David Halberstam biography

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David Halberstam
Photo by Porter Gifford

David Halberstam

How to pronounce David Halberstam: dayvid HAL-buhr-STAM

David Halberstam Biography

David Halberstam was one of America's most distinguished journalists and historians, a man whose newspaper reporting and books helped define the era we live in. He graduated from Harvard in 1955, took his first job on the smallest daily in Mississippi, and then covered the early civil rights struggle for the Nashville Tennessean. He joined The New York Times in 1960, went overseas almost immediately, first to the Congo and then to Vietnam. His early pessimistic dispatches from Vietnam won him the Pulitzer in 1964 at the age of thirty. Many of his books, including The Best and the Brightest, The Powers That Be, The Reckoning, and The Fifties, have been national bestsellers.

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.”

He was born on April 10, 1934 in New York City.  His father, Dr Charles A Halberstam, was an Army surgeon; his mother, Blanche Levy Halberstam, a schoolteacher. 

After Vietnam and after winning his Pulitzer Prize, Mr. Halberstam was assigned to the Times bureau in Warsaw. There, he met an actress, Elzbieta Czyzewska, whom he married in 1965, but the marriage was short-lived. In 1979, he married Jean Sandness, then a writer. 

He died in a car crash south of San Francisco on April 23, 2007.  The car that he was a passenger in was hit broadside by another car and knocked into a third vehicle.  Mr Halberstam, who lived in Manhattan, was on his way to interview Y.A. Tittle, the former New York Giants quarterback, for a book about the 1958 championship game between the Giants and the Baltimore Colts.

He is survived by his wife and daughter, Julia, who both live in Manhattan.

About This Biography
This biography was last updated on 04/24/2007. We try to keep BookBrowse's biographies both up to date and accurate, but with over 2500 lives to keep track of it's inevitable that some won't be as current or as complete as we would like. So, please help us - if the information about a particular author is out of date, inaccurate or simply very short, and you know of a more complete source, please let us know. Authors and those connected with authors: If you wish to make changes to your bio, send your complete biography as you would like it displayed so that we can replace the old with the new.

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Books by this Author

Books by David Halberstam at BookBrowse
The Coldest Winter jacket War In A Time Of Peace jacket Playing For Keeps jacket
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