Wednesday, April 25, 2007

David Halberstam and Kurt Vonnegut

In just the past few weeks, two of my favorite authors passed away. I was first introduced to both David Halberstam and Kurt Vonnegut in college. Although I do not remember the specific class (one was for a history course, the other politics), I certainly remember reading both Vonnegut’s “Player Piano” and “Galapagos.” I liked Vonnegut’s style of writing and the ideas presented in his books. Over the years, I’ve probably read another half dozen of his books. I don’t exactly know how to describe his books, but there were always parts that made me smile and parts that made me think. So it goes. By the way, Vonnegut has a terrific cameo in “Back to School” starring Rodney Dangerfield.

I read Halberstam’s “The Fifties” in one of my favorite college classes, a senior level history class about United States history in the 1950s. What struck me most about the book was the way Halberstam took nearly every part of the decade and wrote in-depth chapters for each topic. There was such a wide variety of topics and Halberstam made each one interesting. Like Vonnegut, I continued to read Halberstam well after I finished school. “Playing for Keeps” provides a terrific insight about Michael Jordan. This may be the ultimate compliment for Halberstam. I can’t stand Patriots coach Bill Belichick. He is so smug and arrogant and would it hurt him to dress better. When Halberstam wrote “Education of a Coach” about Belichick , not only was I excited to read it because of the author, but I found myself being fascinated and intrigued by Belichick.

Both Halberstam and Vonnegut will be missed, but their books will live on.

Want more? Here is an article about Vonnegut by Joe Holley in the Washington Post and an article about Halberstam by Frank Deford in Sports Illustrated.

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