A Journalist For Whom There Were Not Enough Words

Henry Allen in the Washington Post:

Screenhunter_04_apr_25_2131David Halberstam was out to save the world back in the ’60s and ’70s when a lot of smart people believed that journalism would save the world, and Halberstam was just the man to lead the way, a big, bombastic man with big shoulders and features and a face full of furious wonder and realization.

As it turned out, the world didn’t agree with the smart people, and a journalistic heyday passed. But Halberstam never stopped working.

On Monday, at 73, with more than 20 books and a Pulitzer Prize on his shelf he was still at it, traveling to an interview in California when he died in a car crash.

He saw journalism as a calling, like later reporters who took him as a model in the mightiness of their efforts. He did not see it as a mere opportunity, like some of the cool-seeking, educated young people who wanted to go to high-end dinner parties and be serious and indignant like Halberstam, to have a house like his on Nantucket, to be Halberstam. He was that kind of star for a while. (The problem was, they couldn’t find everything in the world Very Important in the Halberstamian mode, everything from war to fishing for blues off Nantucket. They were too ironic, too Doonesbury.)

More here.