Rick Atkinson

Rick Atkinson is the author of the Liberation Trilogy, a narrative history of the liberation of Europe in World War II. The first volume, An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943, received the Pulitzer Prize. The second volume, The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944, drew praise from The New York Times as “a triumph of narrative history, elegantly written…and rooted in the sight and sounds of battle.” The final volume of the Liberation Trilogy, The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945, was published in May 2013. After completing his World War II books, Atkinson began work on the Revolution Trilogy, a three-volume battle history of the American Rebellion from 1775 to 1783. The first volume, scheduled for publication by Henry Holt & Co. in May 2019, is titled, The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777.

Atkinson is also the author of The Long Gray Line, a narrative saga about the West Point class of 1966, and Crusade, a narrative history of the Persian Gulf War. He also wrote In the Company of Soldiers, an account of his time with General David H. Petraeus and the 101st Airborne Division during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He is the lead essayist in Where Valor Rests: Arlington National Cemetery, published by National Geographic in 2007.

Atkinson’s awards include the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for history; the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting; and the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for public service, awarded to The Washington Post for investigative articles directed and edited by Atkinson on shootings by District of Columbia police officers. He is winner of  the 1989 George Polk Award for national reporting, the 2003 Society for Military History Distinguished Book Award, the 2007 Gerald R. Ford Award for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense, the 2010 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing, the 2013 New York Military Affairs Symposium award for lifetime achievement, and the 2014 Samuel Eliot Morison Prize for lifetime achievement from the Society for Military History. In December 2015, he received the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award, previously given to Saul Bellow, Toni Morrison, and David McCullough. Atkinson has served as the Gen. Omar N. Bradley Chair of Strategic Leadership at the U.S. Army War College, where he remains an adjunct faculty member. He is a Presidential Counselor at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, a member of the Society of American Historians, and an inductee in the Academy of Achievement, for which he also serves as a board member. He serves on the governing commission of the National Portrait Gallery.

Atkinson worked as a reporter, foreign correspondent, and senior editor for 25 years at The Washington Post. His last assignments were covering the 101st Airborne during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and writing about roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007. Previously he served as the assistant managing editor for investigations. Atkinson’s journalism career began at the Pittsburg (Kansas) Morning Sun in 1976; in 1977, he moved to the Kansas City Times, before going to The Washington Post in 1983. Among other assignments, he served as the Post’s Berlin bureau chief, covering not only Germany and NATO, but also spending considerable time in Somalia and Bosnia.

Photo Credit: Elliott O’Donovan


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