Richard Ben Cramer, R.I.P.

One of my all-time favorite non-fiction writers, Richard Ben Cramer, has died at the age of 62. Cramer wrote one of the best political books-What It Takes-as well as one of the best baseball books-Joe Dimaggio: The Hero’s Life-ever. He also wrote a lot of very amusing and very long sentences in his day.

I’ll letJames Fallows of the Atlantic have the last word on the remarkable Mr. Cramer:

I am shocked by the news just now that Richard Ben Cramer has died at age 62, of lung cancer.

His bookWhat It Takes
is the first book I tell anyone interested in American politics,
American culture, and American journalism to read. It is timeless but
also timely, since its cast of characters — those competing for the
presidency in 1988 — includes our current vice president, Joe Biden. It
is also a remarkably empathetic and humane look at politics and
politicians. If you want to understand what keeps these people going,
how they can stand it, what they have to endure and why they endure it,
this is what you should read.

2 thoughts on “Richard Ben Cramer, R.I.P.

  1. Agreed. “What It Takes” likely will be read and studied 100 years from now, because its insights into campaigning generally, not just into the ’88 campaign in particular, would not have seemed unfamiliar to Abe Lincoln, nor will they to whichever Kennedy runs in 2060.

  2. Hang my head in shame, I’d never heard of him. But now I have at least two books to add to my list, so thanks for posting this.

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