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RIP Richard Ben Cramer

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Inky_Wretch, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Dead at 62 from cancer.

  2. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    One of my heroes, and one of the best journalists of my lifetime. Everyone should read " What It Takes" at some point. And, if not, At least read or re-read his piece on Ted Williams. A journalistic titan.
  3. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    Just looked up What It Takes on Amazon. 1,072 pages.


    Also just read the piece on Ted Williams. Wow. That was masterful.

  4. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    It's an unbelievable work of journalism. It's a miracle it exists, quite frankly, that someone had both the access to so many powerful men and the writing chops to take advantage of it to the degree he did.

    I think I read that he got a $500,000 advance to write it. That was in the '80s.

    Jesse Jackson, by the way, looks like a complete dolt for denying Cramer access when everyone else in the race threw open the doors.

    I almost always change the channel when a politician is on TV being interviewed. They're mostly so insincere and spouting talking points. So slick. Amazing that Cramer got not just one, but a slew of them to open up and bare their souls.

    What a fucking masterpiece.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2015
  5. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    George W. was one of Cramer's big/best sources for "What It Takes" and supposedly agreed to let him be embedded in the Whithouse when he got elected through the end of 2001. Project was killed at the last minute when others talked Bush out of it.

    Can you imagine?
  6. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    His daily newspaper work for the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1982 when he was in Beirut covering its siege by Israel was astonishingly good.
  7. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    It's awesome to go back and read the opening stuff from the Astrodome with a young W., the presidency nowhere in his sights, throwing a fit about his seat location. (If I recall.)
  8. Glenn Stout

    Glenn Stout Member

    Richard was one of the nicest, most approachable and engaged guest editors I've ever worked with on The Best American Sports Writing. Several years later, I asked him to blurb my oral history of the 9/11 clean-up, Nine Months at Ground Zero. Not only did he do so, but he actually read the book and called. I wasn't home at the time, but he talked my wife's ear off about how much he liked the book. RIP, a giant.
  9. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Comparisons to David Maraniss are inevitable. They mined the same subject areas but had very different styles. Cramer was very much a wordsmith, which I think sets him apart a little bit. Maraniss can write, as well, just not like Cramer. But he's certainly more prolific.
  10. Care Bear

    Care Bear Guest

    "What It Takes" was my only up-all-night book in college. All five years of it. Almost made me switch over to PoliComm, all on its own. Anybody here with any interest at all in politics should read it. Or anybody who loves good stories should read it. Fuck, every single person on this board should read it.

    RIP, Mr. Cramer.
  11. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    One of our best, gone much too soon.
  12. ScottJBryan

    ScottJBryan Member

    What It Takes was an excellent read, but I also very much enjoyed his book on Joe DiMaggio. One of the best sports biographies I've ever read.
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