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Wednesday, April 25, 2007 11:17 am
David Halberstam, R.I.P.
Posted by: Keir Graff

David Halberstam’s untimely death won’t be news to anyone today, but it took me until today to sift through some of the obituaries and tributes. The legacy of his Vietnam reporting is, of course, far-reaching, and his books, on an impressively wide range of subjects, have informed and inspired many readers. I was struck by this quote, requoted in the New York Times obit (“David Halberstam, 73, Reporter and Author, Dies,” by Clyde Haberman):

"A writer should be like a playwright – putting people on stage, putting ideas on stage, making the reader become the audience," he recently told an interviewer for NY1 News.

The same piece seems to suggest that the popularity of the phrase “best and the brightest” originated with Halberstam’s book of the same title. A minor point, perhaps, but anyone who can put a string of words into lasting circulation has certainly affected the public’s psyche. An Associated Press article (“Best & Brightest: Former Colleagues Pay Tribute to Halberstam“) collects quotes from his friends and colleagues, themselves heavyweights, further testament to his influence.

Here are links to the reviews of Halberstam’s books in Booklist Online (bear in mind that the BOL archive only goes back to 1992):

The Education of a Coach (2005)

The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship (2003)

Firehouse (2002)

War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton, and the Generals (2001)

Playing for Keeps (1999)

The Children (1998)

The Fifties (1993)



One Response to “David Halberstam, R.I.P.”
  1. Likely Stories » Blog Archive » Beauty School Allegedly Not Also a Journalism School Says:

    [...] It’s a good point. Much as I love Wikipedia, I don’t view it as an authority equal to Encyclopedia Britannica (excuse me: Encyclopaedia). A book by a beautician who calls herself “Crazy Deb” clearly doesn’t carry the same weight as a book written by the late David Halberstam. [...]

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