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Posted on Oct 25, 2011 in Carlo D'Este, Stuff We Like

Carlo D’Este Wins Fifth Annual Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement

By Pritzker Military Library

Carlo D'Este offers remarks after winning the 2011 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. (Scott Manning)

The $100,000 2011 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing, sponsored by the Chicago-based Tawani Foundation, was presented October 22 during the Library’s annual Liberty Gala at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel in Chicago. The award recognizes a living author for a body of work that has profoundly enriched the public understanding of American military history.

D'Este (left) receives the award from library founder James N. Pritzker (right) as last year's recipient, Rick Atkinson, looks on. (Scott Manning)This year’s winner was Carlo D’Este, who established himself as an authoritative voice in the field of World War II scholarship with books that include the acclaimed biographies Patton: A Genius for War (1995); Eisenhower: A Soldier’s Life, 1890-1945 (2002); and Warlord: A Life of Winston Churchill at War, 1874-1945 (2008). A retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel with service in Vietnam, D’Este has received the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, and Commendation Medal for his military service. He is a co-founder of the William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium, based at Norwich University, and currently serves as its executive director.He also serves as Consulting Historian and Advisory Board Member for Armchair General magazine.

Award Presenter James N. Pritzker, founder of the Pritzker Military Library and a retired Colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard, said that “Carlo D’Este has made a tremendous collective contribution to the literary community at large. He has spent as much time in the field, with his boots on the ground, as he has seeing to it that scholars of the next generation are carefully mentored while progressing along their own paths. It’s clear that Carlo’s literary legacy is deeply rooted in all the areas that embody the foundation of this esteemed award, most especially that of increasing the understanding of military history and the role of the Citizen Soldier.”


The host for the evening was Rob Stafford of NBC Chicago. Members of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company provided an original dramatic performance.

Colby Award presented to Karl Marlantes (left) by PML President Ed Tracy. (Scott Manning)The Colby Award, which recognizes first works of fiction or non-fiction that have made significant contributions to the public’s understanding of intelligence operations, military history, or international affairs, was presented to Marine Corps veteran Marlantes his novel Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War. The $500 award is Named for the late Ambassador and former CIA Director William E. Colby.

Matterhorn is a powerful first work that defines the tragic cost of the Vietnam War in human terms,” said Colby co-founder and New York Times best-selling author W.E.B. Griffin in a greeting read at the ceremony. “Marlantes’ breakneck writing style is both passionate and haunting, thrusting the reader into alternating moments of chaos and courage reflecting the fragility of our Marines on the ground – and their leadership – in combat.”

This year’s Gala chairs were Audrey and Albert Ratner, Mayari and Robert Pritzker, Alan Kravets, and Caroline and Dave Linden.

The Pritzker Military Library is a non-partisan, non-profit research institution located at 104 S. Michigan Ave., in Chicago’s historic Monroe Building. Admission is open to the public.

Since opening in October 2003, the Pritzker Military Library has produced over 300 programs including events with award-winning authors, interviews with Medal of Honor recipients, and Emmy-nominated panel discussions on military issues. All programs are presented in front of a live audience, webcast live on the Internet, and recorded for later broadcast on WYCC-TV/Channel 20, a PBS affiliate. Programs are also available for download as audio podcasts.

Winner of the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the Pritzker Military Library features a collection of books and films on subjects covering the full spectrum of American military history, along with military-themed posters, photographs, medals, uniforms, and other artifacts from private donors and the collection of the Library’s founder, Colonel (IL) J.N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired).

The Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing was established in 2007. The recipient’s contributions may be academic, non-fiction, fiction, or a combination of any of the three, and his or her work should embody the values of the Pritzker Military Library. Previous recipients include James M. McPherson, Allan R. Millett, Gerhard L. Weinberg, and Rick Atkinson.

To learn more about the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award or to submit a 2012 nomination, visit or write: Lisa M. Lanz, Executive Director, Tawani Foundation, 104 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 525, Chicago, IL 60603.

For more information on the Liberty Gala visit