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A Masterly Account of One of History's Most Compelling Campaigns

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Atkinson was born in Munich to Margaret (née Howe) and Larry Atkinson, who was a U.S. Army officer. He grew up on military posts around the world, including stints in Salzburg, Georgia, Idaho, Pennsylvania, California, Hawaii, Kansas, and Virginia. Turning down an appointment to West Point,[2] he instead attended East Carolina University on a full scholarship, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in English in 1974. He received a master of arts degree in English language and literature from the University of Chicago in 1975.While visiting his parents for Christmas at Fort Riley, Kansas, in 1975, Atkinson found a job as a newspaper reporter for The Morning Sun in Pittsburg, Kansas, covering crime, local government, and other topics in southeast Kansas, an area known as “the Little Balkans” for its ethnic diversity and fractious politics. In April 1977, he joined the staff of The Kansas City Times, working nights in suburban Johnson County, Kansas, before moving to the city desk and eventually serving as a national reporter; in 1981, he joined the newspaper's bureau in Washington, D.C. He won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 1982[1] for a "body of work" that included a series about the West Point class of 1966, which lost more men in Vietnam than any other Military Academy class. He also contributed to the newspaper's coverage of the Hyatt Regency walkway collapse in Kansas City, Missouri, for which the paper's staff in 1982 was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for local spot news reporting.In November 1983, Atkinson was hired as a reporter on the national staff of the Washington Post. He subsequently wrote about defense issues, the 1984 presidential election–he covered Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman vice-presidential candidate for a major party—and various national topics. In 1985, he became deputy national editor, overseeing coverage of defense, diplomacy, and intelligence. In 1988, he returned to reporting on the Post's investigative staff, writing about topics as varied as public housing in the District of Columbia and the secret history of Project Senior C.J., which became the B-2 stealth bomber. In 1991, he was the newspaper's lead writer during the Persian Gulf War. Two years later he joined the foreign staff as bureau chief in Berlin, covering not only Germany and NATO, but also spending considerable time in Somalia and Bosnia. He returned from Europe in 1996 to become assistant managing editor for investigations; in that role, he headed a seven-member team that for more than a year scrutinized shootings by the District of Columbia police department, resulting in “Deadly Force,” a series for which the Post was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.Atkinson left the newspaper world in 1999 to write about World War II, a consuming interest that began with his birth in Germany and was rekindled during his three-year tour in Berlin. Subsequently he twice rejoined the Post for reporting forays, first in 2003, when for two months he accompanied General David Petraeus and the 101st Airborne Division during the invasion of Iraq, and again in 2007, when he made trips to Iraq and Afghanistan while writing “Left of Boom,” an investigative series about the proliferation of roadside bombs in modern warfare, which won the Gerald R. Ford Award for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense. He held the Omar N. Bradley Chair of Strategic Leadership at the United States Army War College and Dickinson College in 2004–2005, and remains an adjunct faculty member at the war college.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_At...

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