Pulitzer-Winning Writer David Halberstam Killed In Car Crash At Age 73

Monday, April 23rd 2007, 7:02 pm
By: News On 6

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ David Halberstam, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who chronicled the Washington press corps, the Vietnam War generation and baseball, was killed in a car crash early Monday, a coroner said. He was 73.

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

A call to Menlo Park police wasn't immediately returned.

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

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 City to a surgeon father and teacher mother. His father was in the military, and Halberstam moved around the country during his childhood, spending time in Texas, Minnesota and Connecticut.

Halberstam attended Harvard University, where he was managing editor of the Harvard Crimson newspaper.

After graduating in 1955, he launched his career at the Daily Times Leader, a small daily in West Point, Miss. He went on to the Tennessean, in Nashville, where he covered the civil rights struggle, and then the New York Times, which sent him to Vietnam in 1962 to cover the growing crisis there.

In 1964, at age 30, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting from Vietnam.

He later said he initially supported the U.S. action there but became disillusioned. That disillusionment was apparent in Halberstam's 1972 best-seller, ``The Best and the Brightest,'' a critical account of U.S. involvement in the region.

He quit daily journalism in 1967 and wrote 21 books covering such topics as Vietnam, Civil Rights, the auto industry and a baseball pennant race. His 2002 best-seller, War in a Time of Peace, was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction.

Speaking to a journalism conference last year in Tennessee, he said government criticism of news reporters in Iraq reminded him of the way he was treated while covering the war in Vietnam.

``The crueler the war gets, the crueler the attacks get on anybody who doesn't salute or play the game,'' he said. ``And then one day, the people who are doing the attacking look around, and they've used up their credibility.''