America's greatest living chronicler of men at war, Rick Atkinson draws on an intimate knowledge of the soldier's life. The son of a career army officer, he was born in Germany and grew up on military posts. He developed his mastery of research -- along with his powerful prose style and keen eye for the telling detail -- as a reporter for The Kansas City Times and The Washington Post. In 1982, he was honored, along with the rest of the Kansas City newsroom team, with a Pulitzer Prize for local reporting. The same year, he received an individual Pulitzer for national reporting. Among the articles cited by the prize jury were a series he wrote on the West Point class of 1966. Atkinson later elaborated this story in his bestselling book, The Long Gray Line.
Since 1983, he has worked for The Washington Post, covering everything from election campaigns and the savings and loan scandal to the wars in Bosnia and Somalia. His reporting on the 1991 conflict with Iraq resulted in the book Crusade: The Untold Story of the Persian Gulf War. As editor in charge of investigations, he brought the paper a Pulitzer Prize for public service in 1999 with a series of stories on police shootings in the District of Columbia.
Atkinson accompanied General David Petraeus and the 101st Airborne as an embedded reporter in the first months of the Iraq war. He distilled these experiences in the book In the Company of Soldiers, hailed as the most vivid depiction yet written of the day-to-day experience of combat soldiers in Iraq. Last year, he returned to Iraq and Afghanistan to investigate the impact of roadside bombs in the two conflicts.
Between assignments in Afghanistan and Iraq, Atkinson is writing an exhaustively researched history of the U.S. armed forces in the European theater of World War II. The first book, An Army at Dawn, was widely praised as the definitive account of the North African campaign and received the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for History. The second acclaimed volume, The Day of Battle, focusing on the Italian campaign, was published in 2007. He is now at work on the third volume of his trilogy, recounting the liberation of Western Europe.