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.
Herr co-wrote the screenplay for Full Metal Jacket which was nominated for an Academy Award with his close friend director Stanley Kubrick and author Gustav Hasford.
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 Kubrick's film Eyes Wide Shut.