The Award

Nominations for the 2016 Colby Award are now closed. 

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 Chicago-based Tawani Foundation. The award and honorarium will be presented at Norwich University during the 2016 Colby Military Writers’ Symposium on April 6–7, 2016.

To qualify for consideration for the 2016 Colby Award:

  • The book must be a FIRST WORK by the author, published between January 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015.
  • Submissions must be received no later than September 30, 2015.
  • 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 2016 Colby Symposium at Norwich University
  • Download the nomination form here.

Connect with us! The William E. Colby Award LinkedIn Group will keep you updated and send you deadline reminders.

Past Winners

  • 2015, COL Douglas Mastriano, Alvin York: A New Biography of the Hero of the Argonne
  • 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)


Alvin York biographer named winner of 2015 William E. Colby Award

Biographer Colonel Douglas V. Mastriano, PhD  is the 2015 William E. Colby Award winner for his book, Alvin York: A New Biography of the Hero of the Argonne. Norwich University awards the Colby annually to an author of a first book.

In the book, published in 2014 by the University Press of Kentucky, Mastriano uses archival research, military terrain analysis and forensic study to reconstruct the events of the October 1918 act of heroism that earned Sergeant York the Medal of Honor in the First World War. Mastriano details York’s early life in Tennessee, his service in the war, and his return to a civilian life dedicated to charity. As the centennial of American involvement in World War I approaches, this book shares the story of one of the war’s most notable heroes.

“I am humbled by the distinction of being the 2015 William E Colby Award recipient. The Colby Award represents the highest caliber of works published in the United States since 1999. It is a privilege to have the book ‘Alvin York: A New Biography of the Hero of the Argonne’ recognized worthy of this honor,” said Mastriano.

Mastriano is the co-founder of The Sergeant York Discovery Expedition (SYDE) and led the effort to locate the exact spot where Alvin York eliminated a machine-gun nest and captured 132 German soldiers. The group’s research has been endorsed by U.S. and French authorities. SYDE organized the construction of a five-kilometer historic trail in France’s Argonne Forest for visitors to experience a piece of World War I history.

A $5,000 author honorarium is provided through a grant from the Chicago-based Tawani Foundation. The award and honorarium will be presented at Norwich University during the 20th anniversary of the Colby Military Writers’ Symposium at the Meet the Authors Dinner on April 9, 2015.


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