it is something that al of us have to face sometime in our lives. we cannot go on living like life's a bed of roses..
it is a definite eye opener..
go read it right away!!:)

1 comment:

Bharathi Ram said...

Thanks so much for the great review, Ramya! Didn't know about this book by Anderson Cooper. But now I will definitely give it a read, thanks to you:) I do quite like Cooper's style.

And you have a very beautiful blog! Kudos to you for all these wonderful reviews. Great going!:)