Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author David Halberstam was killed yesterday morning in a car accident in Menlo Park, California, near San Francisco, the San Mateo County coroner’s office said Monday. He was 73. Halberstam was a passenger in a car driven by a student at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, where Halberstam had spoken Saturday about the craft of journalism. Three others were reportedly injured in the accident which took place near the Dunbarton Bridge and the NY Observer reports that the precise cause of death is still under investigation, though earlier reports named internal injuries.
Halberstam rose to fame with the 1972 publication of THE BEST AND THE BRIGHEST, an account of the origins of the Vietnam War. Though in recent years Halberstam had devoted much of his energies to writing about sports, his latest project, according to the AP, was a book about the Korean War. Further information reveals that this book was completed and Halberstam had just signed a contract for two more books.
The New York Times has a long obit of Halberstam (plus additional photos and audio footage) while the SF Chronicle’s obituary explains how Halberstam was on his way to a long-sought interview for a book he was preparing on a legendary 1958 football game. He was only 3 miles away when the car crash happened. Also, Frances Dinkelspiel attended Halberstam’s weekend keynote speech, and reports about it duly.