Halberstam, David

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Halberstam, David

David Halberstam, 1934–2007, American journalist and author, b. New York City, grad. Harvard (B.A., 1955). A reporter (1956–60) for newspapers in Mississippi and Tennessee, he chronicled the nascent civil-rights struggle. Moving (1960) to the New York Times, he covered the crisis in the Congo, then was reassigned (1962) to South Vietnam. He quickly became known for the candor of his dispatches describing the futility and corruption of the Vietnam War and was praised for the clarity of his prose style. Halberstam won a Pulitzer Prize in 1964 and the following year published The Making of a Quagmire, a powerful study of the Vietnam conflict. Altogether, he wrote more than 20 books covering a wide spectrum of subject matter—from history and politics to biography and sports. His most acclaimed work, The Best and the Brightest (1972, National Book Award), profiled the brilliant men who led America into the Vietnam War. Among his other books are The Noblest Roman (1961), The Powers That Be (1979), The Fifties (1993), and War in a Time of Peace (2001). His last book, The Coldest Winter (2007), a study of the Korean War, was published after he died in an automobile accident.

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