These posts are never fun, because nobody likes laughing about death unless it involves burying hookers in the desert. But I'm sad to say that David Halberstam died yesterday in a car accident in Menlo Park, California.
It's strange, for me, to discuss Halberstam as a sports author — he wrote the excellent Summer of '49, October 1964, and Bill Belichick: The Education of a Coach — because I've never thought of him as such. Only in the narrow-minded world of sports would someone as talented and important as David Halberstam be remembered solely for his sports books.
Personally, I'll remember Halberstam for his seminal tome on the Vietnam War, The Best and the Brightest. As someone who read scores of books about Vietnam (from history to memoir, for college and leisure), I think The Best and the Brightest stands out as easily one of the best books on the subject. Also on my shelf — though sadly, yet unread — is War in a Time of Peace, a book about the pre-9/11 American government that earned him a Pultizer Prize nomination.
This isn't meant to lessen Halberstam's presence as a sportswriter — indeed, he was among the best when he deigned to tackle the subject — but to remember that today, as always, there are things more important than sports.