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 let James 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 book What 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.