Event Details


Thursday, Feb 21, 2019


12:15 pm


LBJ School of Public Affairs, SRH 3.122

Was George Washington a Strategic Genius?

Was George Washington a Strategic Genius?

Thursday, Feb 21, 2019 12:15 pm   |  LBJ School of Public Affairs, SRH 3.122

On Thursday, February 21, 2019, the Strauss Center and Clements Center welcome Tom Ricks, a military historian and author, to give a lecture on "Was George Washington a Strategic Genius?"  George Washington isn’t often considered a great general. He suffered a series of military defeats, first in the French and Indian War and then at the beginning of the American Revolution. He was the least educated of our first four presidents; one of his cabinet members considered him semi-literate. He never learned a foreign language or travelled to Europe.

Yet he excelled at learning by experience. And in the first three years of the Revolution, he made a remarkable series of adjustments in the way he fought that war. Ricks argues that if the ability to change in response to events and circumstances is the measure of a general, then Washington was one of our best ever. 


Tom Ricks is currently the military history columnist for The New York Times Book Review, and has also written on defense matters in Atlantic Monthly and other publications. He has authored six books, the best known of which is Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2003-05 (2006), which was number one on The New York Times bestseller list and a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2007. His most recent book, and his fourth consecutive New York Times bestseller, is Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom (May 2017).

Ricks is currently a visiting fellow in history at Bowdoin College. As a journalist, Ricks wrote about military affairs for The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, reporting from such places as Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. On both papers he was part of reporting teams that won Pulitzer Prizes.

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