Author Dead in Crash, Wrote 'Best & Brightest'

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David Halberstam, a Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist whose well-known book, The Best and the Brightest, was a fascinating window for many on the elite lawyers and others wielding political power in Washington, D.C., in the Vietnam War era, died today in an auto accident in California. He was 73.

The San Jose Mercury News (registration required) reports that the seat-belted Halberstam died at the scene after the left-turning car in which he was a passenger was broadsided by another vehicle. For more details, see this AP story.

In the first chapter of The Best and the Brightest, Halberstam talks about those walking the corridors of power:

“That small group of policy-makers came from the great banking houses and law firms of New York and Boston. They knew one another, were linked to one another, and they guided America’s national security in those years, men like James Forrestal, Douglas Dillon and Allen Dulles. Stimson and then Marshall had been their great leaders, and although they had worked for Roosevelt, it was not because of him, but almost in spite of him; they had been linked more to Stimson than to Roosevelt.”

In the legal arena, Halberstam—who wrote on a wide-ranging series of topics—is also known for his civil rights reporting.

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