Halberstam, David 1934–2007

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Halberstam, David 1934–2007


Born April 10, 1934, in New York, NY; died of injuries suffered during a car crash, April 23, 2007, in CA; son of Charles A. (a surgeon) and Blanche (a teacher) Halberstam; married Elzbieta (an actress), June 13, 1965 (divorced, 1977); married Jean Sandness Butler, June 29, 1979; children: Julia. Education: Harvard University, B.A., 1955. Hobbies and other interests: Reading detective and suspense novels, watching late movies on television, fishing.


Daily Times Leader, West Point, MS, reporter, 1955-56; Nashville Tennessean, Nashville, TN, reporter, 1956-60; New York Times, New York, NY, staff writer, 1960-67, foreign correspondent in the Congo (now Zaire), 1961-62, Vietnam, 1962-63, Warsaw, Poland, 1965, and Paris, France, 1966; Harper's, New York, NY, contributing editor, 1967-71.


Society of American Historians, Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs (fellow).


Page One Award, Newspaper Guild of New York, 1962; George Polk Memorial Award, Long Island University, 1963; Louis M. Lyons Award, 1964; Pulitzer Prize, Columbia University, 1964, for international reporting; Overseas Press Club Award, 1973; Political Book Award, 1986, for The Reckoning; American Book Award, Before Columbus Foundation, 1988, for The Reckoning; Elijah Lovejoy Award, Colby College, 1997; Bob Considine Award from St. Bonaventure College, Robert Kennedy Award, and Robert Melcher Book Award from Unitarian Church, all 1999, all for The Children; various honorary degrees.



The Noblest Roman, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1961.

(Editor) Stephen Crane, Great Stories of Heroism and Adventure, Platt (New York, NY), 1967.

One Very Hot Day (novel), Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1968.


The Making of a Quagmire: America and Vietnam during the Kennedy Era, Random House (New York, NY), 1965.

The Unfinished Odyssey of Robert Kennedy, Random House (New York, NY), 1969.

Ho, Random House (New York, NY), 1971.

The Best and the Brightest, Random House (New York, NY), 1972, reprinted with a new foreword by John McCain, Modern Library (New York, NY), 2001.

The Powers That Be, Knopf (New York, NY), 1979.

The Breaks of the Game, Knopf (New York, NY), 1981.

On a Very Hot Day, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1984.

The Amateurs: The Story of Four Young Men and Their Quest for an Olympic Gold Medal, Morrow (New York, NY), 1985.

The Reckoning, Morrow (New York, NY), 1986.

The Summer of '49, Morrow (New York, NY), 1989.

The Next Century, Morrow (New York, NY), 1991.

(Editor) The Best American Sports Writing, 1991, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1991.

The Fifties, Villard (New York, NY), 1993.

October 1964, Villard (New York, NY), 1994.

(Editor) The Kansas Century: One Hundred Years of Championship Jayhawk Basketball, Andrews & McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 1997.

The Children, Random House (New York, NY), 1998.

(Editor) The Best American Sports Writing of the Century, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1999.

Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made, Random House (New York, NY), 1999.

War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton, and the Generals, Scribner (New York, NY), 2001.

(Author of text) New York September 11: As Seen by Magnum Photographers, PowerHouse Books (New York, NY), 2001.

Firehouse, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2002.

Teammates, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2003.

(Editor) Defining a Nation: Our America and the Sources of Its Strength, National Geographic (Washington, DC), 2003.

The Education of a Coach, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2005.

The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2007.

The Making of a Quagmire: America and Vietnam during the Kennedy Era, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 2007.

Everything They Had: Sportswriting from David Halberstam, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2008.

Contributor of articles to magazines, including Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Harper's Bazaar, and McCall's. Columnist for ESPN.com.


David Halberstam's best-selling books are characterized by voluminous research and an anecdotal, novelistic narrative style. Although the subjects he tackled ranged from the Japanese auto industry to rowers competing to enter the Olympic Games, Halberstam was consistently attracted by the question of power and to those individuals who have been able to influence events in the United States. Three of his best-known books, The Best and the Brightest, The Powers That Be, and The Reckoning, have been described collectively as a trilogy on power in America.

Beginning his career as a war correspondent and political reporter, Halberstam was assigned to South Vietnam by the New York Times in 1962, and his controversial articles often questioned the official version of events in the Vietnam War. In 1964 he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting, and after that he continued to examine the war in a series of books and in many magazine articles. In The Best and the Brightest, Halberstam traced American entanglement in Vietnam and criticized the leaders of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations for this involvement; he also offered biographical studies of the presidents themselves and of McGeorge Bundy, then-Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, then-Secretary of State Dean Rusk, economist Walt W. Rostow, General Maxwell Taylor, and General William C. Westmoreland.

In The Powers That Be, Halberstam made the case that the media helped shape recent American politics and society through depictions of the histories of four news reporting giants: Time, Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. Former CBS correspondent Daniel Schorr, reviewing the book for the Progressive, thought Halberstam showed himself to be squarely on the side of the reporters. Schorr observed: "The price of compelling narrative [in this book] is acceptance of the author's perspective. Halberstam's own experience and feeling inevitably color his story." In the New Statesman Godfrey Hodgson expressed disappointment that Halberstam restricted himself to only four opinion makers. Despite this, Hodgson found Halberstam to be quite readable. "The sheer energy of his infatuation with what he calls power (and I would call influence) carries you along with him," wrote Hodgson. Although questioning the lack of analysis and explanation "of how these empires of the written and the spoken word are held together," the critic admitted, "I lay back, let the tide carry me down the river, took no notice of the mistakes floating past like flotsam, or of the interesting landscapes we were ignoring on the bank, and found myself enjoying it."

In The Breaks of the Game and The Amateurs: The Story of Four Young Men and Their Quest for an Olympic Gold Medal, Halberstam turned his investigative reporting and characteristic narrative style to the world of sports. The Breaks of the Game examines the gritty world of professional basketball, and The Amateurs looks at top-level rowing among the four men's single sculls who competed for the right to represent the United States in the 1984 Olympics. David Guy, writing in the Chicago Tribune Book World, characterized The Amateurs this way: "Halberstam has written a penetrating, fascinating and remarkably suspenseful narrative about one of the last truly non-professional sports in the country, amateur rowing, and in particular about rowing's most prestigious event, the single scull." NewYork Times reviewer Christopher Lehmann-Haupt noted that the subject of The Amateurs is "the psychology of competitive rowing. It's about the need to drive oneself through various levels of pain if one wants to win at sculling." As in some of his other work, Halberstam enlivens the story with biographical information, in this case offering the biographies of the four competitors. Critiquing the book for the Washington Post Book World, John Jerome noted, "In his usual fashion Halberstam interviews everyone, triangulates every opinion, gets incisive insights and hard judgments even from the oarsmen's mothers. The result is pure reporting on a level undreamt of elsewhere in sports."

With The Reckoning, the final volume in what many view as his trilogy on power in America, Halberstam discusses the history of two automobile makers—Ford in the United States and Nissan in Japan—from World War II to the mid-1980s. Halberstam selected the number-two auto company in each country as his subjects because this approach was journalistically more manageable than writing about the largest and most powerful automakers. John F. Baker, who interviewed Halberstam for Publishers Weekly, described the book as "a study of American arrogance and blindness and Japanese self-sacrifice and tenacity—and [it] is up-to-date enough to register the recent entry on the auto scene of Korea as an unlikely rival to Japan for the rich American market." Halberstam told Baker: "I like to think the book has value as an alarm clock, telling Americans there's something very out of sync with their society." Washington Monthly contributor James Fallows voiced a similar view: "The Reckoning's importance is in helping to shake us out of our complacency."

The Reckoning "does more than scold, however," noted James Flanigan in the Los Angeles Times Book Review. He explained, "One of the book's strengths is its reporting on Japanese recent history, on how a devastated nation became an economic power." In the New York Times, Peter T. Kilborn related that "Halberstam spent five years at this enterprise, and it shows. For all that has been written of the two countries' industrial competition, much of his work is new and telling." Famed economist John Kenneth Galbraith, writing in the New York Times Book Review, called Halberstam's research "formidable" and pointed out that the author persists beyond the exterior of the story: "He seeks out executives, workers and trade unionists and tells of their lives, aspirations, achievements, disappointments, failures and, especially as regards the managers at Ford, of their unending, vanity-inspired and functionally damaging bureaucratic jealousies and infighting."

Some reviewers, though, criticized Halberstam for the unattributed stories that he related in making his case about the two automakers. Although Fallows praised The Reckoning as "a thorough and engrossing case study" and gave the book a largely positive review, he also thought that the revealing anecdotes and mini-biographies at the heart of Halberstam's work are judgments rather than "truth" and should be presented as such. Fallows likewise noted that "it would be fairer to give the reader some idea of the deduction, interpretation, and yes, guesswork that lie behind the stories." In Chicago's Tribune Books, Peter Collier registered a similar objection: "A nonfiction novelist at heart, Halberstam is somewhat cavalier about documentation. He includes a list of the people he interviewed for the book, but doesn't use footnotes. This is not a pedantic quibble: In a place like Detroit, where everyone has a private agenda and speaks with a sharpened tongue, it is valuable to know who is saying what about whom." But some commentators emphasized that Halberstam's writing style and the scope of his projects lent themselves to taking a distinct critical stance, whether it be to praise or to blame. Nevertheless, Washington Post Book World contributor Robert Kuttner declared, "like Halberstam's other books, this one is a tour de force of reporting, synthesis and storytelling. Admirers of Halberstam will recognize the familiar formula; his critics will be freshly annoyed by it."

With The Summer of '49 Halberstam once again took up the subject of professional sports, this time major league baseball. He portrays the 1949 American League pennant race, in which the Boston Red Sox suddenly overtook their archrivals, the New York Yankees, only to lose the championship in the final game of the season. The story is told through accounts of two opposing baseball heroes: Joe DiMaggio of the Yankees and Ted Williams of the Red Sox. Justin Kaplan, writing in the New York Times Book Review, described the book as "vigorous, altogether engrossing, loaded with dugout insight and wonderful vignettes." In addition to chronicling the pennant race, Halberstam identifies this season as a turning point in baseball—the time in which sport gave way to show business. Thomas H. Kean noted in the Wall Street Journal: "In the days following World War II, baseball was, as Mr. Halberstam says, ‘not so much a sport but a blinding national myth.’ It was the way for the children of immigrants to escape and to excel." In summing up Halberstam's achievement, Time magazine's Martha Duffy wrote: "This new work may be his most appealing, mainly because it is quirky and informal, and the author leaves his moral fervor in the bat rack."

In The Next Century, a slim volume that examines America since Vietnam, Halberstam made a case he had made before: Americans have ignored growing problems such as weakening educational standards and a decline in economic productivity to the detriment of the nation's future. Some critics pointed out that the book's title is a misnomer since Halberstam examines the twentieth century in great detail, but never quite predicts what the next century will hold. Dan Tucker, reviewing the book in the Chicago Tribune, called The Next Century "an attempt to sort out the main forces at work on American society and the world, and to see in what directions they seem to be pushing us."

The New York Times's Lehmann-Haupt stated: "As one prominent Japanese [Halberstam] talked to sees it, what America needs is some sort of shock to jar it ‘out of its complacency, an event on the order of Sputnik.The Next Century is far from shock therapy. But by addressing readers intelligently instead of bludgeoning them with dire statistics, it catches the ear." Several critics praised Halberstam for resisting the temptation to blame Japan for America's relative failures compared to Japan's success. Bill Bradley, then a U.S. senator, commented in the New York Times Book Review that The Next Century "is one of the few books to recognize that the challenge facing the United States is not finding a scapegoat for our economic blunders but making the most of our physical and mental capabilities, improving our productivity in an open, democratic structure."

Halberstam examined the political, historical, and sociological perspective of the decade from 1950 to 1960 in his book The Fifties. He discussed events that run the gamut from the politics of the Eisenhower years to the success of the television series I Love Lucy. John Podhoretz, writing in the Wall Street Journal, pointed out that Halberstam's anecdotes about the suburbanization of America and the rise of McDonald's are familiar ones, and he faulted Halberstam for cataloguing events rather than analyzing why the memory of this particular decade holds such appeal for Americans. Podhoretz wrote, "Mr. Halberstam is so intent on avoiding controversy that he cannot and will not take sides in the debate on the meaning of the decade he has written 800 pages about." Chicago Tribune reviewer Herbert Gold voiced a similar objection but remarked favorably on those sections of the book that investigate less well-known events. Observed Gold: "Chapter 25, about the overthrow of Mossadegh and the installation of the Shah of Iran, has some bite because the story is less familiar. It's a nice and nasty interlude in which we find the aged Winston Churchill congratulating Kermit Roosevelt of the CIA on a well-managed coup."

Halberstam's October 1964 found the author returning to a memorable baseball season, this time the 1964 season in which the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the New York Yankees to win the World Series. Through colorful vignettes of the two teams' unusually articulate and influential players, Halberstam drew parallels between the events of the 1964 season and the ground-breaking social changes that were affecting every aspect of American culture at the time, from race relations to the contentious Vietnam War to the growing power of the media. In particular, Halberstam focused on the racial issues that came into play during the season. While the Yankees had long been a dominant force, their aging, mostly white roster stood in stark contrast to that of the upstart Cardinals. Under the direction of cantankerous owner August Busch, the beer magnate, the Cardinals roster included many young black stars: Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, and Curt Flood. Halberstam pointed out that the integrated Cardinals team was free of racial strife; its victory in the World Series symbolized the sport's transformation from one focused on power and high-scoring innings to one featuring speed and aggressive base running.

Writing in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, Allen Barra remarked that "the overview afforded by October 1964 is splendid." Washington Post Book World contributor Frank Mankiewicz commented that "Halberstam describes the final game of the 1964 series accurately and so dramatically, I almost thought I had forgotten the ending." James E.B. Breslin, however, critiquing for the New York Times Book Review, compared October 1964 unfavorably to The Summer of '49, noting that Halberstam "does not have the intimate emotional connection to the 1964 season that he did to 1949" and as a result "takes only a halfhearted swing at social history," instead concentrating on "individuals who transcend that history." Nevertheless, Breslin termed the book "engaging."

After writing The Children, an award-winning study of young people involved in the civil rights movement in the early 1960s, Halberstam returned to the subject of sports with Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made, a biography of the man whom some observers consider the greatest pro basketball player ever. "Air Jordan" played for the Chicago Bulls from 1984 to 1999—with a brief detour to attempt a baseball career—and led the Bulls to multiple NBA championships. (He came out of retirement in 2001 to play with the Washington Wizards.) Halberstam chronicles the athlete's success on the basketball court, something due, the author says, not only to Jordan's great natural ability but also to his disciplined efforts; he also explores Jordan's rise as a media star with high-profile commercial endorsements, and seeks to explain Jordan's significance for basketball as a whole.

In the words of New Statesman contributor John Dugdale, "Jordan was a deus ex machina for a sport in a slump when he entered the professional ranks in 1984—so miraculously answering the dreams of hard-boiled businessmen that they could scarcely believe their luck; but also, David Halberstam suggests, himself benefitting as commodity and salesman by arriving just when the smart new NBA commissioner David Stern was revamping basketball's image." Jordan's brilliant playing, good looks, gentlemanly manner, and hard-to-resist charm—evident in his commercials for Nike shoes, McDonald's restaurants, and other consumer products—gave him a sterling public persona, but Halberstam shows there is more to the story, Dugdale and other critics observed. "Jordan emerges simple in essence and ambiguous in context," remarked L.S. Klepp in Entertainment Weekly. "The simple essence is his relentless will to be better than anyone else, to win and win with a vengeance…. But for all his devotion to the game, Jordan had a lot to do with the way it veered into tawdry entertainment." Klepp explained that Halberstam's "underlying theme" is that Jordan's role in popularizing pro basketball "didn't corrupt him but did corrupt the sport," and that his successors are unlikely to handle themselves with such grace as he did. Not that Jordan lacks faults; Dugdale reported, "His evident intelligence never extended to political issues"—he was "bewildered" by protests against Nike's use of child labor in developing countries.

Several other reviewers pointed out Halberstam's willingness to deal with all aspects, admirable and less so, of Jordan's character. "Jordan, as drawn by Halberstam, is generous, loyal, thoughtful but flawed," related Ira Berkow in the New York Times Book Review, adding that "he is, Halberstam underscores, no Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali or Paul Robeson in the civil rights arena." Berkow praised Halberstam by saying, "He skillfully skirts hagiography and writes as credible reporter." USA Today writer Erik Brady noted that Halberstam's treatment of Jordan "is mostly admiring, though not entirely," and that "Jordan emerges in all his complexity, as do his lessers." Brady termed Playing for Keeps "a meticulously reported book," depicting Jordan and his teammates, coaches, and other associates "in revealing, delicious detail." Dugdale called the book "as ambitious and omnicompetent as its subject" and "much richer than a conventional sports biography." Berkow criticized the book for "an occasional excess of information regarding peripheral aspects of Jordan's life and lapses in which the language is less than carefully or thriftily wrought." He concluded, though, that "Halberstam overall has succeeded in lending perspective to the world Michael Jordan both made and inherited, as well as in portraying Michael Jordan the man and not the icon."

Halberstam left sports for international affairs with War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton, and the Generals. This book examines U.S. foreign policy in the 1990s, as pursued by presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, the United States faced no opposing superpower but dealt with small wars around the world in Iraq, Bosnia, Somalia, and other places. It was sometimes slow to intervene in these conflicts, though, and unsure of what constituted U.S. interests after the end of the Cold War. War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton, and the Generals is designed as a companion to The Best and the Brightest. Many of the political and military leaders of the 1990s—of whom Halberstam provides detailed portrayals in the newer work—had been young adults during the Vietnam War; some had served in it, and it was a haunting memory.

"Still, Halberstam is smart enough to avoid concluding that the memory of Vietnam drove the major military decisions of the Clinton administration or, as it turned out in some cases, the nondecisions," observed Jane Perlez in the New York Times Book Review. New York Times reviewer Richard Bernstein noted that this memory "was a major element in the almost paralyzing caution" of Clinton and his advisors, "but it was far from the only factor. Among the others was the simple fact that George Bush's striking victory against Iraq in the gulf war did not give him much political lift at home, and for the Clinton administration, political lift at home was all important. Meanwhile, the calamity of the Somalia operation, which involved the loss of eighteen soldiers in a grisly mob attack in 1993, cast a shadow over all future operations." Halberstam portrays the United States as "groping for a strategy, a vision of what it should do in a turbulent and unsettled post-cold war world to stabilize it at low cost," related Nation contributor Dusko Doder, and finally discovering, during the 1999 Kosovo conflict, "that things in the world could be changed by a minimum, casualty-free application of American air power."

Doder was not wholly convinced by Halberstam's endorsement of this means of warfare. "In making the argument for the use of air power, Halberstam presents a fuzzy account of the collapse of the Bosnian Serbs in 1995," Doder wrote, also maintaining that the book lacks "Halberstam's bone-deep knowledge and refined critical powers that gave his Vietnam book a firm spine of political argument. He does not know the Balkans; as a result, he brings little knowledge or insight gained firsthand." Doder added that in light of the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001—which occurred after War in a Time of Peace went to press—and the subsequent war in Afghanistan, "the book's seductive concept that a war can be won by air power alone is now being put to a real test…. Given the short American political attention span, the air bombardments in the Balkans could be presented as victories even though they resolved none of the problems on the ground, where U.S. troops continue doing constabulary duty to keep peace in Bosnia and Kosovo. The war against terrorism is something of an entirely different magnitude, and it will engage our attention for a long time." To some other reviewers, though, Halberstam's book retained great relevance after September 11. "Now that foreign affairs have come home to the United States in the most crushing of ways," commented Perlez, "are [Americans] ready to read an account of foreign policy and its makers by one of the most astute writers in the trade? If they want to learn about the past decade, they should. If they want to think seriously about the future, they must." Bernstein granted that "the situation in Afghanistan is different, but it would be difficult to imagine a better, more detailed and informed account of how the country has handled its recent crises than Mr. Halberstam's new book." After the September 11 attacks, Halberstam came out with two books on the tragedy: New York September 11: As Seen by Magnum Photographers, a book of photos from the event accompanied by text by Halberstam, and Firehouse, which is the story of the valiant firefighters who died trying to save lives at the World Trade Center.

In Defining a Nation: Our America and the Sources of Its Strengths, Halberstam enlists thirty-six leading historians and writers to ask why our country "for all its flaws, for all the things I dissent from, remains so powerful a beacon to so many of the less favored of the world." He introduces essays by contributors like Walter Cronkite, Louis Auchincloss, Joan Didion, Anna Quindlen, and Anthony Lewis that define key issues and events that have shaped the American character, from Paul Revere's ride to Margaret Sanger's campaign for birth control. Halberstam explains that he chose immigration, innovation, and egalitarianism as his themes and focuses on the country's last one hundred years because until the eve of World War I, America "was still growing in its body." Each contributor illuminates an aspect of America's uniqueness: for Richard Reeves it's the changes wrought by the GI Bill, for Julia Reed it's regional cooking, for Nick Kotz it's farming, for Bill Geist it's cars or, as he puts it, "freedom machines." Halberstam penned essays on inventor Henry Ford and the civil rights movement, two of his favorite subjects.

After having written about baseball, basketball, rowing, and the Olympic games, Halberstam tackled the subject of football in The Education of a Coach, concentrating on the career of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. Belichick led the Patriots to a record four Super Bowl appearances in 2001, 2003, 2004, and 2007. The first three of these were victories—one of the most impressive records in all sports history. Belichick worked for the Baltimore Colts, Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, and New York Giants before joining the New England Patriots as head coach in 2000. He quickly won a reputation as "the low-key thinking man's football coach," reported John Maxymuk in Library Journal, whose "‘football first’ credo," according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer, "was born of precision and discipline." "His unusually dispassionate and analytical approach," stated Ray Vignovich in Library Journal, "makes him unique in his profession." In fact, Belichick's "quiet demeanor, pathological dullness during interviews, and complete lack of on-field charisma and calculated flash," declared Ted Richards in Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature, was "a healthy and welcome antidote to the crass egoism and unfettered narcissism that is coming to define professional sports."

Belichick's inspiration, Halberstam said, came from the life and career of his father, Steve Belichick. The elder Belichick was a former Detroit Lions player whose "love of football drew him into coaching," a Kliatt reviewer explained. "He became a superb scout and served as an assistant coach at the Naval Academy for thirty-three years." "Steve started teaching his son how to break down film at the age of nine," Katarina Tepesh wrote on AuthorsDen.com, "instilling in Bill the work ethic of his immigrant family." "In describing the triumph of ‘an unadorned man,’ a coach without artifice, Halberstam has created a tale of excellence, but not an especially moving book, except perhaps to Patriots fans," Richard Sandomir stated in the New York Times Book Review. "Belichick, ever the man of chalk, but now the leader of what Halberstam calls a kind of ‘secular faith,’ doubtlessly divined the weaknesses in Halberstam's storytelling plans and gave only as much as he wanted to give, but no more." In The Education of a Coach, Wes Lukowsky wrote in Booklist, Halberstam "takes the classic sports-bin formula—one stellar performer's rise to the pinnacle of American sport—and transforms it into a nuance-rich story of individual triumph and social history."

Whether Halberstam wrote about basketball's Air Jordan or the U.S. military's air power, his books were often best sellers, even when they received mixed reviews from critics. His many readers seem to agree with James Fallows's judgment of The Reckoning: "Because the book is so richly detailed, so complete in its coverage, and so readable page-by-page and anecdote-by-anecdote, the complaints about it, which will come, need to take second place to its virtues."

David Halberstam died on April 23, 2007, in an auto accident outside of Menlo Park, California. He was on the way to interview former New York Giants quarterback Y.A. Tittle about the 1958 championship game between the Giants and the Baltimore Colts—a game widely regarded as the greatest football match ever played. "Though ‘he was the premier journalist of his generation,’ said Anthony Lewis, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who also worked at the New York Times," explained San Francisco Chronicle writer Oscar Villalon, "he was nonetheless ‘a kind, funny, generous human being. I never saw him do a mean thing. He had a core integrity that gave him weight, whether he was writing about sports or Vietnam.’"



Downie, Leonard, Jr., The New Muckrakers: An Inside Look at America's Investigative Reporters, New Republic Books (Washington, DC), 1976.

Dygert, James H., The Investigative Journalist: Folk Heroes of a New Era, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1976.

Prochnau, William W., Once upon a Distant War, Times Books (New York, NY), 1995.


Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature, spring, 2006, Ted Richards, review of The Education of a Coach, p. 188.

Booklist, October 1, 2005, Wes Lukowsky, review of The Education of a Coach, p. 4.

Business Week, October 8, 2001, "Not Halberstam's Best or Brightest," p. 18.

Chicago Tribune, February 25, 1991, Dan Tucker, review of The Next Century; June 20, 1993, Herbert Gold, review of The Fifties.

Chicago Tribune Book World, July 14, 1985, David Guy, review of The Amateurs: The Story of Four Young Men and Their Quest for an Olympic Gold Medal.

Commentary, June, 1999, Joseph Epstein, "He Flew through the Air," p. 46; January, 2002, Jacob Heilbrunn, review of War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton, and the Generals, p. 58.

Entertainment Weekly, February 5, 1999, L.S. Klepp, "The Air up There," p. 62.

Foreign Affairs, November-December, 2001, Michael Hirsh, "America Adrift: Writing the History of the Post Cold Wars," p. 158.

Kliatt, John E. Boyd, review of The Education of a Coach, p. 62.

Library Journal, October 1, 2001, James R. Holmes, review of War in a Time of Peace, p. 124; October 15, 2005, John Maxymuk, review of The Education of a Coach, p. 62; February 15, 2007, Ray Vignovich, review of The Education of a Coach, p. 158.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, November 23, 1986, James Flanigan, review of The Reckoning, pp. 1, 13; August 21, 1994, Allen Barra, review of October 1964, p. 4.

Nation, November 26, 2001, Dusko Doder, "Air Power Politics," p. 22.

National Review, November 5, 2001, Andrew J. Bacevich, "Fog of Wars," p. 62.

New Republic, December 3, 2001, Robert Kagan, "How We Unlearned the Art of War: When America Blinked," p. 29.

New Statesman, October 5, 1979, Godfrey Hodgson, review of The Powers That Be; April 3, 2000, John Dugdale, "Fateful Tango," p. 58.

New York Times, July 18, 1985, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of The Amateurs; October 20, 1986, Peter T. Kilborn, review of The Reckoning; February 11, 1991, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of The Next Century, p. C14; January 19, 1999, Michiko Kakutani, "When He Shot, He Scored: Jordan the Man and Athlete," p. E1; October 10, 2001, Richard Bernstein, "A New and Cautious Age in American Intervention," p. E8.

New York Times Book Review, October 26, 1986, John Kenneth Galbraith, review of The Reckoning, pp. 1, 57-58; May 7, 1989, Justin Kaplan, review of The Summer of '49; February 17, 1991, Bill Bradley, review of The Next Century, p. 9; August 14, 1994, James E.B. Breslin, review of October 1964, p. 9; January 31, 1999, Ira Berkow, "Looking over Jordan," p. 11; September 30, 2001, Jane Perlez, "The 90's Wars," p. 8; November 27, 2005, Richard Sandomir, "X's and O's."

Progressive, July, 1979, Daniel Schorr, review of The Powers That Be.

Publishers Weekly, October 17, 1986, John F. Baker, interview with David Halberstam, pp. 44-45; October 10, 2005, review of The Education of a Coach, p. 52.

Time, May 22, 1989, Martha Duffy, review of The Summer of '49.

Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), October 5, 1986, Peter Collier, review of The Reckoning, pp. 1, 3.

USA Today, December 2, 1999, Erik Brady, "Keeps Pumps Fresh Air into Jordan Profile."

Wall Street Journal, June 26, 1989, Thomas H. Kean, review of The Summer of '49; June 23, 1993, John Podhoretz, review of The Fifties.

Washington Monthly, April, 1987, James Fallows, review of The Reckoning, pp. 39-45; September, 2001, Nicholas Thompson, review of War in a Time of Peace, p. 41.

Washington Post Book World, June 30, 1985, John Jerome, review of The Amateurs, pp. 1, 8; October 19, 1986, Robert Kuttner, review of The Reckoning, pp. 1, 11.


AuthorsDen.com,http://www.authorsden.com/ (March 18, 2008), Katarina Tepesh, review of The Making of a Coach.

EW.com,http://www.ew.com/ (March 18, 2008), Chris Nashawaty, review of The Education of a Coach.



New York Times, April 24, 2007, Clyde Haberman, "David Halberstam, 73, Reporter and Author, Dies."

San Francisco Chronicle, April 24, 2007, Oscar Villalon, "David Halberstam: 1934-2007."

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Halberstam, David 1934–2007

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