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Peter Paret

Peter Paret

Award-winning author and historian, Peter Paret is the recipient of the 2017 Pritzker Military Museum & Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing.

Author of 14 major publications, including Clausewitz and the State: The Man, His Theories and His Times and Imagined Battles: Reflections of War in European Art, Paret has gained recognition for his research that brings together intellectual history and cultural history in order to better understand the relationship between the military and society more broadly.

Paret’s interest in military history emerged from his own military service in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Although he admittedly had a deep interest in literature and art, his service had left him with questions about how historians discussed warfare and how nations and citizens focused their energies towards military efforts. Towards that end, Paret’s writing has always been characterized by its quest to understand the intricate web of actions and ideas that affect the military on and off the field of battle and to expand the definition of military history to examine its impacts on politics, society, and art. 

Paret’s wide interests have allowed him throughout his long career to enrich the field of military history more than many other historians. Paret was a co-founder of the “Clausewitz Project” at Princeton, which sought to understand the intellectual and cultural world that fostered the military writings of Carl von Clausewitz. 

In 1991, Paret shifted the discipline, proposing the study of a “new military history” that seamlessly united warfare with contemporary cultural and political events. This crossing of intellectual categories to unite seemingly disparate areas of study marks Paret’s work as unique and bold.   

“I am very happy to receive this award and most grateful to the distinguished panel of historians of war for choosing me as the recipient of the 2017 Pritzker Literature Award.”
- Peter Paret on receiving the Pritzker Literature Award

Candidates for the Pritzker Literature Award are nominated each year by a committee of historians, authors, and executives, and the final selection is made by Museum & Library Founder Jennifer N. Pritzker. The 2017 Screening Committee is chaired by John W. Rowe and includes past Literature Award recipients Antony BeevorDavid Hackett FischerTim O'Brien, and Hew Strachan; Colby Award Winner Karl Marlantes; Executive Director of the 1st Divison Museum at Cantigny Paul Herbert; President & CEO of the Chicago History Museum, Gary Johnson, and ex-officio member Kenneth Clarke.

PETER PARET is a graduate of London University, the Professor Emeritus in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, a member of the American Philosophical Society, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow of the Leo Baeck Institute for German-Jewish History.

A recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Medal of the American Philosophical Society and the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit from the Federal Republic of Germany, Paret is a distinguished scholar across subjects, disciplines, and international boundaries. Paret is also a WWII veteran having served in the U.S. Army in the Pacific Theater.