C. D. B. Bryan

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C. D. B. Bryan
Courtlandt Dixon Barnes Bryan

(1936-04-22)April 22, 1936
DiedDecember 15, 2009(2009-12-15) (aged 73)
EducationYale University, B.A., 1958
Berkshire School
Occupationwriter, editor, professor
(Editor-in-Chief, 1961–65)
The New Yorker
Lynn Nesbit at Janklow & Nesbit Literary Agency
Known forFriendly Fire (film) (1979)
Friendly Fire (1976)
P. S. Wilkinson (1965)
So Much Unfairness of Things (1965)
Parent(s)Joseph Bryan III
Katharine (Barnes) Bryan
John O'Hara (stepfather)
AwardsHarper Prize (1965)
Peabody Award (1980)

Courtlandt Dixon Barnes Bryan (April 22, 1936 – December 15, 2009), better known as C. D. B. Bryan, was an American author and journalist.[1][2]


He was born on April 22, 1936 in Manhattan, New York City. Bryan attended Berkshire School in the class of 1954 and earned a Bachelor of Arts at Yale University in 1958, where he wrote for campus humor magazine The Yale Record.[3] His parents were Joseph Bryan III and Katharine Barnes Bryan; after they divorced his mother married author John O'Hara.[4]

He served in the U.S. Army in South Korea (1958–1960), but not happily. He was mobilized again (1961–1962) for the Berlin Crisis of 1961.[2][5][6] He was an intelligence officer.[citation needed]

He was editor of the satirical Monocle (from 1961 until 1965), Colorado State University writer-in-residence (winter 1967), visiting lecturer University of Iowa writers workshop (1967–1969), special editorial consultant at Yale (1970), visiting professor University of Wyoming (1975), adjunct professor Columbia University (1976), fiction director at the New York City Writers Community from (1977), lecturer in English University of Virginia (spring 1983), and Bard Center fellow Bard College (spring 1984).[2][7]

His first novel, P. S. Wilkinson, won the Harper Prize in 1965.[5]

Bryan is best known for his non-fiction book Friendly Fire (1976). It began as an idea he sold to William Shawn for an article in The New Yorker, then grew into a series of articles, and then a book. It describes an Iowa farm family, Gene and Peg Mullen, and their reaction and change of heart after their son's accidental death by friendly fire in the Vietnam War.[8][9] One of the real-life characters featured in the book was future Operation Desert Storm commander H. Norman Schwarzkopf.

It was made into an Emmy-winning 1979 television movie of the same name, for which he shared a Peabody Award. It's also been cited in professional military studies.[10]

Bryan died from cancer on December 15, 2009 at his home in Guilford, Connecticut.[11]

Partial bibliography[edit]

  • So Much Unfairness of Things (short story; Literary Guild selection), Harper (New York City), 1965.
  • The Great Dethriffe (novel), Dutton (New York City), 1970.
  • Friendly Fire (nonfiction; Book-of-the-Month Club selected alternate), Putnam (New York City), 1976.
  • The National Air and Space Museum (nonfiction; Book- of-the-Month Club selected alternate), art by David Larkin, photographs by Michael Freeman, Robert Golden, and Dennis Rolfe, Abrams (New York City), 1979, second edition with photographs by Jonathan Wallen, 1988.
  • Beautiful Women; Ugly Scenes (novel; Literary Guild alternate), Doubleday (New York City), 1983.
  • The National Geographic Society: 100 Years of Adventure and Discovery, Abrams, 1987, 1997.
  • (Author of introduction) In the Eye of Desert Storm: Photographers of the Gulf War, Abrams, 1991.
  • Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind: Alien Abduction, UFOs and the Conference at M.I.T.; Alfred A. Knopf, 1995; ISBN 0-679-42975-1, 1996
  • Also author of narration for the Swedish film The Face of War, 1963.
  • Contributor to The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, Harper's, Esquire, Saturday Review, The New Yorker, and other periodicals.


  1. ^ Obituary London Independent, March 25, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2009. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale, 2009. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC Fee via Fairfax County Public Library. Document Number: H1000013342 Source: Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2002. Entry Updated : 05/04/2001
  3. ^ Bryan, C.D.B. (1958). "Son of a Beach". The Yale Record. New Haven: Yale Record.
  4. ^ Tarter, Brent. "Joseph Bryan III (1904–1993)". Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  5. ^ a b "A Prize Case of Angst". Time. February 5, 1965. Retrieved 2009-04-01. Novelist Bryan, John O'Hara's stepson, was educated at Yale, served in the Army during the peacetime occupation of Korea, and after his discharge was caught in the call-up of reservists during the 1961 Berlin crisis.
  6. ^ Wade, James (1967). One Man's Korea. Seoul. p. 231. In 1965, as South Korea entered its export-led take-off, C.D.B. Bryan wrote that "this is the foulest, goddamndest country I've ever seen!" The only thing that made Korea bearable, he thought, was "the availability of women" cited in Cumings, Bruce (May 2003). "Some Thoughts on the Korean-American Relationship". JPRI Occasional Paper No. 31. Japan Policy Research Institute at the University of San Francisco Center for the Pacific Rim. Retrieved 2009-04-01.
  7. ^ Steven Heller (March 3, 2007). "The Other Monocle, an article by Steven Heller". Archived from the original on June 21, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-31. Monocle was started while Navasky was still a student at Yale during the tail end of the McCarthy period. ... Their trenchantly witty writers included some of today’s literary and social comedic luminaries, Calvin Trillin, C. D. B. Bryan, Dan Wakefield, Neil Postman, Richard Lingeman, Dan Greenberg, and humorist Marvin Kitman
  8. ^ Sheppard, R. Z. (April 19, 1976). "Prairie Protest". Time. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
  9. ^ Applegate, Edd (1996). "C.D.B. Bryan". Literary journalism: a biographical dictionary of writers and editors (illustrated ed.). Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 35&ndash, 36. ISBN 978-0-313-29949-0. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
  10. ^ Lt Col Charles R. Shrader, U.S. Army (December 1982). "Amicide: The Problem of Friendly Fire in War". Combat Studies Institute
    Research Survey No. 1
    . Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Archived from the original on 2009-03-30. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
  11. ^ Bruce Weber, C. Bryan, 73, ‘Friendly Fire’ Writer, Dies The New York Times. Retrieved on December 21, 2009.
  • Connery, Thomas B., editor, Sourcebook of American Literary Journalism, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1992.
  • Contemporary Literary Criticism, Volume 29, Gale (Detroit), 1984.
  • Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 185: American Literary Journalists, 1945–1995, First Series, Gale, 1997.
  • Schroeder, Eric James, Vietnam, We've All Been There: Interviews with American Writers, Praeger (Westport, CT), 1992.
  • Sims, Norman, editor, The Literary Journalists, Ballantine (New York City), 1984, p. 3.
  • Atlantic, July, 1976; August, 1983.
  • Atlantic Monthly, July, 1976, p. 93; August, 1983, pp. 96–98.
  • Boston Herald, June 13, 1995.
  • Chicago Tribune Book World, October 9, 1983.
  • Christian Science Monitor, June 11, 1976.
  • Commonweal, February 19, 1965, pp. 672–673.
  • Los Angeles Times Book Review, August 28, 1983.
  • National Review, April 20, 1971.
  • New Republic, November 7, 1970.
  • Newsweek, November 23, 1970; May 17, 1976.
  • The New Yorker, July 31, 1995.
  • New York Review of Books, April 8, 1965; August 5, 1976, pp. 41–43.
  • The New York Times, February 1, 1965; October 21, 1970; May 12, 1976; August 9, 1983.
  • The New York Times Book Review, January 31, 1965, p. 4; November 1, 1970, pp. 46–47; May 9, 1976, pp. 1–2; October 14, 1979; August 28, 1983, pp. 10, 15; June 11, 1995.
  • Publishers Weekly, April 24, 1995.
  • Saturday Review, February 6, 1965; January 22, 1972; May 15, 1976.
  • Time magazine, February 5, 1965, pp. 112, 114; April 19, 1976.
  • Times Literary Supplement, October 7, 1965; December 29, 1972, p. 1573.
  • The Washington Post, October 24, 1979; June 5, 1995.
  • Washington Post Book World, December 27, 1970, p. 6; May 2, 1976, p. L5; August 21, 1983, p. 3.

External links[edit]

  • Boxes in the Attic ("Stories discovered inside 67 boxes of books, letters, photos and other items left to me and my sisters by our father, author C.D.B. Bryan, who passed away in December of 2009") - reminiscences about Bryan by his son, Saint George Bryan.