WWII author Rick Atkinson says faces learning curve for next project

Wed Oct 8, 2014 4:42pm EDT
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By Ian Simpson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Author Rick Atkinson, who won a Pulitzer Prize for a best-selling World War Two history, said on Wednesday he was facing a steep learning curve for his next project on the American Revolution.

After 15 years of researching and writing about World War Two, Atkinson said the 1775-1781 war that freed 13 American colonies from Britain and created the United States was a brand new subject.

"It's a steep learning curve for me. I know a lot about World War Two, a lot less about the Revolution and 18th century warfare and 18th century societies," he said.

But Atkinson said the deaths during the Revolution were as poignant and the sacrifices as large as any during the vastly greater conflict of World War Two.

"One of the things (about war) is the miracle of singularity. Each death is as unique as a snowflake or a fingerprint, and no less for the Revolution than for something as grand as World War Two," he said.

Atkinson, 61, spoke on the margin of a briefing about new exhibits at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, where he is an adviser.

A former editor at the Washington Post, Atkinson has won the Pulitzer Prize both for journalism and for "An Army at Dawn," his history of the U.S. Army in North Africa during World War Two.

"The Guns at Last Light," the third volume of the "Liberation Trilogy," was a New York Times No. 1 best-seller. He also has written books about the Gulf War, the U.S. Military Academy and the invasion of Iraq.   Continued...