David Halberstam, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, died yesterday (April 23 in the United States) from injuries sustained from a traffic accident in Menlo Park, California. According to reports, the Toyota Camry in which Halberstam was a passenger was broadsided by an Infiniti sedan. Halberstam was pronounced dead on the scene. He had just come from a speaking engagement in UC Berkley where he spoke on what it meant to be a journalist.Halberstam gained renown for his comprehensive books on politics and, later in his career, on sports. Among his most compelling sportswriting books are The Breaks of the Game, which chronicled the fortunes of the 1978 Portland Trailblazers; Playing for Keeps, a work on Michael Jordan’s career until the 1998 Championship; and Summer of ’49, widely considered by aficionados to be THE baseball book, which chronicled the pennant race between the Yankees and the Red Sox that year.
Halberstam’s new book, The Coldest Winter, is set for publication later this year. The book focuses on certain aspects of the Korean War.
I’ve always wanted to meet this guy, shake his hand, and say thanks for how he inspired me to write true and honest stories. I guess I’ll have to wait until we meet in the wild blue yonder.
Earlier on in his career, his book on the Vietnam War helped changed the course of public opinion on the subject. I hope his new book on the Korean War does the same for the Iraq occupation.