David Halberstam: Friends to go on book tour in his stead

Historians in the News

The command post is a set of Manhattan publishing offices, and the foot soldiers include Joan Didion, Seymour Hersh, Bob Woodward, Anna Quindlen, Alex Kotlowitz, Paul Hendrickson, Samantha Power and Bill Walton. They are going on David Halberstam’s book tour for him.

Five months after Mr. Halberstam’s death in a car accident on April 23, some of this celebrated journalist’s closest friends and colleagues will be banding together to cover different legs of a nationwide publicity tour for his final book. Hyperion is releasing that 705-page history, “The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War,” on Sept. 25, with a first printing of 300,000 copies, the publisher announced.

The unusual promotional push will stretch from New York to La Jolla, Calif., Washington to Chicago, Milwaukee to Nashville.

At each engagement Mr. Halberstam’s “surrogates,” as Mr. Woodward calls them, will pay tribute to him, a best-selling author of books like “The Best and the Brightest” and “Summer of ’49,” by offering personal reminiscences and readings. It took Mr. Halberstam 10 years to do the reporting and to write the book, which he called, in a term familiar to librarians and football fans, a “bookend” to his Pulitzer Prize-winning work on Vietnam.

“It’s a magnificent book,” Mr. Woodward said of the new volume, partly because of the analogies drawn to the war in Iraq, he said, “the lessons of bad intelligence, no plan, the disconnect between the war as seen by the fighting man and headquarters.”
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