David Halberstam (April 10, 1934 – April 23, 2007) was an American journalist and historian, known for his work on the Vietnam War, politics, history, the Civil Rights Movement, business, media, American culture, and later, sports journalism. He won a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1964. Halberstam was killed in a car crash in 2007, while doing research for a book.
Halberstam in 1978
|Born||April 10, 1934|
New York City, U.S.
|Died||April 23, 2007 (aged 73)|
Menlo Park, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Journalist, historian, writer|
|Education||A.B., Harvard College|
|Spouse||Elżbieta Czyżewska (1965–1977; divorced)|
Jean Sandness Butler (1979–2007; his death; 1 child)
|Relatives||Michael J. Halberstam (brother)|
Halberstam was born in New York City and raised in Winsted, Connecticut, where he was a classmate of Ralph Nader. He moved to Yonkers, New York and was graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1951. In 1955 he was graduated from Harvard College in the bottom third of his class with a A.B. degree after serving as managing editor of The Harvard Crimson.
Halberstam's journalism career began at the Daily Times Leader in West Point, Mississippi, the smallest daily newspaper in Mississippi. He covered the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement for The Tennessean in Nashville. John Lewis later stated that Halberstam was the only journalist in Nashville who would cover the Nashville sit-ins.
Halberstam arrived in Vietnam in the middle of 1962, to be a full-time Vietnam reporter for The New York Times. Halberstam, like many other US journalists covering Vietnam, relied heavily for information on Phạm Xuân Ẩn, who was later revealed to be a secret agent for the National Liberation Front for South Vietnam.
During the Buddhist crisis, he and Neil Sheehan debunked the claim by the Diệm regime that the Army of the Republic of Vietnam regular forces had perpetrated the brutal raids on Buddhist temples, which the American authorities had initially believed, but that the Special Forces, loyal to Diệm's brother and strategist Nhu, had done so to frame the army generals. He was also involved in a scuffle with Nhu's secret police after they punched fellow journalist Peter Arnett while the pressmen were covering a Buddhist protest.
Halberstam left Vietnam in 1964, at age 30, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting that year. He is interviewed in the 1968 documentary film on the Vietnam War entitled In the Year of the Pig.
In the mid-1960s, Halberstam covered the Civil Rights Movement for The New York Times. He was sent on assignment to Poland, where he soon became 'an attraction from behind the Iron Curtain' to the artistic boheme in Warsaw. The result of that fascination was a 12-year marriage to one of the most popular young actresses of that time, Elżbieta Czyżewska, on June 13, 1965.
Initially well received by the communist regime, two years later he was expelled from the country as persona non grata for publishing an article in The New York Times criticizing the Polish government. Czyżewska followed him, becoming an outcast herself; that decision disrupted her career in the country where she was a big star, adored by millions. In the spring of 1967, Halberstam traveled with Martin Luther King Jr. from New York City to Cleveland and then to Berkeley, California for a Harper's article, "The Second Coming of Martin Luther King". While at the Times, he gathered material for his book The Making of a Quagmire: America and Vietnam during the Kennedy Era (which developed the Quagmire theory).
Halberstam next wrote about President John F. Kennedy's foreign-policy decisions on the Vietnam War in The Best and the Brightest. In 1972 Halberstam went to work on his next book, The Powers That Be, published in 1979 and featuring profiles of media titans like William S. Paley of CBS, Henry Luce of Time magazine, and Phil Graham of The Washington Post.
In 1980 his brother, cardiologist Michael J. Halberstam, was shot and killed during a home invasion by escaped convict and prolific burglar Bernard C. Welch Jr His only public comment related to his brother's murder came when he and Michael's widow castigated Life magazine, then published monthly, for paying Michael's killer $9,000 to pose in jail for color photographs that appeared on inside pages of the February 1981 edition of Life.
In 1991 Halberstam wrote The Next Century, in which he argued that, after the end of the Cold War, the United States was likely to fall behind economically to other countries such as Japan and Germany.
Later in his career, Halberstam turned to sports, publishing The Breaks of the Game, an inside look at Bill Walton and the 1979-80 Portland Trail Blazers basketball team; Summer of '49, on the baseball pennant race battle between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox; October 1964, on the 1964 World Series between the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals; Playing for Keeps, an ambitious book on Michael Jordan in 1999; The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship, focusing on the relationships among several members of the Boston Red Sox in the 1940s; and The Education of a Coach, about New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. Much of his sportswriting, particularly his baseball books, focuses on the personalities of the players and the times they lived in as much as on the games themselves.
In particular, Halberstam depicted the 1949 Yankees and Red Sox as symbols of a nobler era, when blue-collar athletes modestly strove to succeed and enter the middle class rather than making millions and defying their owners and talking back to the press. In 1997, Halberstam received the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award as well as an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Colby College.
After publishing four books in the 1960s, including the novel The Noblest Roman, The Making of a Quagmire and The Unfinished Odyssey of Robert Kennedy, he wrote three books in the 1970s, four books in the 1980s, and six books in the 1990s including his 1999 The Children which chronicled the 1959–1962 Nashville Student Movement. He wrote four more books in the 2000s, and was working on at least two others at the time of his death.
In the wake of 9/11 Halberstam wrote a book about the events in New York City, Firehouse, which describes the life of the men from Engine 40, Ladder 35 of the New York City Fire Department. The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, the last book Halberstam completed, was published posthumously in September 2007.
Halberstam died in a traffic collision on April 23, 2007 in Menlo Park, California, thirteen days after his 73rd birthday. He was en route to an interview with former San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants quarterback Y. A. Tittle for a book about the 1958 championship game between the Giants and the Baltimore Colts. After Halberstam's death, the book project was taken over by Frank Gifford, who played for the losing New York Giants in the 1958 game, and was titled The Glory Game, published by HarperCollins in October 2008 with an introduction dedicated to David Halberstam.
Howard Bryant in the Acknowledgments section of Juicing the Game, his 2005 book about steroids in baseball, said of Halberstam's assistance: "He provided me with a succinct road map and the proper mind-set." Bryant went on to quote Halberstam on how to tackle a controversial non-fiction subject: "Think about three or four moments that you believe to be the most important during your time frame. Then think about what the leadership did about it. It doesn't have to be complicated. What happened, and what did the leaders do about it? That's your book."
Pulitzer Prize-winning Korean War correspondent Marguerite Higgins was the staunchest pro-Diệm journalist in the Saigon press corps, frequently clashing with her younger male colleagues such as Neil Sheehan, Peter Arnett and Halberstam. She claimed they had ulterior motives, saying "reporters here would like to see us lose the war to prove they're right."
Conservative military and diplomatic historian Mark Moyar claimed that Halberstam, along with fellow Vietnam journalists Neil Sheehan and Stanley Karnow, helped to bring about the 1963 South Vietnamese coup against President Diệm by sending negative information on Diệm to the U.S. government in news articles and in private, all because they decided Diệm was unhelpful in the war effort. Moyar claims that much of this information was false or misleading. Sheehan, Karnow, and Halberstam all won Pulitzer Prizes for their work on the war.
Newspaper opinion editor Michael Young posits that Halberstam saw Vietnam as a moral tragedy, with America's hubris bringing about its downfall. Young writes that Halberstam reduced everything to human will, turning his subjects into agents of broader historical forces and coming off like a Hollywood movie with a fated and formulaic climax.
|Interview with Halberstam on The Reckoning, October 1, 1987, C-SPAN|
|Booknotes interview with Halberstam on The Fifties, July 11, 1993, C-SPAN|
|Discussion at Fisk University with Halberstam and panelists who were profiled in The Children, March 26, 1998, C-SPAN|
|Discussion with Halberstam on Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made, February 22, 1999, C-SPAN|
|Discussion with Halberstam on War in a Time of Peace, October 7, 2001, C-SPAN|
|Halberstam interviewed by Ben Bradlee on the influence of The Best and the Brightest, February 13, 2005, C-SPAN|
Chet Atkins' Workshop is the fourteenth studio album recorded by American guitarist Chet Atkins. Full of pop and jazz stylings and no country, this became his best-selling LP to date, peaking at No. 7 on the Billboard Pop album charts.Double Seven Day scuffle
The Double Seven Day scuffle was a physical altercation on July 7 (7/7), 1963, in Saigon, South Vietnam. The secret police of Ngô Đình Nhu—the brother of President Ngô Đình Diệm—attacked a group of journalists from the United States who were covering protests held by Buddhists on the ninth anniversary of Diệm's rise to power. Peter Arnett of the Associated Press (AP) was punched on the nose, and the quarrel quickly ended after David Halberstam of The New York Times, being much taller than Nhu's men, counterattacked and caused the secret police to retreat. Arnett and his colleague, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and photographer Malcolm Browne, were later accosted by police at their office and taken away for questioning on suspicion of attacking police officers.
After their release, the journalists went to the US embassy in Saigon to complain about their treatment at the hands of Diệm's officials and asked for US government protection. Their appeals were dismissed, as was a direct appeal to the White House. Through the efforts of US Ambassador Frederick Nolting, the assault charges laid against the journalists were subsequently dropped. Vietnamese Buddhists reacted to the incident by contending that Diệm's men were planning to assassinate monks, while Madame Nhu repeated earlier claims that the US government had been trying to overthrow her brother-in-law. Browne took photographs of Arnett's bloodied face, which were published in newspapers worldwide. This drew further negative attention to the behaviour of the Diệm régime amidst the backdrop of the Buddhist crisis.Gene Graham
Gene Swann Graham (August 26, 1924 – May 24, 1982) was an American journalist and educator who was associated for many years with the Nashville Tennessean and with the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. He was a co-winner of the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 1962.John Seigenthaler, former publisher of the Tennessean and a founding editorial director of USA Today, described Graham as "a multi-talented journalist, a first rate reporter, a wonderful cartoonist believe it or not, and also a fine editorialist." David Halberstam, a fellow Pulitzer Prize winner and veteran of the Tennessean, called Graham a "great reporter."In the Year of the Pig
In the Year of the Pig is an American documentary film directed by Emile de Antonio about American involvement in the Vietnam War. It was released in 1968 while the U.S. was in the middle of its military engagement, and was politically controversial. In 1969, the film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. In 1990, Jonathan Rosenbaum characterized the film as "the first and best of the major documentaries about Vietnam".The film, which is in black and white, contains much historical footage and many interviews. Those interviewed include Harry Ashmore, Daniel Berrigan, Philippe Devillers, David Halberstam, Roger Hilsman, Jean Lacouture, Kenneth P. Landon, Thruston B. Morton, Paul Mus, Charlton Osburn, Harrison Salisbury, Ilya Todd, John Toller, David K. Tuck, David Wurfel and John White.Produced during the Vietnam War, the film was greeted with hostility by many audiences, with bomb threats and vandalism directed at theaters that showed it.De Antonio cites the film as his personal favorite. It features the ironic use of patriotic music, portrays Ho Chi Minh as a patriot to the Vietnamese people, and asserts that Vietnam was always a single country rather than two.List of Miami Heat broadcasters
Matches played by the American basketball team Miami Heat have been broadcast since its founding in 1988. Radio commentaries have been broadcast in English and Spanish: the English commentaries have been broadcast on the WAXY channel since 2011, and those in Spanish on WQBA since 2004. Matches have been televised on Sun Sports and its predecessors. The teams of commentators include a play-by-play commentator, a color commentator, a courtside reporter, and a studio host.Mister Guitar
Mister Guitar is the eleventh studio album recorded by guitarist Chet Atkins, released in 1959. That title, as well as "Country Gentleman", became names assigned to Chet.
"Country Gentleman", co-written with Boudleaux Bryant, was a minor hit for Atkins in 1953. That original version was recorded in a garage. The liner notes are by David Halberstam, then writing for The Tennessean in Nashville, Tennessee.Nashville Student Movement
The Nashville Student Movement was an organization that challenged racial segregation in Nashville, Tennessee during the Civil Rights Movement. It was created during workshops in nonviolence taught by James Lawson. The students from this organization initiated the Nashville sit-ins in 1960. They were regarded as the most disciplined and effective of the student movement participants during 1960. The Nashville Student Movement was key in establishing leadership in the Freedom Riders.Members of the Nashville Student Movement, who would go on to lead much of the activities and strategies of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, included Diane Nash, Bernard Lafayette, James Bevel, John Lewis, C. T. Vivian, and others.Protestors intentionally dressed 'sharp' during protests in anticipation of their arrests.Red Smith (sportswriter)
Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith (September 25, 1905 – January 15, 1982) was an American sportswriter. Smith’s journalistic career spans over five decades and his work influenced an entire generation of writers. Smith became the second sports columnist ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary in 1976. Writing in 1989, sportswriter David Halberstam called Smith "the greatest sportswriter of the two eras."Shmuel Dovid Halberstam
Rabbi Shmiel Dovid Halberstam, (Hebrew: שמואל דוד הלברשטאם), also known as the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe, is the younger son and one of the successors of Rabbi Yekusiel Yehudah Halberstam, the previous Klausenberger Rebbe. He resides in Brooklyn, New York.The Best American Sports Writing
The Best Sports Writing is a yearly anthology of magazine articles on the subject of sports published in the United States. It was started in 1991 as part of The Best American Series published by Houghton Mifflin. Articles are chosen using the same procedure with other titles in the Best American Series; the series editor chooses about 70-100 article candidates, from which the guest editor picks 25 or so for publication; many, but not all of the remaining runner-up articles listed in the appendix. The series has been edited since its inception by Glenn Stout.
Traditionally loaded with long-form feature writing and occasionally columns, the annual book is considered a must-read by many sports writers, though the reach of its influence is debatable. Authors who have appeared in the series five or more times in its 20-year history are: Gary Smith (12 times), Charles P. Pierce (eight times), Steve Friedman (10 times), S.L. Price (nine times), William Nack (seven times), Rick Reilly (seven times), Roger Angell (six times), Pat Jordan (six times), Linda Robertson (six times), Rick Telander (six times), Mark Kram Jr. (five times), Bill Plaschke (five times), Peter Richmond (five times), Paul Solotaroff (five times). It also includes award-winning writers whose genre is not exclusively sports-writing, such as Jeanne Marie Laskas whose 2008 piece "G-L-O-R-Y!" offered a rare look at professional cheerleaders.
The series culminated in 2000's Best American Sports Writing of the Century, which featured few works from the 1990s. The guest editor for that book was David Halberstam, who also was the guest editor for the first edition of the series, in 1991.The Best and the Brightest
The Best and the Brightest (1972) is an account by journalist David Halberstam of the origins of the Vietnam War published by Random House. The focus of the book is on the foreign policy crafted by academics and intellectuals who were in John F. Kennedy's administration, and the consequences of those policies in Vietnam. The title referred to Kennedy's "whiz kids"—leaders of industry and academia brought into the Kennedy administration—whom Halberstam characterized as insisting on "brilliant policies that defied common sense" in Vietnam, often against the advice of career U.S. Department of State employees.The Breaks of the Game
The Breaks of the Game is a 1981 sports book written by Pulitzer Prize winning reporter David Halberstam about the Portland Trail Blazers' 1979–1980 season. The Trail Blazers are a professional basketball team which plays in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Aside from a recap of the Blazers' season, the book attempts to give a detailed history of the NBA, the 1976–77 Portland Trail Blazers championship team, the injuries faced by departed star Bill Walton, and the life of Kermit Washington after his two-month suspension for punching Rudy Tomjanovich. The book also puts basketball into a social context and contains extensive discussion on race in the NBA.At the time of its release, the New York Times gave it high praise. The book was also given a positive review by Sports Illustrated upon its release, and later listed number 17 in Sports Illustrated's list of best sports books ever written. Popular sportswriter and television producer Bill Simmons has repeatedly talked of his admiration for the book.The Children (Halberstam)
The Children is a 1999 book by David Halberstam which chronicles the 1959–1962 Nashville Student Movement..Among the topics covered are the Nashville sit-ins, the Freedom Riders, the formation of SNCC, and activists including James Lawson, James Bevel, Diane Nash, John Lewis, Bernard Lafayette, Marion Barry, and C. T. Vivian.
The book was described by Kirkus Reviews as "a powerful account of a critical time in American history, related in both close-up and wide view." Publishers Weekly called the work "at once intimate and monumental", making note of its "brief, informative essays" on "the sociology of all-white Vanderbilt University; the eccentricities of the Nashville newspapers; a history of city politics in Washington, D.C." and "the role of the Kennedy Justice Department."The Fifties (book)
The Fifties (ISBN 9780679415596, 1993) is a historical account by David Halberstam about the decade of the 1950s in the United States. Rather than using a straightforward linear narrative, Halberstam separately tracks many of the notable trends and figures of the post-World War II era, starting with Harry Truman's stunning Presidential victory in 1948 against Thomas E. Dewey. Halberstam chronicles many political and cultural trends during the decade, including the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement and the Cold War, the creation of rock and roll via the rise of Elvis Presley, the introduction of fast food and mass marketing via the rise of McDonald's, the Holiday Inn hotel chain, the transformation of General Motors into the center of new car culture through the work of designer Harley Earl, the beginnings of the sexual revolution with the creation of the birth control pill, and the beginnings of the American counterculture through the emergence of actors Marlon Brando and James Dean and Beat Generation writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. The book ends with an account of the first televised debate between Richard Nixon and John Kennedy, serving as a prelude to the 1960s.The Powers That Be (book)
The Powers That Be is a 1979 book by David Halberstam about the American media, especially the following:
The New York Times
The Los Angeles Times
The Washington Post
TimeThe Seattle Times called the book "a monumental X-ray study of power."The Reckoning (David Halberstam book)
The Reckoning is a non-fiction book written by David Halberstam and published in 1986. He spent five years researching and writing it.It is the third and final book of his trilogy study of the forces of power in America, and has been described as "a parallel history and study of the American and Japanese automobile industries, using Nissan and Ford Motors as examples".The Shack (journalism)
The Shack is the nickname used by reporters for the police beat in New York City. In most cities, such a bureau is nicknamed a "cop shop." It is named after a cramped office located inside the NYPD headquarters, where journalists report on crime stories.
The first in-headquarters press bureau began in 1863, in the basement of the NYPD headquarters on Mulberry Street. In 1875, police superintendent George W. Walling expelled the press from the building for being too intrusive in police matters. When the NYPD moved to its beaux-arts headquarters at 240 Centre Street in 1910, the press set up shop in a tenement across the street. Its poor conditions may have resulted in the nickname. This location was the office for legendary reporters including Gay Talese, David Halberstam, Joe Cotter and McCandlish Phillips. In 1973, the NYPD moved to its new modernist-style headquarters at One Police Plaza in the Civic Center. The Shack followed with an office on the second floor of the new building. Its present tenants include Associated Press, New York Daily News, New York Post, The New York Times, Newsday, Staten Island Advance, El Diario, NY1 News and 1010 WINS. In April 2009, NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly announced plans to evict The Shack from Police Plaza by August, in order to make way for an expansion of a command center. As of 2016, the shack remains in the same location.
Civil rights movement (1950s and 1960s)