Though he wrote on topics ranging from the New York Yankees to the Middle East, Cramer was best known for his classic insider look at American presidential politics, What It Takes: The Way to the White House. In a 2007 New York Times Book Review essay, Matt Bai called What It Takes “not just the most ambitious and riveting in a line of great American campaign books, but perhaps the last of them, too.”
Cramer died in Baltimore due to complications from lung cancer, according to the New York Times. He lived on Maryland's Eastern Shore.
Cramer won the Pulitzer Prize for Middle East reporting in 1979. In addition to writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun, his journalism has appeared in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Esquire, for which he wrote a profile of Ted Wiliams that became a modern classic of narrative journalism, taught in college classrooms and passed around newsrooms. He is also the author of How Israel Lost: The Four Questions and Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life.
In a statement, Vice President Joseph Biden--who was among the candidates featured in What It Takes--praised Cramer's work, calling his observations and criticisms "so sharp and insightful that you learn something new and meaningful about yourself. That was my experience with Richard.”
>See all of Richard Ben Cramer's books
>Read his full obituary in the New York Times