Pulitzer winner David Halberstam dies


SAN FRANCISCO -- David Halberstam, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author who chronicled the Washington press corps, the Vietnam War generation and baseball, died Monday in a car crash here, a coroner said. He was 73.

Halberstam, a New Yorker, was a passenger in a car that was broadsided by another vehicle in Menlo Park, south of San Francisco, San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault said.

The accident occurred around 10:30 a.m., and the driver of the car carrying Halberstam identified him as the victim, Foucrault said. A call to Menlo Park police wasn't returned.

"Looking at the accident and examining him at the scene indicated it's most likely internal injuries," Foucrault said.

The driver of the car carrying Halberstam is a student at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and was taken to Stanford Medical Center. Two others were injured.

Halberstam spoke Saturday at a UC Berkeley-sponsored event on the craft of journalism and what it means to turn reporting into a work of history.

He was born April 10, 1934, in New York, the son of a surgeon father and teacher mother.

After attending Harvard University, Halberstam launched his career in 1955 at the Daily Times Leader, a small daily newspaper in Mississippi. By age 30 he had won the 1964 Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the Vietnam War for the New York Times.

He quit daily journalism in 1967 and wrote 21 books covering such diverse topics as the Vietnam War, civil rights, the auto industry and a baseball pennant race. His books ranged from "The Noblest Roman" (1961) to "Bill Belichick: The Education of a Coach" (2005) and included biographies of Robert F. Kennedy and Michael Jordan.

His 2002 best-seller, "War in a Time of Peace," was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction.

Halberstam appeared as an interviewee on such television shows as "American Masters," for which he added insight to episodes on Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow, and ESPN's "SportsCentury." He appeared in 18 episodes of the latter series, which chronicled the people and events that shaped the sports world in the 20th century. He supplied commentary on such legendary figures as Jordan, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Joe Louis, Casey Stengel, Pete Rose, Bill Walton and John McEnroe.
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