Saturday March 20th, 2021
What America's Founders Learned from the Greeks
and How That Shaped Our Country
A Conversation with the Scholar and Best-Seller Author,
Thomas E. Ricks
Co-sponsored by the Department of Philosophy of the University of Pittsburgh,
Greek American Progressive Association (GAPA; Supreme Lodge)
The Icarian Brotherhood
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Thomas Ricks is a writer and the military history columnist for The New York Times Book Review.
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. The series is posted at:
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. Those articles are posted at:
He is the author of seven books. His best known 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 were selected for 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.
His books have been published in Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Bulgaria, Estonia, Russia, Brazil, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and China.
His sixth book was Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom. His most recent work, 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 that month was on the New York Times bestsellers list. It was the fifth consecutive book of his to appear on that list.
He also has written on defense matters for the Atlantic Monthly and other publications. Here are two of his articles:
“In and out of time in Iraq” (a memoir of covering war)
“The Secret Life of a Book Manuscript” (about writing and editing a book)
Born in Massachusetts in 1955, he grew up in New York and Afghanistan and graduated from Yale in 1977. He is married to Mary Catherine Ricks, author of Escape on the Pearl, a history of one of the biggest slave escapes in American history. They have two grown children. For recreation he enjoys kayaking, sailing, hiking, biking, and reading military history.
Ricks' speech on George Marshall:
Ricks' speech on the Korean War
His 27 appearances on C-Span are listed at:
A list of his other television appearances is available at