W. E. B. Griffin
|W. E. B. Griffin|
|Born||William Edmund Butterworth III
November 10, 1929
Newark, New Jersey, United States
M*A*S*H Goes to New Orleans
Badge of Honor Series
|Spouse||Emma Macalik Butterworth
her death in 2003
William Edmund Butterworth III (born November 10, 1929), better known by his pen name W. E. B. Griffin, is a writer of military and detective fiction with 38 novels in six series published under that name. He has also published under 11 other pseudonyms and three versions of his real name (W. E. Butterworth, William E. Butterworth, and most recently William E. Butterworth III).
Early life, education, and military service
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Griffin grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. He joined the United States Army in 1946. His military occupation was counter-intelligence and in this capacity he served in the Constabulary in Germany, thus earning the Army of Occupation Medal. One of Griffin's duties was delivering food to German general officers, and their families, including the widow of would-be Hitler assassin Claus von Stauffenberg. His exposure to German military and civilian aristocracy supplied much of the inspiration for such Griffin creations as Oberst Graf von Greiffenberg, who appears in several of the Brotherhood of War novels.
After completing his active duty military service, Griffin attended Philipps-Universität Marburg at Marburg-an-der-Lahn. His college days were cut short in 1951 when he was recalled to serve in the Korean War.
In Korea he first served as an official Army war correspondent with the 223rd Infantry Regiment, then as public information officer for U.S. X Corps, which included the 1st Marine Division. Griffin received the Combat Infantryman Badge for service at the front lines. His knowledge of combat and garrison life and his friendships with military personnel from different services would well serve his writing. Many of his books are dedicated to fallen comrades who died in Korea or later on in Vietnam or while serving with the international peacekeeping force dispatched during the Lebanese Civil War. Griffin is modest about his own service. He once told a Barnes & Noble interviewer:
My own military background is wholly undistinguished. I was a sergeant. What happened was that I was incredibly lucky in getting to be around some truly distinguished senior officers, sergeants, and spooks.
After the end of the Korean War, Griffin continued to work for the military in a civilian capacity as Chief of the Publications Division of the U.S. Army Signal Aviation Test & Support Activity at Fort Rucker, Alabama. After his first three novels proved successful, he left this job to pursue writing full-time. To date, he has 160 fiction and nonfiction works to his credit. He is well-known and respected in the literary world for his thrillers and crime novels.
In recent years, his son, William E. Butterworth IV (previously editor of Boys' Life, the magazine of the Boy Scouts of America) has co-authored some of his books. William E. Butterworth IV, was a long-time editor who has moved from assisting in editing his father's work to collaborator. As of July 2015, he has been co-author of sixteen Griffin books in five different novel series. He was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Mystery Writers Key West Fest.
Griffin's knowledge of military jargon and administrative writing style shows when fictional orders and dispatches are incorporated in his novels. Many of his characters must battle red tape and bureaucratic mix-ups, sometimes making humorous end-runs around the system.
Griffin is the co-founder of the William E. Colby Seminar on Intelligence, Military, and Diplomatic Affairs at Norwich University in Vermont, along with his friend, historian, and Patton biographer Colonel Carlo D'Este. Griffin is a member of the Colby Circle, having participated in the William E. Colby Writers Symposium at Norwich University.
Griffin's mother was Pennsylvania Dutch, a fact that motivated him to learn German and study at Marburg.
Griffin's first wife, Emma Macalik Butterworth, was a ballet dancer and the author of As the Waltz Was Ending, a memoir of her life growing up as a dancer in Vienna during World War II. They had a daughter (Patricia) and two sons (John S. II and William E. IV) and later divorced. She died from lung cancer in 2003.
Since 1992, Griffin has been married to an Argentine wife, and has a stepson, Ignacio. The couple met while Griffin was duck-hunting in Argentina. They divide their time between Buenos Aires and the United States. Mrs. Griffin's father is a former Colonel in the Húsares de Pueyrredon; Griffin has mined his father-in-law and other Argentine contacts to develop Argentine and Argentine-American characters for several of his novels which have been set in South America.
List of written works
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Written as W.E.B. Griffin
- W. E. B. Griffin official site FAQ section
- Blankenship, Janie. "Vets of WWI Through Vietnam Became Famous in the Literary World", VFW Magazine (April 2015), p. 48.
- "W.E.B. Griffin :: The Authors". webgriffin.com.
- LeCount, Andrew (2000). Meet the Authors: W.E.B. Griffin (interview). Barnes and Noble website. Retrieved 2008-07-05
- Review of the novel, The Last Witness
- Poster, Mystery Writers Key West Fest, June 2014
- Colby Circle
- In Remembrance E. M. Butterworth
- "W.E.B. Griffin :: The Authors". webgriffin.com.
- Official W. E. B Griffin website: book summaries, excerpts, reviews, bio, dedications, pictures
- Barnes & Noble interview
- Discusses The Hostage at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library
- Works by or about William Edmund Butterworth in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Works by or about W. E. B. Griffin in libraries (WorldCat catalog)