Tuesday, April 24, 2007

David Halberstam

If the Vietnam era did one thing, it certainly produced a number of excellent journalist-authors. Neil Sheehan (A Bright Shining Lie) and David Halberstam (The Best and the Brightest) have really defined so much of the understanding of how the Vietnam war went the way it did.

Sadly, Halberstam died yesterday in a car accident. Working away at his next book at the age of 73, I think it's fair to say he died in the saddle the way any journalist might ask to. Just in case you were wondering, I think we can safely say he wouldn't have approved of modern conventions:
“He was not antiwar,” Mr. Prochnau said. “They were cold war children, just like me, brought up on hiding under the desk.” It was simply a case, he said, of American commanders lying to the press about what was happening in Vietnam. “They were shut out and they were lied to,” Mr. Prochnau said. And Mr. Halberstam “didn’t say, ‘You’re not telling me the truth.’ He said, ‘You’re lying.’ He didn’t mince words.”
He's already got a book about the Korean War slated to come out in the fall. And now, with The Best and the Brightest and War in a Time of Peace on my bookshelf, I need to make time to read both.

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