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Michael Herr on Kubrick

Michael Herr, author of Dispatches, easily one of my all-time favorite books, worked with Kubrick on Full Metal Jacket. Soon after he passed away, Herr wrote Kubrick, a short but wonderful memoir of the man himself; this is the opening paragraph:

Stanley Kubrick was a friend of mine, insofar as people like Stanley have friends, and as if there are any people like Stanley now. Famously reclusive, as I'm sure you've heard, he was in fact a complete failure as a recluse, unless you believe that a recluse is simply someone who seldom leaves his house. Stanley saw a lot of people. Sometimes he even went out to see people, but not often, very rarely, hardly ever. Still he was one of the most gregarious men I ever knew, and it didn't change anything that most of this conviviality went on over the phone. He viewed the telephone the way Mao viewed warfare, as the instrument of a protracted offensive where control of the ground was critical and timing crucial, while time itself was meaningless, except as something to be kept on your side. An hour was nothing, mere overture, or opening move, a gambit, a small taste of his virtuosity. The writer Gustav Hasford claimed that he and Stanley were once on the phone for seven hours, and I went over three with him many times. I've been hearing about all the people who say they talked to Stanley on the last day of his life, and however many of them there were, I believe all of them.

— Michael Herr. Kubrick. Grove Press, 2000. Page 3.

As far as I'm concerned, it's the only book on Stanley Kubrick truly worth reading.