A note about a journalist I admired, Pete Hamill, who died this week in New York after a long, rich life as a reporter and editor.
Years ago, the late Nick Yengich, Baltimore Evening Sun reporter and rewrite man, handed me a book of columns and essays by the New York journalist Pete Hamill. Published in 1971, the book took its title from the late and not-so-great Maryland governor and U.S. vice-president, Spiro Agnew. The title was “Irrational Ravings,” Agnew’s description of Hamill’s columns about the killings of student protesters of the Vietnam War by Ohio National Guardsmen on the campus of Kent State University in 1970. One of the best pieces in the book was Hamill’s description of the assassination of presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy in a Los Angeles hotel on June 5, 1968. This was the first draft of history written with an anguished friend’s deep emotion and the lean, descriptive narrative Hamill and his friend/rival Jimmy Breslin were known for. Here’s a link to the piece, published a week after RFK died, in the Village Voice.