The Award

David J. Barron Wins 2017 Colby Award

David J. Barron has won the 2017 William E. Colby Award for his book, “Waging War: The Clash Between Presidents and Congress, 1776 to ISIS.” Now in its 18th year, the Colby prize is awarded annually by Norwich University in Northfield, Vt., to a first solo work of fiction or non-fiction that has made a major contribution to the understanding of military history, intelligence operations or international affairs.

Barron is a United States Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and former S. William Green Professor of Public Law at Harvard Law School. He previously served as the Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legal Counsel at the United States Department of Justice. He is co-author, with Martin Lederman, of the article “The Commander in Chief at the Lowest Ebb.” “Waging War,” is his first solo book.

Barron’s professional and legal expertise and perspective make his book on executive power vs. Congress and the nation’s constitutional system compelling and timely.

The Washington Post described “Waging War” as such: “Ambitious…a deep history and a thoughtful inquiry into how the constitutional system of checks and balances has functioned when it comes to waging war and making peace.”

“I am so pleased to receive the Colby award,” Barron said. “William Colby’s own life exemplifies what I hope ‘Waging War’ shows — that the executive branch honors our constitutional tradition not only by challenging Congress but also by respecting it.”

“Waging War” details the history of the ongoing struggle between U.S. presidents and Congress over who has the power to declare and wage war, beginning with George Washington and the Continental Congress and continuing through current-day conflicts described as the Global War on Terror.

“David Barron is a distinguished jurist, “says Carlo D’Este, Colby Symposium executive director. “His superbly researched and wonderfully told history of the clash between presidents and Congress throughout the history of our nation is an outstanding literary achievement and a worthy winner of the 2017 Colby Award.”

Winners of the Colby Award receive a $5,000 author honorarium provided through the generosity of the Chicago-based TAWANI Foundation. The award and honorarium will be presented to Barron at Norwich University during the 2017 William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium at the “Meet the Authors” Dinner on April 13, 2017. The 2017 Symposium will take place April 12-13, and includes a panel discussion and book signing. The symposium is open to the public, but some events require tickets. Visit for information.

Finalists for the 2017 Colby Award included “The Brave Ones: A Memoir of Hope, Pride, and Military Service” by Michael MacLeod; “The Great War of Our Time” by Michael Morell; and “This Brave New World” by Anja Manuel.

Named for the late ambassador and former CIA director William E. Colby, the Colby Award recognizes a first solo work of fiction or non-fiction that has made a significant contribution to the public’s understanding of intelligence operations, military history or international affairs. The William E. Colby Award began at Norwich University in 1999.


Colby Award Selection Committee:
• William E. Butterworth, III is the author of more than 150 books, most notably the W. E. B. Griffin novels, and more than 50 New York Times bestsellers. He is the co-founder of the William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium.

• Karl Marlantes is the author of Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War, a New York Times Top 10 Bestseller, and What It Is Like To Go To War. He is a 2011 Colby Award recipient

• Jerry Morelock is a prize-winning military historian whose numerous publications include his latest book, Generals of the Bulge: Leadership in the U.S. Army’s Greatest Battle.

• John A. Glusman is vice president and editor-in-chief of W. W. Norton and Company, the largest independent, employee-owned publisher in the U.S. He is the 2007 Colby Award recipient for Conduct Under Fire: Four American Doctors and Their Fight for Life as Prisoners of the Japanese, 1941-1945.

• Frederick J. Chiaventone, a retired cavalry officer, is a novelist, screenwriter, and military historian. His novel A Road We Do Not Know: A Novel of Custer at the Little Bighorn won the 1999 inaugural Colby Award. His work has also won the Western Heritage and William Rockhill Nelson Awards and has been nominated for a Pulitzer.

• Carlo D’Este is a renowned military historian and biographer, and the 2011 recipient of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. He is the co-founder and the executive director of the William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium.

Past Colby Award Winners

  • 2016, Nisid Hajari, Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • 2015, COL Douglas Mastriano, Alvin York: A New Biography of the Hero of the Argonne (The University Press of Kentucky)
  • 2014, Logan BeirneBlood of Tyrants: George Washington and the Forging of the Presidency (Encounter Books)
  • 2013, Thomas P. McKenna, Kontum: The Battle to Save South Vietnam (The University Press of Kentucky)
  • 2012, Michael Franzak, A Nightmare’s Prayer (Threshold Editions)
  • 2011, Karl Marlantes, Matterhorn (Atlantic Monthly Press)
  • 2010, Colonel Jack Jacobs (Ret.) and Douglas Century, If Not Now, When? (Berkley Caliber 2008)
  • 2009, Dexter Filkins, The Forever War (Knopf 2008)
  • 2009, Marcus Luttrell, Lone Survivor (Little, Brown and Company, 2007)
  • 2008, R. Alan King, Twice Armed: An American Soldier’s Battle for Hearts and Minds in Iraq (Zenith Press 2006)
  • 2007, Ian W. Toll, Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy (W.W. Norton & Company 2006)
  • 2007, John A Glusman, Conduct Under Fire: Four American Doctors and Their Fight for Life as Prisoners of the Japanese 1941-1945 (Viking 2005)
  • 2006, Kevin J. Weddle, Lincoln’s Tragic Admiral: The Life of Samuel Francis Du Pont (University of Virginia Press 2005);
  • 2006, Nathaniel Fick, One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer (Houghton-Mifflin 2005)
  • 2005, Jon Meacham, Franklin and Winston: An Epic Story of an Intimate Friendship (Random House)
  • 2005, MG Sid Shachnow, USA (Ret.) and Jann Robbins, Hope and Honor (Forge Books)
  • 2004, Bing West and Major General Ray L. Smith, USMC (Ret.), The March Up (Bantam)
  • 2004, Robert L. Bateman, No Gun Ri (Stackpole)
  • 2003, Bryan Mark Rigg, Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers (University Press of Kansas)
  • 2002, Patrick K. O’Donnell, Beyond Valor (The Free Press)
  • 2002, Ralph Wetterhahn, The Last Battle (Avalon Publishing)
  • 2001, James Bradley with Ron Powers, Flags of Our Fathers (Bantam)
  • 2000, B.G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley, Stolen Valor (Verity Press)
  • 1999, Fred Chiaventone, A Road We Do Not Know (Simon & Schuster)
  • 1999, Bill Harlow, Circle William (Scribner)

The Colby Award

The Colby Award recognizes a first work of fiction or non-fiction that has made a major contribution to the understanding of military history, intelligence operations, or international affairs. A $5,000 author honorarium is provided to the award winner through a grant from the Tawani Foundation. The award and honorarium will be presented at Norwich University during the 2017 Colby Military Writers’ Symposium on April 12–13, 2017.

To qualify for consideration for the 2017 Colby Award:

  • The book must be a FIRST WORK by the author, published between January 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016.
  • Submissions must be received no later than September 30, 2016.
  • Submissions must include:
    • TEN (10) copies of the book;
    • TEN (10) copies of the nomination form; and
    • a certified or company check in the amount of sixty dollars ($60.00) per submission, payable to: Norwich University Colby Award.
  • Send entries to: Norwich University Colby Award, 158 Harmon Drive, Box 60, Northfield, VT 05663
  • Colby award winner must be present at the 2017 Colby Symposium at Norwich University
  • Download the 2017 Colby Award nomination form.

Publishers, connect with us: The William E. Colby Award LinkedIn Group will keep you updated on the award nomination process and send you nomination opening and deadline reminders.