Celebrated author, historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer David Halberstam died yesterday in a car crash. He was 73 years old, and befittingly was on his was to interview former New York Giants quarterback Y.A. Tittle for yet another book he was working on.Halberstam seemed to be the Stephen King of the non-fiction world, publishing a book a year. We’ve only read Teammates, his account of Red Sox players Johnny Pesky and Dom Dimaggio driving 1,300 miles to Florida to be with their dying friend Ted Williams. We’re not the least bit ashamed to admit we cried. Aaa-lot. And then he did it again with his portrait of New York Firefighters on 9/11. Firehouse, was another story about the bonds of friendship and the devestation it can have when many of those friends die. We cried. Aaa-lot.
The New York Times has an exceptional obituary for the writer. A man we wish we could have been friends with. As anyone who alternates between writing about sports and the military is alright in our book. Some excepts:
Tall, square-jawed and graced with an imposing voice so deep that it seemed to begin at his ankles, Mr. Halberstam came into his own as a journalist in the early 1960s covering the nascent American war in South Vietnam for The New York Times.
?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.
Over the years, he developed a pattern of alternating a book with a weighty theme with one that might seem of slighter import but to which he nonetheless applied his considerable reportorial muscles. ?He was a man who didn?t have a lazy bone in his body,? said the writer Gay Talese, a close family friend.
Almost invariably, Mr. Halberstam wrote about sports in those alternate books. ?They were his entertainments,? his wife said. ?They were his way to take a break.?
In the recent NY1 interview, Mr. Halberstam summed up his approach to work by quoting a basketball player. ?There?s a great quote by Julius Erving,? he said, ?that went, ?Being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don?t feel like doing them.? ?
You will be missed sir.