Halberstam, David 1934-2007

views updated

Halberstam, David 1934-2007


See index for CA sketch: Born April 10, 1934, in New York, NY; died in a car accident, April 23, 2007, near San Francisco, CA. Journalist and author. A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Halberstam devoted much of his life to writing nonfiction titles and was well known for such books as The Best and the Brightest (1972) and The Powers That Be (1979). A 1955 graduate of Harvard University, he found his first reporting job with the West Point, Mississippi, Daily Times Leader. After four years with the Nashville Tennessean, where he often reported on the civil rights movement, he joined the New York Times staff in 1960. Here he became a foreign correspondent, reporting from Zaire, Vietnam, Warsaw, and Paris. It was while in Vietnam, during the early stages of America's involvement there, that Halberstam became disenchanted with his country's military intervention strategy. He began to report critically about the war, and his reporting earned him a Pulitzer at the young age of thirty. It also resulted in his first book, The Making of a Quagmire: America and Vietnam during the Kennedy Era (1965). A follow-up, in which he also analyzed the failed policies of the Johnson administration, was titled The Best and the Brightest. Together the books form what many consider some of the best examples of political journalism of the twentieth century. Halberstam quit the New York Times in 1966 to become a full-time writer. Other political works by Halberstam include The Powers That Be and War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton, and the Generals (2001), the latter being a finalist for the Pulitzer. Beginning in the 1980s, however, the journalist focused increasingly on sport stories, releasing such titles as The Breaks of the Game (1981), The Summer of '49 (1989), Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made (1999), and The Education of a Coach (2005). After the terrorist attacks in 2001, he was compelled to return to political topics. He wrote the text for New York September 11: As Seen by Magnum Photographers (2001), Firehouse (2002), which is about firefighters who lost their lives in the attack, and edited Defining a Nation: Our America and the Sources of Its Strength (2003). His last book, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, was released posthumously.



Chicago Tribune, April 24, 2007, Section 1, p. 3.

Los Angeles Times, April 24, 2007, pp. A1, A15.

New York Times, April 24, 2007, p. C13.

Times (London, England), April 25, 2007, p. 68.

Washington Post, April 24, 2007, pp. A1, A9.