O'Donnell, Patrick K. 1969-
O'Donnell, Patrick K. 1969-
Born 1969; children: one daughter.
Historian, consultant, and writer. Historical consultant for DreamWorks' award-winning miniseries Band of Brothers and for documentaries produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the History Channel, and Fox News; founder of and contributor to the Drop Zone Virtual Museum Web site.
Colby Circle Award for Outstanding Military History, 2002, for Beyond Valor: World War II's Rangers and Airborne Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat.
Into the Rising Sun: In Their Own Words, World War II's Pacific Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat, Free Press (New York, NY), 2002.
Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs: The Unknown History of the Men and Women of World War II's OSS, Free Press (New York, NY), 2003.
We Were One: Shoulder to Shoulder with the Marines Who Took Fallujah, Da Capo (Cambridge, MA), 2006.
Contributor to periodicals, including World War II.
Beyond Valor was adapted as an audiobook, BDD, 2001.
For Patrick K. O'Donnell, a passion for World War II history led to the founding of the The Drop Zone Virtual Museum, an award-winning Web site devoted to preserving the experiences of U.S. war veterans. O'Donnell has interviewed hundreds of aging veterans, recording their individual stories. "I'm sometimes the first person they've ever told the story to," O'Donnell told Jeffrey Barron of the Washington Post. "They haven't even told their families. It's painful, and they didn't necessarily think that their family would understand." O'Donnell focuses on the experiences of America's airborne forces, rangers, special forces troops, and OSS agents, with each story carefully verified for accuracy.
In 2001 O'Donnell published Beyond Valor: World War II's Rangers and Airborne Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat, a selection of the many stories he has collected. O'Donnell "prefaces [the veterans'] memories with concise summaries and maps of their individual locations in the big picture, then lets the men speak," wrote Booklist contributor Gilbert Taylor. "Their stories, paradoxically, are often difficult to read yet impossible not to." Another reviewer, David Alperstein, recommended the book in Library Journal, commenting that it "reads like a good documentary." A contributor to Publishers Weekly pointed out that Beyond Valor "assumes a fair amount of interest in and familiarity with its subjects," but also noted that "scholars will find it a font of well-documented primary source material."
O'Donnell followed Beyond Valor with a companion volume titled Into the Rising Sun: In Their Own Words, World War II's Pacific Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat, which focuses on the stories of veterans from the Pacific theater. Roland Green of Booklist called Into the Rising Sun "a superior addition to World War II oral archives," and Dale Farris agreed in a Library Journal review, writing: "This important work preserves these veterans' shocking and moving stories for generations to come."
For his book Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs: The Unknown History of the Men and Women of World War II's OSS, O'Donnell conducted more than three hundred interviews with Office of Strategic Services (OSS) survivors from World War II and also accessed previously classified documents at the U.S. National Archives. The author's book recounts the history of the organization that led to the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In the process, O'Donnell profiles many of the OSS's initial operatives and recounts their harrowing exploits during World War II. "The reader is presented with a unique insight into the dark underworld of espionage, counterintelligence, guerilla tactics, and psychological warfare," wrote an Infantry magazine contributor. The reviewer went on to call Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs "interesting, historical, and even exciting." Daniel K. Blewett, writ- ing in the Library Journal, commented that the book "gives the flavor of being in the action not provided by other histories."
O'Donnell turns his attention to more recent combat exploits with his 2006 book We Were One: Shoulder to Shoulder with the Marines Who Took Fallujah. The book provides a first-hand account of the battle for Fallujah in Iraq, where the author was imbedded with Lima Company's First Platoon. The author recounts the intense street fighting conducted by the platoon and profiles many of the U.S. soldiers. A reviewer wrote in Publishers Weekly that the "Marines fought with great courage and the details of their battle make gripping reading."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
The Writers Directory, 22nd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2006.
Booklist, February 1, 2001, Gilbert Taylor, review of Beyond Valor: World War II's Rangers and Airborne Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat, p. 1038; February 1, 2002, Roland Green, review of Into the Rising Sun: In Their Own Words, World War II's Pacific Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat, p. 920; March 1, 2004, Roland Green, review of Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs: The Unknown History of the Men and Women of World War II's OSS, p. 1124.
California Bookwatch, February 1, 2007, review of We Were One: Shoulder to Shoulder with the Marines Who Took Fallujah.
Infantry, May 1, 2004, review of Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs, p. 53.
Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2003, review of Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs, p. 1395; September 1, 2006, review of We Were One, p. 890.
Library Journal, February 1, 2001, David M. Alperstein, review of Beyond Valor, p. 108; March 1, 2002, Dale Farris, review of Into the Rising Sun, p. 120; January 1, 2004, Daniel K. Blewett, review of Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs, p. 132.
Marine Corps Gazette, January 1, 2007, Willarda A. Buhl, review of We Were One, p. 68.
Publishers Weekly, March 12, 2001, review of Beyond Valor, p. 77; January 21, 2002, review of Into the Rising Sun, p. 81; September 25, 2006, review of We Were One, p. 58.
Rocky Mountain News, April 13, 2001, C.W. Buchholtz, review of Beyond Valor, p. D23.
Sea Power, April 1, 2004, David W. Munns, review of Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs, p. 68.
Washington Post, August 6, 1998, Jeffrey K. Baron, "World War II Stories Come Alive on Drop Zone Oral History Site."
World War II, June 1, 2007, review of Operatives, Spies Ans Saboteurs, p. 75.
Drop Zone,http://www.thedropzone.org/ (June 23, 2003), "Patrick O'Donnell."
Johntreed.com,http://www.johntreed.com/ (July 7, 2007), John T. Reed, review of We Were One.
We Were One Web site,http://www.wewereone.com/ (July 7, 2007), brief profile of author.
Zack Company, Inc. Web site,http://www.zackcompany.com/ (July 7, 2007), speaker's bureau profile of author.