Thomas E. Ricks (journalist)

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Thomas E. Ricks
Thomas Ricks.jpg
Ricks in 2007, posing with his book Fiasco
Thomas Edwin Ricks

(1955-09-25) September 25, 1955 (age 64)
Beverly, Massachusetts, United States
Alma mater Yale University, 1977
OccupationWriter, journalist, editor, and educator
Employer Center for a New American Security
Known forcritique of U.S. national security policy, especially Operation Iraqi Freedom
Awards2000 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting (on Wall Street Journal team)
2002 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting (on Washington Post team)
Society of Professional Journalists Award for best feature reporting
2007 Distinguished alumnus of Scarsdale High School

Thomas Edwin "Tom" Ricks (born September 25, 1955) [5] is an American journalist and author who specializes in the military and national security issues. He is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting as part of teams from the Wall Street Journal (2000) and Washington Post (2002). He has reported on military activities in Somalia, Haiti, Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Kuwait, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He currently writes a blog for Foreign Policy [6] and is a member of the Center for a New American Security, [7] a defense policy think tank.

Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting

This Pulitzer Prize has been awarded since 1942 for a distinguished example of reporting on national affairs in the United States. In its first six years (1942–1947), it was called the Pulitzer Prize for Telegraphic Reporting – National.

Somalia Federal republic in Africa

Somalia, officially the Federal Republic of Somalia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, Djibouti to the northwest, the Gulf of Aden to the north, the Guardafui Channel and Somali Sea to the east, and Kenya to the southwest. Somalia has the longest coastline on Africa's mainland, and its terrain consists mainly of plateaus, plains and highlands. Climatically, hot conditions prevail year-round, with periodic monsoon winds and irregular rainfall.

Haiti Unitary republic in the Caribbean

Haiti, officially the Republic of Haiti and formerly called Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea, to the east of Cuba and Jamaica and south of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. It occupies the western three-eighths of the island which it shares with the Dominican Republic. To its south-west lies the small island of Navassa Island, which is administered by the United States but claimed by Haiti as part of its territory. Haiti is 27,750 square kilometers (10,714 sq mi) in size and has an estimated population of 10.8 million, making it the most populous country in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the second-most populous country in the Caribbean after Cuba.


Ricks lectures widely to the military and is a member of Harvard University's Senior Advisory Council on the Project on U.S. Civil-Military Relations. Ricks is the author of the non-fiction books Making the Corps (1997); the bestselling Fiasco: The American Military Adventure In Iraq (2006) and its follow-up, The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008 (2009); and The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today (2012). He also penned a novel, A Soldier's Duty, in 2001. [8]

Harvard University Private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with about 6,700 undergraduate students and about 13,100 postgraduate students. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning. Its history, influence, wealth, and academic reputation have made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world. It has often been cited as the world's top university by most publishers.

<i>Making the Corps</i> book by Thomas E. Ricks

Making the Corps is a 1997 non-fiction book written by Thomas E. Ricks.

<i>Fiasco</i> (book) book by Thomas E. Ricks

Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq (2006) is a book by Washington Post Pentagon correspondent Thomas E. Ricks. Fiasco deals with the history of the Iraq War from the planning phase to combat operations to 2006 and argues that the war was badly planned and executed. Ricks based the book in part on interviews with military personnel involved in the planning and execution of the war. In 2009, Ricks published a sequel The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008. Fiasco was a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction.

Life and career

Ricks was born in Beverly, Massachusetts, and grew up in New York and Afghanistan, one of six children. He is the son of Anne and David Frank Ricks, a professor of psychology. [9] He attended the American International School in Kabul (19681970), including his freshman year of high school. [10] He graduated from Scarsdale High School (1973). [4]

Afghanistan A landlocked south-central Asian country

Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in South-Central Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east; Iran in the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in the north; and in the far northeast, China. Much of its 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi) is covered by the Hindu Kush mountain range at the western end of the Himalayas, separating the Amu Darya and Indus valleys. Kabul is the capital and largest city.

Psychology is the science of behavior and mind. Psychology includes the study of conscious and unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an academic discipline of immense scope. Psychologists seek an understanding of the emergent properties of brains, and all the variety of phenomena linked to those emergent properties, joining this way the broader neuroscientific group of researchers. As a social science it aims to understand individuals and groups by establishing general principles and researching specific cases.

Scarsdale High School Public high school in USA

Scarsdale High School (SHS) is a public high school in Scarsdale, New York, a coterminous town and village in Westchester County, New York. It is a part of the Scarsdale Union Free School District.

After earning a B.A. from Yale University (1977), he was an instructor at Lingnan College, Hong Kong (19771979), and assistant editor at the Wilson Quarterly (19791981). At the Wall Street Journal he was a reporter (19821985) and deputy Miami bureau chief (1986). In Washington, D.C., he was a Journal reporter (19871989), feature editor (19891992), and Pentagon correspondent, (19921999). He was a military correspondent at the Washington Post (20002008). [1] [2] [5] [11]

Yale University Private research university in New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution.

The Pentagon The United States Department of Defenses office building in Virginia

The Pentagon is the headquarters building of the United States Department of Defense. As a symbol of the U.S. military, the phrase The Pentagon is also often used as a metonym for the Department of Defense and its leadership.

Correspondent journalist contributing reports from a remote location

A correspondent or on-the-scene reporter is usually a journalist or commentator for a magazine, or an agent who contributes reports to a newspaper, or radio or television news, or another type of company, from a remote, often distant, location. A foreign correspondent is stationed in a foreign country. The term "correspondent" refers to the original practice of filing news reports via postal letter. The largest networks of correspondents belong to ARD (Germany) and BBC (UK).

While at the Wall Street Journal, he was one of the reporters writing the "Price of Power" series discussing United States defense spending and potential changes confronting the US military following the Cold War. The series won the Journal the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. [11] He won a second Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting as part of The Washington Post team for reporting about the beginnings of the U.S. counteroffensive against terrorism.

Cold War Geopolitical tension after World War II between the Eastern and Western Bloc

The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union with its satellite states, and the United States with its allies after World War II. The historiography of the conflict began between 1946 and 1947. The Cold War began to de-escalate after the Revolutions of 1989. The collapse of the USSR in 1991 was the end of the Cold War. The term "cold" is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, but they each supported major regional conflicts known as proxy wars. The conflict split the temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany and its allies, leaving the USSR and the US as two superpowers with profound economic and political differences.

<i>The Washington Post</i> Daily broadsheet newspaper published in Washington, D.C.

The Washington Post is a major American daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C., with a particular emphasis on national politics and the federal government. It has the largest circulation in the Washington metropolitan area. Its slogan "Democracy Dies in Darkness" began appearing on its masthead in 2017. Daily broadsheet editions are printed for the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.

Ricks was a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for his book Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq . [12]

Ricks was immensely critical of Fox News' coverage of the 2012 Benghazi attack. While being interviewed by Jon Scott, Ricks accused Fox News of being "extremely political" in its coverage of the attack and stated, "Fox was operating as a wing of the Republican Party." The interview was subsequently cut short after only 90 seconds. [13] He has been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump, saying he should be put in prison [14] and rhetorically asking if President Trump opposes the Constitution. [15]



Essays, reporting and other publications

Critical studies and reviews of Ricks' work


Related Research Articles

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The Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction is one of the seven American Pulitzer Prizes that are annually awarded for Letters, Drama, and Music. It has been presented since 1962 for a distinguished book of non-fiction by an American author, published during the preceding calendar year, that is not eligible for consideration in another category.

Michael Paul Fleischer is a United States businessman from the state of New Jersey.

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David Petraeus U.S. Army general and public official

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<i>The Gamble</i> (book) book by Thomas E. Ricks

The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006–2008 is a 2009 book by journalist Thomas E. Ricks about the Iraq War. It covers the 2006–2008 period where his last book Fiasco left off. A primary focus is the Iraq War troop surge of 2007, along with the ascension to command of Gen. David Petraeus and the change in approach of Gen. Ray Odierno towards the use of counter-insurgency strategies. Ricks believes that the troop surge was successful in reducing violence in Iraq and "reviv[ing] American prospects in the war," but that it was a failure based on its initial goal of bringing about a political reconciliation in Iraq.

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  1. 1 2 Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2009. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale, 2009. Document Number: H1000132733. Fee. Accessed 2009-12-01 via Fairfax County Public Library.
  2. 1 2 Medak-Seguin, Becquer (April 2, 2009). "Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Ricks on campus". Pioneer. Walla Walla, Washington: Whitman College . Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  3. "Anne Ricks Is Engaged". New York Times . February 13, 1983. Retrieved December 1, 2009. Miss Ricks, a senior at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, attended the American International School in Kabul, Afghanistan, and graduated from the University of Michigan. ... The bride-to-be is a granddaughter of the late Richard Manning Russell, Mayor of Cambridge, Mass., and a great-granddaughter of William Eustis Russell, Mayor of Cambridge and Governor of Massachusetts
  4. 1 2 "Scarsdale Alumni Association - Distinguished Alumni". Scarsdale Alumni Association, Inc. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 2007 Distinguished Alumni ... TOM RICKS ’73 – JOURNALIST
  5. 1 2 "Tom Ricks". Washington Post. Archived from the original on December 21, 2007. Retrieved March 18, 2008. Born in Massachusetts in 1955, he grew up in New York and Afghanistan and graduated from Yale in 1977.
  6. Ricks' current blog at
  7. "Thomas E. Ricks". Washington, D.C.: Center for a New American Security. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  8. "Thomas E. Ricks". New York, NY: Penguin Speakers Bureau. Retrieved December 3, 2009.
  10. "5 Years Ago This Month at". AISK - American International School of Kabul. May 18, 2006. Retrieved December 2, 2009. Tom Ricks (1968-70), a Scorpion
  11. 1 2 Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2009. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2009. Document Number: H1000082835. Fee. Accessed 2009-12-01 via Fairfax County Public Library.
  12. "The Pulitzer Prizes - Finalists".
  13. Weinger, Mackenzie (November 26, 2012). "Tom Ricks to Fox News: The network operates 'as a wing of the Republican Party'". Politico.
  14. Online version is titled "The widening gap between military and society".