Michael Herr (born April 13, 1940, in Syracuse, New York) is a writer and former war correspondent, best known as the author of Dispatches (1977), a memoir of his time as a correspondent for Esquire magazine (1967–1969) during the Vietnam War. The book was called the best "to have been written about the Vietnam War" by The New York Times Book Review; novelist John le Carré called it "the best book I have ever read on men and war in our time." Herr later was credited with pioneering the literary genre of the nonfiction novel, along with authors such as Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, and Tom Wolfe.
From 1971 to 1975 he produced no publications. In 1977 he went on the road with rock & roller Ted Nugent and wrote about the experience in a 1978 cover story for Crawdaddy magazine.
Herr co-wrote the screenplay for Full Metal Jacket with his close friend director Stanley Kubrick and author Gustav Hasford. The film was based on Hasford's novel The Short-Timers and the screenplay was nominated for an Academy award. He also contributed to the narration for Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now. He collaborated with Richard Stanley in writing the original screenplay for the 1996 adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel, The Island of Dr. Moreau. However, Stanley claims the subsequent rewrites cost Herr his writing credit, omitting most of the material created by the two writers. The omission probably worked to his favor, however, since the movie was panned by critics and earned credited writers Stanley and Ron Hutchinson a Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay of 1997.
Herr wrote a pair of articles for Vanity Fair about Stanley Kubrick, which were later incorporated into the small book Kubrick, a very personal biography of the director. He declined to edit the script of Kubrick's film Eyes Wide Shut.
Michael Herr is retired and living with his wife Valerie Herr in Delhi, NY.