I’ve been reading this book for years – I think I bought it from a charity shop in my last year of Uni and on paper it should be ranked up there with my favourites, seeing as it is a 20th Century American war novel, but somehow it’s not.
Dispatches is a series of vignettes of the Vietnam war, as recounted by an American correspondent – that’s essentially it ! I think when I started it the first time I expected more of a story – I did actually have to start the book over again because I couldn’t remember where I’d got up to – which I don’t normally have to (there are some books that I’ve been reading for years – like Gravity’s Rainbow). It’s not an especially long book either – which I think is also testament to what an effort it eventually was to read – although by the end I did start to get in to it – I think maybe because there were finally some reoccurring characters and a bit more character progression. I feel a bit bad that I’m struggling to find much more to say on it – because although it took a (very) long while to get in to, I did ultimately quite enjoy it, but I don’t have any particularly strong views on it – completely in contrast to the John le Carre quote on the front of my edition which hails it as “the best book I have ever read on men and war in our time”.