April 24, 2007

David Halberstam (1934-2007)

David Halberstam will be missed for the independence of his thought; his hunger for information and relentlessness in its pursuit; and his endless search of history for keys to understanding of events.

But above all he will be missed for his (little d) democrat's devotion to providing what the people need and should know of the characters, events and issues of the day.

His 52 years of reporting and his 21 books, no make that 22 with one he had just finished on the Korean War, covered an array of topics from war to the playing field. But they were all about how we meet the challenges of life. Make no mistake about it. The fact that he was on his way to an interview with Y.A. Title, a former New York Giants quarterback, was yet another step along that the same road for David.

Everything he wrote was a part of his driven desire to understand the connection between events and where the way we meet them will take us; the knowledge we need in order to make adjustments when necessary to avoid creating new and more troublesome futures for ourselves. This was the purpose of his journalism. It was his reason for being.

His death—coming as it does at a time when it seems journalism has lost its way and the people have lost faith in journalism—is a challenge that needs to be filled by those who care about journalism in the public service.

For more tributes and related stories, please visit PEJ’s Remembering David Halberstam.

Bill Kovach for PEJ

Books by David Halberstam:

The Noblest Roman (1961)

The Unfinished Odyssey of Robert F. Kennedy (1965)

The Making of a Quagmire: America and Vietnam During the Kennedy Era (1965)

One Very Hot Day (1967)

Ho (1971)

The Best and the Brightest (1972)

The Powers That Be (1979)

The Breaks of the Game (1981)

The Amateurs: The Story of Four Young Men and Their Quest for an Olympic Gold Medal (1985)

The Reckoning (1986)

Summer of '49 (1989)

The Next Century (1991)

The Fifties (1993)

October 1964 (1994)

The Children (1999)

Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made (1999)

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

Firehouse (2002)

The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship (2003)

Bill Belichick: The Education of a Coach (2005)

The Coldest Winter (due in fall 2007)

Source: Associated Press