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Remembering Richard Ben Cramer

14 Jan 2013

Remembering Richard Ben Cramer

Philly Inquirer’s Robert Moran writes, “Richard Ben Cramer, 62, a Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent for The Inquirer who became a best-selling author, died Monday … Mr. Cramer wrote ‘What It Takes: The Way to the White House’ about the 1988 presidential campaign. … Journalists aspiring to be great writers still marvel at the opening paragraph of Mr. Cramer’s 1981 Inquirer report from Belfast, Northern Ireland, about the funeral of Bobby Sands, a volunteer for the Provisional Irish Republican Army who died during a prison hunger strike: ‘In a grimy gray drizzle, under ragged black flags that lifted and waved balefully in the fitful air; to the wail of a single piper, on streets winding through charred and blasted brick spray- painted with slogans of hate; by silent tens of thousands, past fathers holding sons face-forward that they might remember the day, past mothers rocking and shielding prams that held tomorrow’s fighters, past old men who blew their rheumy noses and remembered their own days of rage … Bobby Sands was carried yesterday to a grave of raw Ulster mud.'”TRIBUTES Jill Abramson, the New York Times’ Executive Editor, wrote in a 2010 Sunday Book review piece that ‘What It Takes’ is ‘by all odds the last truly great campaign book.'” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “It is amazing, in today’s era of lightning communications, how this already seems to be a moment that’s passing, but it is worth pausing to remember perhaps, in my mind, the greatest political journalist ever, and that’s Richard Ben Cramer. I’ll re-read a chapter of What It Takes in tribute.” (What a true testament to a life of accomplishment. And what stunning prose.  Here’s a new book to add to your “must read” list. Ben Cramer, RIP.)

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