Monday, April 23, 2007

Halberstam RIP

One of the nation's greatest journalists is dead. David Halberstam died in a Bay Area traffic accident today. He is best known for his work on politicians trying to manage war, the Best and the Brightest is one of the greatest indictments of the Vietnam war effort. I highly recommend you read Once Upon a Distant War by William Prochnau. This book describes how Halberstam and other journalists came to realize how badly Vietnam was going.

Halberstam'ss War in a Time of Peace describes the post-Cold War/Pre-Bush 2 attempts to properly use force as foreign policy tool. It isn't as good as Best and the Brightest, but it is quite good.

Although he is best known for his national security policy writing, he also wrote about sports and the civil rights movement. I have his book on 1950s America on my too read pile.

He was at work on two books a the time of his death.

Jonathan Yardley had a live chat on Halberstam on Tues Apr 24. When asked why people love Halberstam books, he had this to say: One of my pet theories is that readers have built-in BS detectors that enable them to recognize insincerity in writers. David was sincerity to the core. He believed in what he wrote, and that conviction conveyed itself to readers. That, I think, is the key.


joanna said...

I'm listening to Terri Gross on NPR - they're airing a bunch of past Halberstam interviews - really interesting topics. He was just talking about Michael Jordan and his Nike relationship/his uncommon prescience regarding the branding and money-making possibilities.
Anyway, if you're missing it, I'm sure you can hear them on

Tripp said...

Thanks, I would like to hear that.