R.I.P. David Halberstam

Author David Halberstam was killed in a car accident today. His The Best and the Brightest is a classic on the Vietnam War, and The Fifties is one of my favorite books. He’ll be missed.
**Sadly, this isn’t the first time his family has experienced tragedy – according to his Wikipedia article, Halberstam’s brother was murdered by an escaped convict in 1980.

Meant to include an article about his death.


The Breaks of the Game was the first book that took basketball seriously, and it spawned a bunch of others, most of which few people would recognize.

He will be missed.

I just saw this headline on Yahoo News and I am really bummed. I have probably read a dozen of his books, from The Best and the Brightest, to The Fifties, to The Breaks of the Game. He and David McCullough were my two favorite historical authors.

I’ll miss his tomes. They were mighty tomes. Very few could appreciate them. Only the best…

You know, just a few weeks ago I was thinking of writing him a fan letter to encourage him to consider writing another decade history – maybe “The Sixties.”

Holy shit. The radio said San Matteo, but it was actually Menlo Park. I drove right by there on my way back from Stanford today.

I remember reading his articles in the Times when I was a kid. He was a great reporter too.

OMG! :frowning:

I’m really, really sorry. I love his work… his The Reckoning is one of the finest business case studies/histories ever written.

Aw, shit. I just finished rereading “The Fifties”.

I think the only one of his books I’ve read is The Powers That Be, which I enjoyed, although I still plan to read some of the others. I was sorry to hear of his passing.

Black… very black… utterly without cream or sugar.

And now he’ll never write “The Worst and the Stupidest.”

Here’s an interesting collection of Halberstam excerpts and opinion pieces that relate to the current crisis in journalism.


People like Ted Koppel on NPR this morning, who know more about such things than I, said Halberstam was a great writer. I came to his writings through his sports books, which were less than stellar.

Quoting from an Amazon review fo Halberstam’s book, “The Summer of '49”, which itself references baseball writer Bill James’ unfavorable review of the book,

" There are many errors of fact that could have been avoided with a little research on Halberstam’s part. To mention just a few:

  1. Mel Parnell was not a rookie in 1948.
  2. Gene Bearden did not win the Rookie of the Year award.
  3. Jackie Robinson did not steal bases “at will” against Yogi Berra in the 1947 series, in fact, he stole exactly one base.
  4. Denny Galehouse was not primarily used in relief in 1948.
  5. Joe McCarthy was not “weary of rookies.” In fact, very few managers used rookies as often as McCarthy did."
    Halberstam’s other baseball book, “October 1964” contained a more basic error. Halberstam’s premise was that the New York Yankees dynasty of 1947-64 was doomed to failure because the Yankees did not make an effort to sign black players. I would point out that while it is true that the Yankees did not sign black players (save for Elston Howard and one or two others I can’t remember now), the Yankees were not harmed by such failure from 1947 to 1964, and during that time compiled just about the greatest record in professional sports. Taken in that light, Halberstam’s premise, “if only they weren’t prejudiced and had signed some black players”, appears ridiculous.