AP Corrects Michael Herr Obit; Boston Globe Doesn’t

June 26, 2016

As the hardreading staff has noted, yesterday’s Boston Globe ran this Associated Press obituary of the great Vietnam War chronicler Michael Herr.

 

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As we also noted, Dispatches is not a novel – it’s a splendid example of the literary non-fiction/New Journalism of the ’60s and ’70s. The AP has apparently recognized that, because here’s their obit as picked up by today’s Boston Herald.

 

 

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Oddest thing, though: The Herald’s online version has it both ways.

 

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“Non-fiction novel,” eh? That’s new.

Meanwhile, the Globe still hasn’t amended its online version of the obit.  A novel approach to corrections, eh?

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Hey, Boston Globe: ‘Dispatches’ Is NOT a Novel

June 25, 2016

Michael Herr, widely regarded as the premier chronicler of the Vietnam War, died on Thursday at the age of 76.

Today’s Boston Globe includes this Associated Press obituary. Lede:

 

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Noooo . . . not a novel, but “the seminal work of new journalism about the Vietnam War,” as Emmett Rensin wrote in Vox. It took Herr ten years to produce Dispatches, after suffering a nervous breakdown upon his return from Vietnam and not writing anything for five years.

Rensin also noted this quote by Hunter S. Thompson: “We have all spent 10 years trying to explain what happened to our heads and our lives in the decade we finally survived . . . but Michael Herr’s Dispatches puts all the rest of us in the shade.”

The end of the AP obit notes that “[Herr’s] other books included ‘Walter Winchell,’ a 1990 novel about the powerful and irascible gossip columnist.” Actually, that is a novel, so the AP went one-for-two on the book front.

No correction attached to the Globe pickup, though. So they’re oh-for-one.