David Halberstam’s last speech

David Halberstam in Vietnam 

From, of all places, Business Week (via Gawker) we present the last speech of David Halberstam, greatest journalist of his generation and one of the immortals in a field which was pioneered by other lightweights like Jonathan Swift and Voltaire. I can’t say it any better than Business Week did, so let’s go to the article:

History, after all, was a favorite theme of this lion of American journalism. In 1955, after graduating from Harvard, Halberstam took a job at The Daily Times Leader in West Point, Miss., because he thought it would provide him an opportunity to write about race. When that didn’t work out as he had planned, Halberstam hitchhiked up to Nashville and put in an application at The Tennessean.

There, he wrote about race with a vengeance. In 1960, The New York Times lured him away. In 1964, when Halberstam was 30, he and Malcolm Browne of the Associated Press won Pulitzers for their coverage of the Vietnam War and the overthrow of the Saigon regime.

In 1967, Halberstam quit daily journalism and began writing books. Over the next 40 years he wrote 21 books covering such topics as foreign policy, civil rights, business, and sports. His 1973 classic about the Vietnam War, The Best and the Brightest, described how and why the “ablest men to serve in the government this century” turned out to be “architects of the greatest American tragedy since the Civil War.”

In 1994, The Reckoning addressed the Japanese challenge to American automakers. And in 2000 The Powers that Be tackled the rise of the American media. Halberstam’s 21st book, The Coldest Winter, a look back at the Korean War, will be released this fall. “I think it’s my best work,” he said in his Apr. 21 speech.

transcript here

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