Friday, July 20, 2007

Halberstam's last despatch

David Halberstam, who died in April, was America's most popular historian, the king of those slab-like ruminations on America's place in the world that they go in for over there. He made his name with his reporting from Vietnam (left). His death in a road accident was made even more tragic by the fact that he was being driven by a journalism student who was one of his biggest admirers. His last piece appears in the latest Vanity Fair. It's an attack upon the Bush cabinets hijacking of historical parallels and contains many fine lines. Here's my favourite:
Cheney still speaks of Vietnam as a noble rather than a tragic endeavor, not that he felt at the time—with his five military deferments—that he needed to be part of that nobility.


  1. Excellent piece about Halberstam by an old friend of his at the Columbia Journalism Review:

    Makes me wish I was born 40 years earlier, in America, and with about 300 per cent more talent for the written word. "They", as in the writers who came of age in the late Fifties and early Sixties, made the most of what was a remarkable time for writers and writing.

  2. Anonymous10:51 pm

    Cheney stills speaks of Vietnam as a noble endeavour, and, lucky us, he is going to be acting President for the next few days, while doctors search up the Bush jacksie for the Bush head (I think I have that right...)

    As though Cheney isn't defacto President anyway...