Monday, April 23, 2007

RIP: David Halberstam

ESPN reported that David Halberstam, a Pullitzer Prize-winnning sports author, has passed away following a car accident today.
Halberstam, a New Yorker, was a passenger in a car that was broadsided by another vehicle in Menlo Park, south of San Francisco, San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault said.

"Looking at the accident and examining him at the scene indicated it's most likely internal injuries," Foucrault said.

The driver of the car carrying Halberstam is a student at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and was taken to Stanford Medical Center. Two others were injured.

Halberstam spoke Saturday at a UC Berkeley-sponsored event on the craft of journalism and what it means to turn reporting into a work of history.

He was born April 10, 1934, in New York City, the son of a surgeon father and teacher mother.

After attending Harvard University, Halberstam launched his career in 1955 at the Daily Times Leader, a small daily newspaper in Mississippi. By age 30 he had won the 1964 Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the Vietnam War for the New York Times.

He quit daily journalism in 1967 and wrote 21 books covering such diverse topics as the Vietnam War, civil rights, the auto industry and a baseball pennant race. His 2002 best-seller, "War in a Time of Peace," was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction.

Halberstam turned his attention to America's fascination with sports later in his career. "Summer of '49," published in 1989, chronicled the famed pennant race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The 1999 book "Playing for Keeps" looked at Michael Jordan phenomenon. His most recent work, 2001's "The Education of a Coach" provides an inside look into Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

"There's a great quote by Julius Irving that went, 'Being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don't feel like doing them,'" Halberstam said in a March interview with NY1 News.

Halberstam perservered, writing 21 books in his career, despite personal tragedy. In 1980, Halberstam's brother Michael, a cardiologist, was killed by an escaped convict in a robbery.

"There's nothing you can do," Halberstam said in the NY1 interview. "You have to get on, and you have to get on with life, and get on with the living."
May he rest in peace.

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