Rolling Stone "Runaway General" Writer Michael Hastings Killed in Car Crash

By Steve Cohn

Michael Hastings, whose The Runaway General in the July 8, 2010, Rolling Stone resulted in the resignation of Afghanistan commanding general Stanley McChrystal, died Tuesday (June 18) from injuries suffered in a car accident. He was 33 years old.

The accident occurred in the early morning in Los Angeles, when the car that Hastings was driving crossed the road median and struck a tree. There were no passengers.

In The Runaway General, Hastings revealed that McChrystal and his staff were–in the words of RSTim Dickinson–"openly mocking" President Obama and others in the White House and Pentagon. After recalling McChrystal to Washington, Obama fired him, and replaced him with Army general David Petraeus. (Marine Corps general John Dunford now has the job.)

The Runaway General helped produce RS‘ newsstand best-seller in 2010 (Lady Gaga was on the cover). It won the 2010 George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting and was a runner-up to Scott Horton’s National Magazine Award (reporting)-winning The Guantanamo "Suicides"  from the March 2010 Harper’s.

The Runaway General led to Hastings’ book, The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story on America’s War in Afghanistan (Blue Rider).  In 2008, he wrote I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story (Gale Group), after his then-fiancée Andrea Parhamovich was killed by a car-bombing.

The Vermont-born Hastings,  who also wrote for BuzzFeed, is survived by his wife Elise Jordan.