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 65)
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 previously wrote a blog for Foreign Policy [6] [7] and is a member of the Center for a New American Security, [8] a defense policy think tank.


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); The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today (2012); and the bestselling First Principles: What America's Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country (2020). He also penned a 2001 novel, A Soldier's Duty. [9]

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. [10] He attended the American International School in Kabul (19681970), including his freshman year of high school. [11] He graduated from Scarsdale High School (1973). [4]

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]

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. 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.

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]

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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.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  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 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. 1 2 "Scarsdale Alumni Association - Distinguished Alumni". Scarsdale Alumni Association, Inc. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 2007 Distinguished Alumni ... TOM RICKS ’73 – JOURNALISTCS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  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.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. "Best Defense – Foreign Policy" . Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  7. Ricks, Tom. "Introducing 'The Long March With Tom Ricks'". Task & Purpose. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  8. "Thomas E. Ricks". Washington, D.C.: Center for a New American Security. Retrieved December 1, 2009.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. "Thomas E. Ricks". New York, NY: Penguin Speakers Bureau. Retrieved December 3, 2009.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. "Ricks, Thomas E. 1955- (Thomas Edwin Ricks, Tom Ricks) |".
  11. "5 Years Ago This Month at". AISK - American International School of Kabul. May 18, 2006. Retrieved December 2, 2009. Tom Ricks (1968-70), a ScorpionCS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  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.