Richard Ben Cramer, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1979 for his reporting from the Middle East for the Philadelphia Inquirer and went on to write critically acclaimed books and magazine pieces, has died.
The Inquirer reports that Cramer, who was 62, "died Monday ... of lung cancer at the Johns Hopkins [Medical Institutions] in Baltimore."
Bill Marr/Simon & Schuster
Richard Ben Cramer Bill Marr/Simon & Schuster
The New York Times reminds us that after leaving the Inquirer in 1984, Cramer "went on to write for Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone and Esquire, where in 1986, he wrote an article, 'What Do You Think of Ted Williams Now?,' about the iconic baseball player. The article, which seemed to strip Mr. Williams bare and reconstruct him anew in the eyes of his fans, became a hallmark of sports journalism."
His account of the 1988 presidential election — What It Takes: The Way to the White House — "has been hailed as one of the greatest books about electoral politics in America," the Inquirer adds.
Politico's Jonathan Martin calls What It Takes, a "masterpiece."
"The reporting, the writing, the depth, the breadth — who could ever match this standard?" Martin asks. "And, a bit more jealously, who could ever garner this access? Just as a previous generation of political reporters looked longingly upon Theodore White's behind-the-scenes stuff in The Making of the President, my own has gazed with envy upon how close up Cramer got to the candidates, the families, the consultants."