David Halberstam: A Tribute
On Monday, the legendary journalist/author David Halberstam was killed in a car accident at the age of 73. I read The Best and the Brightest almost 20 years ago, and the vivid characterizations Halberstam provided of the leading figures in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations remain with me to this day. For example, I still recall his story of McGeorge Bundy giving a fabulous presentation on some topic in, I believe, boarding school while reading from a blank page as he had not prepared anything.
Sure, he was frequently criticized for his pomposity or verbosity (and I can give second hand confirmation of the former and first hand of the latter), but he brought a talent and love to his craft that few can match. (If I could write 10% as well as he did, I would be getting paid for my insights instead of having the three of you read them on this blog!) In the years since reading what, I believe, was his magnum opus, I have read several of his other works including three of his "lighter" sports books on the 1949 Pennant Race (Summer of '49), the 1964 World Series (October 1964), and Michael Jordan (Playing for Keeps) as well as his work on the 1950s (fittingly, The Fifties). He died in the midst of his latest project, going to interview Y.A. Tittle for a book on the 1958 NFL Championship Game where the Colts beat the Giants in the first overtime game ever played and in a game forever after known as The Greatest Game Ever Played. It is such a sad loss particularly as he had so much left in him.