A modern valediction Forbidding mourning.

Author:Levitov, Francine

Eleven famous writers, among them some of the most influential literary voices in contemporary America, died recently. David Halberstam, Mark Harris, Robert Jordan, Madeline L'Engle, Ira Levin, Norman Mailer, Diane Middlebrook, Grace Paley, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., William Styron and Kurt Vonnegut tweaked our intellects, stimulated our imaginations, awakened out muses, enriched out leisure and sometimes even changed our lives. They will be missed.

In this issue, which includes KLIATT Editor's Choice Audiobooks for 2007, let us celebrate the achievements of these outstanding writers. More than a few of their audiobooks may be round new at www.audioeditions com. Amazon.com has new and/or used copies of most of the rest, sometimes in stock, but also through their independent dealers. A small handful of titles are rare. Abebooks.com, Alibris.com and even eBay can be helpful in those instances. We urge publishers to consider reproducing these unavailable titles.

If not otherwise specified, all audiobooks in these bibliographies are unabridged. Some books have only been published in abridged forms. For that reason, they are included too and are noted accordingly. This article takes no formal position on abridgments except to say that, as an introduction to a writer's work and style, they can be valid instructional tools.

DAVID HALBERSTAM (April 10, 1934-April 23, 2007) won a Pulitzer Prize in 1968 for his Vietnam War coverage and went on to become one of our most highly regarded nonfiction writers. The more than 20 books he authored during his lifetime reflect his eclectic interests. Their topics range from historical analyses of US military and social policies and serious cultural issues to sports memoirs. The Best and The Brightest, his 1972 study of the men whose decisions led the US into Vietnam, was once so popular that its title has remained in our language, now a cliche used by young adults and others who have yet to read a line of Halberstam's. Much of his work is available in audio format. While some books are scholarly, others are far more approachable. His lighter work includes a biography of basketball great Michael Jordan and a portrait of a friendship among four legendary Boston Red Sox ballplayers.

The Best and the Brightest. 1992. Read by David Clennon. 2 tapes. Random House. Abridged. 978-0679414780. A classic account of how the United States became involved in Vietnam.

The Children. 1998. Read by James Joe Morton. 4 tapes. Random House. Abridged. 978-0375401695. Describes the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s through the lives of some young Nashville revolutionaries.

The Coldest Winter. 2007. Read by Edward Herrman. 12 cds. 14 hrs. Hyperion. 978-14013-8485-2. Abridged. $53.75. Examines the Korean War, especially Douglas McArthur's costly strategies.

The Education of a Coach. 2006. Read by Tom Stechschulte. 9 cds. 9.5 hrs. Recorded Books. 978-1-4193-7583-5. $92.75. Profiles the 31-year career of Bill Belichick, the NFL's only Head Coach to win three Super Bowls in four years.

The Fifties. 1998. Read by Edwin Newman. 4 tapes. Random House. 978-0679424338. Examines the social turmoil under the surface of the deceptively placid 1950s.

Firehouse. 2002. Read by Mel Foster. 5 cds. Brilliance Audio. 978-1590863466. $69.25. Chronicles 13 NYC firemen from the Engine 40, Ladder 35 firehouse, 12 of whom perished on September 11, 2001.

October 1964. 1994. Read by Edwin Newman. 2 tapes. Random House. 9780679433385. Takes a close look at the Yankee-Cardinal World Series of 1964 in its social context.

Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made. 1999. Read by Richard M. Davidson. 15 tapes. 20.25 hrs. Recorded Books. 978-0-7887-32478. $113.75. Looks at Michael Jordan as a contemporary cultural phenomenon.

The Reckoning. 2000. Read by Michael Anthony. Total of 24 tapes. Blackstone Audio. Part I...

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