The East Tennessee Historical Society and the Knox County Public Library will host a lecture and book-signing with Rick Atkinson, three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author and World War II historian, at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, May 19 at the Bijou Theatre, 803 S. Gay Street. The event is free to attend, thanks to the support of Dr. Richard Briggs, Knox County Commissioner, District 5. Reservations are required and may be made by calling (865) 215-8883 or online at www.eastTNhistory.org.
Atkinson is the reigning chronicler of World War II. More than 15 years ago he set out to write the most comprehensive story of the Allied Forces in Europe and North Africa through a series books he named the “Liberation Trilogy.” The first book in the series, An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942 – 1943, won a Pulitzer Prize for History and was a New York Times best seller, as was the second book, The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943 – 1944. On May 19, Atkinson will speak about his most recent work and volume three in the trilogy -- The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945. The book completes Atkinson’s masterwork as he tells the story of battles and liberation in the European Theater of Operations from operation Overlord – the D-Day invasion of Europe – to the final surrender of Nazi Germany and the Axis powers, and the Allies’ triumphant victory in Europe.
Atkinson’s epic trilogy has been hailed by reviewers, lauded by fellow historians, and celebrated by readers around the world. The Guns at Last Light includes 80 black-and-white photographs, some of which have never been seen before, as well as 29 original maps drawn by master cartographer Gene Thorp, whose maps were featured in the previous volumes. The book will be on sale before and after the program, and proceeds will benefit the East Tennessee Historical Society.
The event is made possible by the support of Dr. Richard Briggs, Knox County Commissioner, District 5, as well as the Medal of Honor Convention, East Tennessee Veterans Memorial Association, the Knoxville News Sentinel, NewsTalk 98.7, WBIR, and Comcast.
Atkinson served as a reporter, foreign correspondent, and senior editor for 25 years at the Washington Post. His most recent assignments were covering the 101st Airborne during the invasion of Iraq and writing about roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007. Among other assignments, he served as the Post’s Berlin bureau chief, covering not only Germany and NATO, but also spending considerable time in Somalia and Bosnia. Born in Munich, Germany, Atkinson is the son of a U.S. Army officer and grew up on military posts. He holds a Master of Arts degree in English literature from the University of Chicago.