More About the Author
Combat historian, bestselling author, and public speaker Patrick K. O'Donnell has written eight critically acclaimed books that recount the epic stories of America's wars.
Dog Company: The Boys of Pointe du Hoc The Rangers Who Accomplished D-Day's Toughest Mission and Led the Way Across Europe is his most recent work.
His bestseller, Beyond Valor, which tells the gripping tales of U.S. WWII Ranger and Airborne veterans, won the William E. Colby Award for Outstanding Military History. O'Donnell's We Were One: Shoulder to Shoulder With the Marines Who Took Fallujah is required reading for Marines and is on the Commandants' Professional Reading List.
His other books include Into the Rising Sun; Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs; The Brenner Assignment: The Untold Story of the Most Daring Spy Mission of WWII; They Dared Return; and Give Me Tomorrow: The Korean War's Greatest Untold Story - The Epic Stand Of The Marines Of George Company.
His books have been Main or Alternate selections of the Book-of-the-Month, History, and Military History Book Clubs. Reviewers from media outlets as diverse as The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Jerusalem Post, Los Angeles Times, CNN, C-SPAN, and National Public Radio (NPR) have hailed his publications.
O'Donnell has been studying World War II and modern war since childhood. He has a passion for finding ways to preserve the oral histories of America's combat veterans for generations to come. Nearly two decades ago, he founded The Drop Zone, the first online military oral history project and virtual museum. This award-winning website contains many of the thousands of interviews O'Donnell personally conducted with veterans and their adversaries, making it one of the largest private collections of historical materials from elite and special operations troops.
As an expert on WWII espionage, special operations, and counter-insurgency on the modern battlefield, the historian has helped with production and writing for numerous documentaries produced by the BBC, the History Channel, and others. He has appeared as a guest on countless television and radio shows on NPR, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, and other networks.
O'Donnell not only writes about combat--he's experienced it firsthand. During the Iraq war, he was embedded with military units as the only civilian combat historian to volunteer and spend three months in Iraq documenting the experiences of troops in battle. He fought with a Marine rifle platoon (Lima Company 3/1) during the Battle of Fallujah, surviving several ambushes, and carried a mortally wounded Marine out of a firefight with Chechen insurgents. (See WeWereOne.com and The History Channel's: Shoot Out D-Day Fallujah.)
On his second tour to Iraq, he served as a war correspondent for Men's Journal and Fox News, reporting on the conflict in Iraq from the perspective of the Marines on the ground. He has written for Military History Quarterly (MHQ) and WWII Magazine and is a contributor to The National Review, as well as a variety of nationally recognized publications.
He also provided historical consulting for DreamWorks' award-winning miniseries Band of Brothers, as well as for the billion-dollar Medal of Honor game franchise.
His skills and expertise have been tapped by private sector firms and government agencies, including DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). For the agency, O'Donnell worked on modern weapons systems for urban warfare, researched and analyzed counter-insurgency strategies and tactics, and assessed German technology from WWII, focusing on its application to the modern battlefield.
Because he believes in experiencing the places and people about which he writes, O'Donnell has traveled to nearly all of the battlefields of North America and many of the WWII battlefields in Northern Europe. In addition, each one of his books contains scores, if not hundreds, of oral history interviews, combined with years of archival research. For example, The Brenner Assignment was based on 10,000 primary source documents.
The author credits serendipity for leading him in the right direction, because the stories he tells somehow always find him.
His websites include: