On the day after Christmas, I was walking through Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport when I caught sight of a slightly rumpled man waiting for a flight. He seemed familiar, the way figures in dreams do.
It was, I thought, Stephen K. Bannon, who had been named chief strategist to Donald J. Trump after serving as his campaign’s chief executive. When the man put on a Barbour jacket, which Mr. Bannon has made something of a trademark, I was convinced I was not engaged in waking fantasy.
Mr. Bannon was carrying a book, and when an incoming president’s guru is reading a book, you should find out what it is. I walked by and peeked. It was “The Best and the Brightest,” David Halberstam’s 1972 history of the strategic errors and human foibles that birthed the disastrous American involvement in the Vietnam War. It begins with John F. Kennedy’s transition to the White House, in December 1960.
Now I really knew it was him.
I approached, identified myself as a Times sportswriter, and sought to confirm that I was speaking with Steve Bannon.
The late David Halberstam, author of “The Best and the Brightest.”