Patrick K. O'Donnell
|Patrick K. O'Donnell|
|Period||1999 - present|
|Notable works||Washington's Immortals, First SEALs, The Brenner Assignment, We Were One, Beyond Valour, Operatives, Spies and Saboteurs, Dog Company|
Patrick K. O’Donnell is a critically acclaimed American author who has written ten books on military history. His most recent book is Washington's Immortals: The Untold Story of an Elite Regiment Who Changed the Course of the Revolution. He received the Colby Circle Award for Outstanding Military History for his best-selling book, Beyond Valour. His other works include First SEALs: The Untold Story of the Forging of America's Most Elite Unit;Into the Rising Sun; Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs; We Were One: Shoulder to Shoulder With the Marines Who Took Fallujah; The Brenner Assignment: The Untold Story of the Most Daring Spy Mission of WWII; They Dared Return; Give Me Tomorrow: The Korean War’s Greatest Untold Story – The Epic Stand Of The Marines Of George Company; and Dog Company: Boys of Pointe Du Hoc Rangers Who Landed at D-Day and Fought Across Europe.
As an unpaid, volunteer combat historian, O’Donnell spent three months in Iraq in uniform and conducted oral histories of U.S. troops in battle. On a later tour to Iraq, he also served as a war correspondent for Men's Journal and Fox News. His writing has also appeared in Military History Quarterly (MHQ), World War II Magazine, and a number of well-known blogs.
As an expert on World War II espionage, special operations, and counter-insurgency, O'Donnell has provided historical consulting for DreamWorks’ award-winning miniseries Band of Brothers, and for scores of documentaries produced by the BBC, the History Channel, and Fox News. His book They Dared Return was the basis for the independent documentary The Real Inglorious Bastards. He also served as a consultant for the Medal of Honor game franchise.
O’Donnell is also the founder of the Drop Zone, a website and virtual community for combat veterans and the interested public. It includes more than 4,000 oral history interviews he has personally conducted with American veterans of wars from World War I to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Awards & Recognition
O'Donnell's books have been chosen as Main or Alternate selections of the Book-of-the-Month, History, and Military History Book Clubs. In 2012, the OSS society presented O'Donnell with the John Waller Award, which recognizes achievement in scholarship related to intelligence and special operations history. O'Donnell's book We Were One was chosen for the Commandants' Professional Reading List and is required reading for Marines. He has appeared on numerous television programs including some on C-SPAN and the History Channel. He has also appeared on hundreds of radio shows.
His latest book, Washington's Immortals, was selected as an Amazon Best Book of the Year So Far (History). Reviews for Washington's Immortals included the following:
- “What makes Washington’s Immortals different from most Revolutionary War accounts is its seamless blend of tactical acumen and human drama . . . O’Donnell admirably blends a story of ardent farmers, merchants and mariners with a combat story of sharp, bloody engagements . . . [He] makes fluid use of letters, diaries, pension affidavits and early histories to bring home the carnage of war as the foot soldier saw it . . . Washington’s Immortals is an example of combat writing at its best.”—Wall Street Journal
- “A powerful narrative . . . a must-read for those with deep or casual interest in the American Revolution.”—Journal of the American Revolution
- “Well-written, and superbly researched . . . [A] compelling story of the Maryland Regiment . . . Intimate and often inspiring . . . O’Donnell is at the top of his game . . . A must-read for Revolutionary War and Maryland history buffs alike.”—Baltimore Post-Examiner
- “O’Donnell writes about war from the soldiers’ weary, battle-scarred perspective . . . At the same time, he describes and analyzes the strategic and tactical elements of battle with an even-handed regard to the wisdom and errors on each side . . . Through his vivid prose, we smell the sulfur in the gunsmoke and hear the fierce and often final cries of the combatants . . . Reveal[s] an important and little-known part of the sprawling history of the Revolution.”—Daughters of the American Revolution
- “O’Donnell deploys a fusillade of fact and fresh research in a Revolutionary War history rich in irony and event . . . Readers will admire O’Donnell’s exhaustive research, skilled organization of the material, and the high readability of the writing . . . With a firm grasp of tactics, strategy, and the sociopolitical landscape, O’Donnell captures the horror and absurdities of the war better than most.”—Kirkus Reviews
- “Using primary sources from both sides of the Atlantic, O’Donnell effectively traces the story of Maryland’s immortals, describing their battles authentically along with the precariousness of the American cause. This book will be of interest to both general readers and scholars interested in the military aspects of the American Revolution.”—Library Journal
- “O’Donnell . . . [spent] five years researching the Marylanders’ exploits, visiting every battlefield where they fought from New York to South Carolina and combing through archives in the U.S. and Britain. What he learned prompted him to dub those patriots America’s original band of brothers, men who continued the fight despite overwhelming odds and constant lack of food, clothing and equipment.”—Associated Press
- “Washington’s Immortals tells the extraordinary story of the most important band of brothers, forgotten men who changed the course of American history. This is O’Donnell at his very best—a deeply moving, superbly researched page turner.”—Alex Kershaw,New York Times bestselling author of The Bedford Boys and The Longest Winter
- “Patrick O’Donnell is blessed with a rare gift for storytelling and a keen empathy for the realities of soldiers in combat. He walks in the footsteps of his subjects like few other historians are able—or willing—to do. In this impressively researched, well written book, he brings the world of the American Revolution to life with an immediacy that almost defies belief. By focusing on one group of stalwart soldiers who sacrificed so much for the sake of their ideals, O’Donnell sheds important new light on the motivation and actions of America’s most effective revolutionaries. Washington’s Immortals is a must read for anyone even remotely interested in the American combat soldier, regardless of the era.”—John C. McManus, Curators’ Professor of US Military History, Missouri University of Science and Technology; author of The Dead and Those About to Die, D-Day: The Big Red One at Omaha Beach, and Grunts: Inside the American Infantry Combat Experience
- “Patrick O’Donnelll has written what portends to be the definitive history of the famous Revolutionary War era ‘Maryland Line.’ Long considered by historians as George Washington’s Continental Army shock troops, O’Donnell tells a thoroughly entertaining and highly readable story. From Brooklyn Heights to Yorktown, O’Donnell clearly shows why this particular band of brothers earned the title of Washington’s Immortals.”—Charles P. Neimeyer, Ph.D., Director and Chief of Marine Corps History, Marine Corps University, Quantico, Virginia
- Beyond Valor: World War II's Ranger and Airborne veterans reveal the heart of combat, 2001. ISBN 9780684873848 which won the Colby Circle Award for Outstanding Military History.
- Into the Rising Sun: in their own words, World War II's Pacific veterans reveal the heart of combat, 2002. ISBN 9780743214803
- Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs: the unknown story of the men and women of World War II's OSS, 2004. ISBN 9780743235723
- We Were One: Shoulder to Shoulder With the Marines Who Took Fallujah, 2007. ISBN 9780306815737
- The Brenner Assignment: The Untold Story of The Daring Spy Mission of WWII, 2008. ISBN 9780306815775
- They Dared Return: the true story of Jewish spies behind the line in Nazi Germany, 2009. ISBN 9780306818004
- Give Me Tomorrow: The Korean War’s Greatest Untold Story – The Epic Stand Of The Marines Of George Company, 2010. ISBN 9780306818011
- Dog Company: Boys of Pointe Du Hoc Rangers Who Landed at D-Day and Fought Across Europe, 2012. ISBN 9780306820298
- First SEALs: The Untold Story of the Forging of America's Most Elite Unit, DaCapo, 2014. ISBN 9780306821721
- Washington's Immortals: The Untold Story of an Elite Regiment Who Changed the Course of the Revolution, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2016. ISBN 0802124593
- Author's bio at literary representative, Zack Company  Retrieved on 2011-01-04
|Library resources about
Patrick K. O'Donnell
- AP story on First SEALs
- Author Interview on Operatives, Spies and Saboteurs: The Unknown Story of the Men and Women of WWII's OSS on March 18, 2004, at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library
- Author Interview on We Were One on November 16, 2006, at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library
- Author Interview on Dog Company on November 15, 2012, at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library
- Author Interview on First SEALs on October 29, 2014, at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library