|Author: David Halberstam|
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|In exploring the life and career of Ho Chi Minh, Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Halberstam provides a window into traditions and culture that influenced the American war in Vietnam, while highlighting the importance of nationalism in determining the war''s outcome.|
The son of a doctor and a teacher, David Halberstam grew up in the New York area, went to Harvard, and immediately after graduating went to Mississippi for his first newspaper job--from which he was abruptly dismissed. His second job was with the legendary Nashville Tennessean, where he covered the civil rights movement and learned the craft of reporting from his colleagues. "With all due respect to the faculty," he told a 2005 Columbia University graduating class, ''in the end, journalists mostly teach each other." His experiences in the south eventually found their way into one of his many best-selling books, THE CHILDREN, in 1999. In 1960, Halberstam got a job with the New York Times and was sent to Vietnam, where his accurate reporting upset President Kennedy enough to cause him to complain to the newspaper's publisher (to no avail) and for which Halberstam won a Pulitzer Prize in 1964. After leaving the Times, he embarked on perhaps the most noted book of his career, THE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST, published in 1972, which analyzed how the U.S. got mired in the Vietnam War as the result of bad decisions by supposedly gifted advisors, including McGeorge Bundy, Dean Rusk, and Robert McNamara. | |Halberstam wrote primarily for magazines such as Harper's and Esquire, focusing on American life, and his books include a popular history, THE FIFTIES, and a book on media and power, THE POWERS THAT BE. Halberstam is also remembered for many books on sports, including THE SUMMER OF '49, which chronicles the rivalry between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, as well as OCTOBER, 1964, on the last days of the Yankee dynasty, and a book on rowing called THE AMATEURS. He wrote THE EDUCATION OF A COACH, a portrait of Bill Belichick, and was working on a book on the football player Y.A. Tittle when he was killed in a car accident in 2007. Those last books may reflect Halberstam's own dedication to the younger generations of journalists by sharing anecdotes and giving advice. In that same 2005 commencement address at Columbia, he advised the graduates to have courage in life and work, and to resist the efforts of others to scare them off: "Never, never, never let them intimidate you."