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Tony Horwitz, Author and Pulitzer Prize Winner, Dies At 60


Now a moment to remember the writer Tony Horwitz. He died yesterday at the age of 60. Horwitz was best known for his historical nonfiction, including the bestselling "Confederates In The Attic." He began his writing career as a journalist.

NPR's Lynn Neary has more.

LYNN NEARY, BYLINE: Tony Horwitz had an easy manner and a wide smile. He was as interested in listening to someone else's story as he was in telling his own. I learned that when I visited with him and his wife, writer Geraldine Brooks, at their home on Martha's Vineyard a few years back.

I was there to interview Brooks, but I spoke with both of them about their time overseas, where they met as reporters covering the Mideast. Horwitz remembered the first time they flew into a combat zone together.


TONY HORWITZ: This helicopter was shaking and bucking and, you know, I'm looking out the open hatch, just puking with terror. And I look over, and Geraldine has nodded off on the way to our first battle.

NEARY: Brooks and Horwitz went on to win an Overseas Press Club award for their coverage of the Persian Gulf War.

Horwitz spent a decade overseas as a foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. Back in the U.S., he won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 1995 for his stories about low-income workers. After leaving the Journal, Horwitz wrote for The New Yorker and eventually moved to Martha's Vineyard, where he and Brooks worked full time on writing books.

He told WHYY's Fresh Air that he was inspired to write his book about the legacy of the Civil War, "Confederates In The Attic," when he returned to this country after living overseas and noticed so many lingering controversies about that war.


HORWITZ: And I was just struck. I said, my God, this war is not only alive to Civil War buffs, but it's really a hot subject of debate. And I thought, you know, this conflict is still very alive in somewhat the same way of some of the conflicts I covered overseas.

NEARY: "Confederates In The Attic" was one of many popular historical works of nonfiction by Tony Horwitz. Others include "Blue Latitudes" and "Midnight Rising."

He was on a book tour promoting his latest, "Spying On The South," when he collapsed of apparent cardiac arrest. He was in his hometown of Washington, D.C., for an event at the Politics and Prose Bookstore. The store's notice, canceling the event, was the way many people learned one of their favorite writers had died.

Lynn Neary, NPR News, Washington.

(SOUNDBITE OF NICK BOX'S "SONO") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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