Cover image for In the company of soldiers : a chronicle of combat
In the company of soldiers : a chronicle of combat
Atkinson, Rick.
Personal Author:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
Waterville, ME : Thorndike Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
533 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS79.764.U6 A85 2004B Adult Large Print - Floating collection Floating Collection - Large Print
DS79.764.U6 A85 2004B Adult Large Print Large Print

On Order



In this extraordinary account of his odyssey with the 101st Airborne Division, Atkinson presents an intimate and revealing portrait of the soldiers who fight the expeditionary wars that have become the hallmark of our age.

Author Notes

Rick Atkinson holds a master of arts degree in English literature from the University of Chicago and is a Pulitzer-Prize winning author and military historian

Atkinson is the author of the highly-acclaimed Liberation Trilogy, The Long Gray Line, In the Company of Soldiers and Crusade. Atkinson received the Pulitzer Prize for the first volume of the Liberation Trilogy, An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943. The second volume, The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944, drew praise as well.

Atkinson also received the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting; and the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for public service, awarded to the Washington Post for a series of investigative articles directed and edited by Atkinson on shootings by the District of Columbia police department. He is winner of the 1989 George Polk Award for national reporting, the 2003 Society for Military History Distinguished Book Award, the 2007 Gerald R. Ford Award for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense, and the 2010 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. Atkinson has served as the Gen. Omar N. Bradley Chair of Strategic Leadership at the U.S. Army War College. In 2014 his title The Guns at Last Light made The New York Times Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

When a war on Saddam Hussein's Iraq loomed last year, Atkinson took leave from his work-in-progress, a three-volume history of the U.S. Army's World War II campaigns in Europe (the first volume, An Army at Dawn, 2002, received a Pulitzer Prize). Reverting to his previous career as a Washington Post reporter, Atkinson filed stories about the army's historic 101st Airborne Division in Iraq. In this account of his experience from February to April 2003, Atkinson alludes to personal skepticism about the war but plays it professionally straight, telling what he and the soldiers saw--one soldier in particular. He is General David Petraeus, commander of the 101st. Atkinson was embedded with Petraeus' headquarters staff, and the reporter's viewpoint of the campaign is, therefore, that of Petraeus and his responsibilities for moving 17,000 men and women and their weapons fromentucky touwait and then into combat. Accompanying Petraeus to his briefings with his brigade colonels, and in his travels by helicopter and vehicle (coming under enemy fire on occasion), Atkinson chronicles the 101st's battles in Najaf, Hilla, andarbala in vividly gritty detail that is factual and palpably admiring of Petraeus' leadership. As current history, Atkinson's excellent reportage will be intently read, both as a tableau of contemporary martial argot and ethos, and for officers' thoughts about their assignment in Iraq. Expect heavy demand arising from the subject, the author, and multimedia publicity. --Gilbert Taylor Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

A Pulitzer-winning Washington Post correspondent and military historian gives the best account yet to come out of the Iraq War, chronicling the unit in which the author was embedded, the 101st Airborne, or Screaming Eagles, and particularly its headquarters. This inevitably puts much emphasis on the division commander, the intense, competitive and thoroughly professional Maj. Gen. David Petraeus. But no one is left out, from General Wallace, the gifted corps commander, to a Muslim convert and the victims of his ghastly but little publicized fragging incident at the opening of the war. The narrative covers this large cast from the division's being called up for the war at Fort Campbell, Ky., through to the author's departure from the unit after the fall of Baghdad. Through the eyes of the men he associated with, we see excess loads of personal gear being lugged into Iraq and insufficient supplies of essentials like ammunition and water (the reason for the infamous "pause"). We see sandstorms and the limitations of the Apache attack helicopter, and understand the legal framework for avoiding civilian casualties and "collateral damage," and much else that went right or wrong-in a manner that is antitriumphalist, but not antimilitary. The son of an army officer and thoroughly up to date on the modern American army, the author pays an eloquent and incisive tribute to how the men and women of the 101st won their part of the war in Iraq, in a manner that bears comparison to his Pulitzer-winning WWII volume, An Army at Dawn. Superb writing and balance make this the account to beat. $150,000 ad/promo; author tour. (Mar. 15) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

A Pulitzer Prize winner invades Iraq along with the 101st Airborne Division. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-Atkinson takes the long view of history and blends it with a journalist's acuity for telling detail to create a narrative that is rich in immediacy, yet seasoned with thoughtful analysis. In the spring of 2003, the author accompanied combat units to Iraq. He spent two months embedded with the 101st Airborne Division's headquarters staff, sharing their daily experiences from initial deployment out of Fort Campbell, KY, to overseas staging areas in Kuwait, and ultimately bearing witness to the unit's march on Baghdad. His view of the war was from a vantage point that permitted scrutiny of strategy, planning, and decision making at the senior command level. Atkinson's portraits of military leadership are compelling, balanced, and nuanced; they reflect professionalism, a keen sense of responsibility for the 17,000 lives in the command, and constant reevaluation of optimal deployment of the unit's assets. The author draws upon his notes from the frequent battle update briefings he attended with the HQ staff, material from personal interviews conducted in the field, and supplementary data from "after action" reports to which he had access following his return to the States. This is a candid, well-paced work by a writer with an appreciation for the region's culture and geography, foreshadowing the challenges of U.S. presence "in a country with five thousand years' experience at resisting invaders."-Lynn Nutwell, Fairfax City Regional Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



From In the Company of Soldiers : We turned around. Najaf was pacified, at least for today. Back at the middle school where No Slack had its battalion command post, Hodges told Petraeus that he had declared Ali's shrine to be a demilitarized zone, "so there's no military presence west of Highway 9." He also had issued edicts outlawing revenge killings, but allowing the looting of Baath Party or Fedayeen properties. "You see guys walking down the street with desks, office chairs, lights, curtains," Hodges said, and I wondered whether authorized pilfering was a slippery slope toward anarchy. Before we walked back outside, Chris Hughes showed me a terrain model that had been discovered in a bathroom stall in a Baathist headquarters. Built on a sheet of plywood, roughly five feet by three feet, it depicted the Iraqi plan for Najaf's defense. Green toy soldiers, representing the Americans, stood below the escarpment on the southwestern approach to the city. Red toy soldiers, representing the Iraqis, occupied revetments along the perimeter avenues, with fallback positions designated in the city center. The model included little plastic cars, plastic palm trees, even plastic donkeys. Nowhere did I see JDAMs, Apaches, Kiowas, Hellfires, or signs of reality. Excerpted from In the Company of Soldiers: A Chronicle of Combat by Rick Atkinson All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.