Rick Atkinson
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author & Military Historian

Rick Atkinson is the author of the critically acclaimed Liberation Trilogy, a narrative history of the U.S. military’s role in the liberation of Europe in World War II. The first volume, An Army at Dawn, received the Pulitzer Prize and was acclaimed by the Wall Street Journal as “the best World War II battle narrative since Cornelius Ryan’s classics.” The second volume, The Day of Battle, drew praise from the New York Times as “a triumph of narrative history.” The final installment, The Guns at Last Light, was hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “a masterpiece of deep reporting and powerful storytelling.”


Atkinson’s other works include The Long Grey Line, Crusade, D-Day, and In the Company of Soldiers, which was chosen by Newsweek as one of the ten best books of 2004.


Atkinson’s many awards include the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for history; the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting; and the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for public service. He is winner of the 1989 George Polk Award for national reporting and the 2007 Gerald R. Ford Award for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense.


Serving as a reporter, foreign correspondent, and senior editor in his 25 years at the Washington Post, Atkinson has covered stories in Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Somalia, and Bosnia, to name just a few.


Born in Munich, Germany, Atkinson is the son of a U.S. Army officer and grew up on military posts. He holds a Master of Arts degree in English literature from the University of Chicago. He and his wife, Dr. Jane C. Atkinson, a researcher and clinician at the National Institutes of Health, live in the District of Columbia. They have two grown children.

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The Guns at Last Light
The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945
Henry Holt and Co.

It is the twentieth century's unrivaled epic: at a staggering price, the United States and its allies liberated Europe and vanquished Hitler. In the first two volumes of his bestselling Liberation Trilogy, Rick Atkinson recounted how they fought through North Africa and Italy to the threshold of victory. Now he tells the most dramatic story of all—the titanic battle for Western Europe.

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The Long Gray Line
The American Journey of West Point's Class of 1966
Holt Paperbacks

A classic of its kind, The Long Gray Line is the twenty-five-year saga of the West Point class of 1966. With a novelist's eye for detail, Rick Atkinson illuminates this powerful story through the lives of three classmates and the women they loved—from the boisterous cadet years, to the fires of Vietnam, to the hard peace and internal struggles that followed the war. The rich cast of characters also includes Douglas MacArthur, William C. Westmoreland, and a score of other memorable figures. The class of 1966 straddled a fault line in American history, and Atkinson's masterly book speaks for a generation of American men and women about innocence, patriotism, and the price we pay for our dreams.

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The Day of Battle
The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944
Holt Paperbacks

In The Day of Battle, Atkinson follows the strengthening American and British armies as they invade Sicily in July 1943 and then, mile by bloody mile, fight their way north toward Rome. Drawing on a wide array of primary source material, written with great drama and flair, The Day of Battle is a masterly account of one of history's most compelling military campaigns.

D-DayThe Invasion of Normandy, 1944 [The Young Readers Adaptation]
Henry Holt and Co.

Adapted for young readers from the #1 New York Times–bestselling The Guns at Last Light, D-Day captures the events and the spirit of that day—June 6, 1944—the day that led to the liberation of western Europe from Nazi Germany's control.

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An Army at DawnThe War in North Africa, 1942-1943
Holt Paperbacks

The liberation of Europe and the destruction of the Third Reich is an epic story of courage and calamity, of miscalculation and enduring triumph. In this first volume of the Liberation Trilogy, Rick Atkinson shows why no modern reader can understand the ultimate victory of the Allied powers without a grasp of the great drama that unfolded in North Africa in 1942 and 1943.

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In the Company of SoldiersA Chronicle of Combat
Holt Paperbacks

For soldiers in the 101st Airborne Division, the road to Baghdad began with a midnight flight out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in late February 2003. For Rick Atkinson, who would spend nearly two months covering the division for The Washington Post, the war in Iraq provided a unique opportunity to observe today's U.S. Army in combat. Now, in this extraordinary account of his odyssey with the 101st, Atkinson presents an intimate and revealing portrait of the soldiers who fight the expeditionary wars that have become the hallmark of our age.

Square Fish

In clear and accessible prose, World War II historian, Pulitzer Prize winner, and New York Times-bestselling author Rick Atkinson skillfully navigates the attacks, counterattacks, advances, and retreats of this terrible bloodbath. Whether history buffs or newcomers to the topic, young readers will appreciate the many fascinating facts, photographs, and statistics included in this book, and thrill in this real-life account of victory against all odds.

Following the Leaders: What Our Military History Teaches About Being in Charge, From Patton to Petraeus Atkinson looks at America's great military leaders, drawing on his own extensive experience reporting alongside General David Patraeus and other great soldiers, and what their strengths and lessons can teach us.
The Day of Battle: From North Africa to Berlin, the American Military in the Liberation of Europe in World War II Atkinson is one of the most celebrated historians of the Second World War, and his books on the subject have achieved both critical and popular success.
Bringing Back the Dead: History, Memory, and Writing About War With his signature journalist's eye, Atkinson discusses the craft and art of writing in some of the most compelling, dangerous situations.

Learn more about the Liberation Trilogy and get access to exclusive content here.

Read Rick Atkinson’s extended Oral History interview with PBS Online.

Rick Atkinson tells the story of a Missouri family that lost 3 sons in WWII on WBUR’s Here & Now.

Hear Rick Atkinson discuss his trilogy and the release of the final installment on NPR’s Up To Date.

Read and listen to an NPR author interview in which Rick Atkinson discusses his inspiration and influence.

See what the New York Times has to say about In The Company of Soldiers

"The event went great, and his presentation was wonderful. There were about 500 happy people in Grand Rapids last night."
-Hauenstein Center at Grand Valley State University

“Atkinson paints on a vast canvas while stressing the details. He cites the experiences of soldiers — officers and grunts alike—caught up in a conflagration beyond their comprehension. He preserves the humanity of humans in an inhumane situation.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Soon, if not already, Atkinson will show up on the list of giants, as later historians stand on his shoulders.”
The Dallas Morning News

“The master of narrative military history.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Rick Atkinson cements his place among America’s great popular historians, in the tradition of Bruce Catton and Stephen Ambrose.”
-The Washington Post