After Hours

RIP, David Halberstam, my favorite writer

This has nothing to do with tech, but I'm going to post it anyway in the hopes that there are others in this audience that feel the same loss that I do. Yesterday, writer David Halberstam was killed in a car accident in California.

Halberstam (1934-2007) made unforgettable contributions to the literature and history of the 20th century. His writing always demonstrated a dogged pursuit of the truth, a brilliant conciseness, and the heart of someone who truly cared about the direction of the human race. I was amazed by his versatility for eloquently providing insights on big topics such as Vietnam while also being able to write inspirational prose about deeply personal relationships between retired athletes.

He was my favorite author. I had hoped to meet him one day to talk about the craft of writing, his views of contemporary events, and his vision of the future of media and publishing and how it meshed with my own vision. It's sad that now I will never have the chance, and even more sad that the world will lose this terrific writer and historian who certainly still had several more great books in him. He died while researching his latest work. 

For those who have never read any of Halberstam's stuff, I'd recommend the following: 

  • The Teammates (friends come to grips with life and mortality when driving to visit their buddy Ted Williams on his deathbed)
  • Firehouse (story of a New York fire station touched by 9/11)
  • The Fifties (a portrait of the cultural and political forces driving America in the 1950's)
  • The Best and the Brightest (his classic book about Vietnam)
  • The Powers That Be (inside look at the role of the media in American life and politics)
  • Summer of '49 (legendary 1949 baseball season featuring the Yankees and the Red Sox)
  • Playing for Keeps (a biography of Michael Jordan)

About Jason Hiner

Jason Hiner is Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox