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Thomas E. Ricks Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Making the Corps (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Soldier's Duty (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fiasco (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Gamble (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Unraveling (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Generals (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Churchill and Orwell (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
First Principles (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Waging a Good War (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Counterinsurgency Leadership in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Beyond(2011)Description / Buy at Amazon

Thomas Ricks is a journalist and author who writes on foreign policy and defense issues. He was a New America senior fellow at the ASU Future of War.
He has also been a “Foreign Policy” magazine contributing editor and an author at “The Best Defense” blog. This is a blog that the Military Reporters & Editors and the American Society of Magazine Editors declared best military blog and best blog of the year respectively.

During his long career as a journalist, Ricks worked for the “Washington Post,” reporting on the United States military between 2000 and 2008. Before then, he worked for the “Wall Street Journal” in the same capacity for more than seventeen years.

During his time with the Journal, he was a reporter on American military activities in Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Haiti, Turkey, Korea, Kuwait, Bosnia, Macedonia and Kosovo.

He was also part of the team at “Wall Street Journal” that won the national reporting Pulitzer Prize on how the American military needed to change to deal with challenges in the twenty-first century.

Ricks the author and journalist is a native of Beverly, Massachusetts but he grew up in Afghanistan and New York. He is the son of psychology professor David Frank Ricks who used to work in Kabul.

Growing up, he went to the Kabul based American International School in his first year in high school before graduating in 1973 from Scarsdale High School. He would then head to Yale from where he earned a bachelor’s degree.

After graduation, he became a tutor at Hong Kong’s Lingnan College and then moved to the Wilson Quarterly as an assistant editor. It was at the Wall Street Journal that he came into his own as he was a reporter, deputy bureau chief in Miami, Journal and feature reporter in Washington, military correspondent and Pentagon correspondent.

While working for the Journal, he was in the team working on “The Price of Power” series that won the Pulitzer Prize for the changes proposed for the American Military after the Cold War.

He would also win the National Reporting Pulitzer Prize for his work about the start of the American counteroffensive against terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thomas E Ricks made his writing debut with the non fiction work “Making the Corps,” in which he wrote about the American military. In the work, he details the training of one of the platoons of the Marine Corps right from boot camp and throughout a full year of training in the marines.

Ricks got the idea for his novel from an idea he had while he was working as a journalist reporting from a war torn Somalia. During this time, he had been so impressed by the teamwork and loyalty in the Marines that he thought he should explore this in a novel.

Speaking to “Publishers Weekly,” Ricks asserted that the trigger was when he was led through a dangerous combat area by a twenty two year old Marine. When he went back to the United States, he thought how most people would never let a twenty two year old do something so critical.
He thought it would be great to look into the Marines and their training.

Thomas E. Ricks’ novel “Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq” documents the disaster which was the American invasion of Iraq. While the author writes about some aspects of the war that have been written about elsewhere, he offers sufficiently new material for anyone interested in such matters.
Rick writes about the many errors from the strategic to the political, the diplomatic to the tactical and provides a succinct analysis on the why and what that made things go very wrong. Still, he also demonstrates the lessons learned from the many experiences of the American military.
Even though one of the major failures of the war was an unwillingness to take lessons from previous conflicts, Ricks also documents the success stories. The readers get to learn about the many people involved in the War in Iraq including Generals McMaster, Franks, Sanchez, and Petraeus.

While these may be familiar to anyone interested in defense, you still get to explore a wide range of subject matter that is written for the layperson.

“Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom” by Thomas E. Ricks is a novel about Winston Churchill and George Orwell, who are giants in their respective fields.

Both of them nearly lost their lives during the mid 1930s as Churchill was hit by a vehicle in New York City while Orwell got hot in a trench line at the height of the Spanish Civil War. If they had lost their lives then, they would never have become such significant figures in history.

During this time, Orwell was mildly successful as a novelist while Churchill was a junior politician with hardly any clout. Hardly anyone could have predicted that they would become some of the most critical people in Britain and the world.

They campaigned tirelessly in deed and word against the totalitarian threat that was then evident in both the right and left wing parties. In a critical moment, they respond to clarify facts and see through the obfuscations and lies and act on their beliefs.

Even if their efforts may not have been adequately appreciated, they were responsible for setting the compass of the West toward its true north in freedom.

Thomas E. Ricks’ novel “The Generals” documents American military command since the Second World War. History has always looked kindly upon Bradley, Marshall, Patton and Eisenhower who shone during World War II. However, the Generals that followed them have never had it so easy.

In this work, the author explains why the generals have had it so hard. Part of the reason is that there was a widening gulf between accountability and performance during this time.

During World War II, most generals were stripped of command as they were informed they were not competent. In the words of a colonel, a private now stands to suffer far more severe consequences for losing his rifle than a general that loses a war.

In this work, we meet both suspect and great generals who failed their soldiers and themselves and those that rise to the occasion. Eisenhower and Marshall cast long shadows on the story as does OP Smith the Marine General that may not be so familiar to many readers.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Thomas E. Ricks

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