Michael Herr, author of “Dispatches,” the acclaimed nonfiction novel that shed light on the devastation caused by the Vietnam War in the 1970s, died Thursday in New York after a lengthy illness. He was 76.
Knopf, who published “Dispatches” in 1977, confirmed his death.
“‘Dispatches’ is one of the seminal works of the 20th century and the most brilliant treatment of war and men I have ever read,” said Knopf chairman Sonny Mehta. “It is a work that secured Michael’s legacy as one of our great writers of narrative nonfiction. We will all miss him.”
Taken from Herr’s experiences during his stint as a war correspondent for Esquire magazine, “Dispatchers” was published at a time when many veterans were reluctant to publicly reveal the horrors they experienced in Vietnam.
Because of his firsthand experience during the war, Herr was involved in the making of two films that chronicled the conflict, “Apocalypse Now” and “Full Metal Jacket.” He contributed to the narrations for “Apocalypse Now,” which was directed by Francis Ford Coppola in 1979, and co-wrote the screenplay for Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket.”
Both movies were nominated for Oscars.
Herr was a native of Syracuse, N.Y., and is considered one of the most respected writers of new journalism.