Thomas E. Ricks

Military History Columnist, The New York Times Book Review | Visiting Fellow, History Department, Bowdoin College
Thomas Ricks is the military history columnist for The New York Times Book Review and a visiting fellow at Bowdoin College’s history department.
He is the author of eight books on military history. His current book is a new take on the Civil Rights Movement, titled Waging A Good War: A Military History of the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1968. The book will be available October 2022.

Thomas's previous book, First Principles: What America's Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans, and How That Shaped Our Country, was published in November 2020, and by the end of the month was on the New York Times bestsellers list. His best known book is Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2003-05, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2007. His second book on that war, The Gamble: General Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-08, was published in 2009. That was followed by The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today. Both Fiasco and The Generals appeared on the U.S. Army Chief of Staff’s official reading list. He also wrote Making the Corps, which won the Washington Monthly's "Political Book of the Year" award. His first novel, A Soldier's Duty, about the U.S. military intervening in Afghanistan, was published by Random House in June 2001 — some four months before the U.S. actually did intervene there. Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom was his fourth consecutive book to appear on the New York Times bestseller list. His books have been published in Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Bulgaria, Estonia, Russia, Brazil, Korea, Taiwan and China.

Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. Until the end of 1999 he had the same beat at the Wall Street Journal, where he was a reporter for 17 years. He reported on U.S. military activities in Somalia, Haiti, Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Kuwait, Turkey, Afghanistan and Iraq. He was part of a Wall Street Journal team that won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2000 for a series of articles on how the U.S. military might change to meet the new demands of the 21st century.

Ricks also was part of a Washington Post team that won the 2002 Pulitzer prize for reporting about the beginning of the U.S. counteroffensive against terrorism.

He also has written on defense matters for the Atlantic Monthly and other publications.


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The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today | The USAHEC
Thomas E. Ricks
The civil rights movement had the moral authority | MSNBC
Thomas E. Ricks
How O.P. Smith saved 15,000 Marines
Thomas E. Ricks


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Why I’ve stopped fearing America is heading for civil war
Washington Post
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What Remains to Be Said About World War II? Plenty, These Authors Suggest
The New York Times
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What the Founders meant by ‘virtue,’ and how it could save our politics now
Penn Capital Star
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The Military Discipline of the Civil-Rights Movement
The Wall Street Journal
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The Book He Wasn’t Supposed to Write
The Atlantic
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Russia, Ukraine and ‘Hybrid Conflicts’
The New York Times
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Ricks TV Appearances
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In and Out of Time in Iraq
The New Yorker
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How We Remember the Civil War
The New York Times
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How to Get From Bravery to Victory
Washington Monthly
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How military methods shaped the nonviolence of the civil rights movement
Metta Center for Nonviolence



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