2011 Colby Award Nominations and Process

The military memoir by Medal of Honor recipient Colonel Jack Jacobs, USA (Ret.) has won the 2010 Colby Award.

Named for the late Ambassador and former CIA Director William E. Colby, the Colby Award recognizes a first 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 $5,000 award will be presented by Tawani Foundation in association with the Pritzker Military Library on October 22, 2010 at Chicago’s Palmer House Hotel, in partnership with the Library’s 2010 Liberty Gala (pmlgala.org). At the same time, the $100,000 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing will be presented.  The 2010 recipient will be announced via live webcast from the Library on June 21, 2010.

In his memoir, If Not Now, When? (Berkley, 2008), Jacobs describes his childhood in post-World War II New York City, his experiences at Rutgers University where he joined the ROTC program, and how that decision eventually led him to his service in Vietnam.  As an advisor to a Vietnamese infantry battalion, Jacobs was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for saving the lives of 13 allied soldiers during an intensive firefight despite severe wounds. 

“I am honored that my book has been chosen for an award associated with William Colby,” said Jacobs.  “His legacy stands as a model for all members of our Armed Forces, past and present.”

“This is an important piece of history...a story of extraordinary service in combat on the battlefield and in Washington,” said William E. Butterworth III, the #1 Wall Street Journal and New York Times best-selling novelist who writes as W.E.B. Griffin, on behalf of the Award Selection Committee.  “Bill Colby would be very proud of Colonel Jacobs’ fine memoir.”

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Jacobs’ distinguished military record includes two Silver Stars and three Bronze Stars.  Following two tours in Vietnam, he served on the faculties of the National War College in Washington, DC and the United States Military Academy at West Point. He retired from the Army in 1987 and had a successful career on Wall Street.  He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a military analyst for NBC/MSNBC. 


The Pritzker Military Library is a non-partisan, non-profit research institution located at 610 North Fairbanks Court in the Streeterville neighborhood of Chicago, near the Magnificent Mile. Admission is free and open to the public, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and also for scheduled evening events.

The mission of the Pritzker Military Library is to acquire and maintain an accessible collection of materials and develop appropriate programs focusing on the Citizen Soldier in the preservation of democracy. The 5,000 sq. ft. facility features a collection of books and films on subjects covering the full spectrum of American military history, along with vintage posters, photographs, medals, uniforms, and other artifacts from private donors and the collection of the Library's founder, COL (IL) James N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Ret.).

Since opening in October 2003, the Pritzker Military Library has produced over 250 programs including events with award-winning authors and interviews with Medal of Honor recipients. All programs are presented free of charge in front of a live audience, webcast live and archived on the Internet, and recorded for later broadcast on WYCC-TV/Channel 20, a PBS affiliate. Programs are also available as audio podcasts on the Library website and at iTunes.

To learn more about Colonel Jack Jacobs, please view his interview on the Pritzker Military Library Medal of Honor Program webpage.

A grant making organization, Tawani Foundation’s vision is to increase knowledge and understanding of the Citizen Soldier through the support of organizations dedicated to military history and heritage. The Foundation awards grants to 501 (c)(3) agencies in accordance with commitment to the following four key initiatives: 1) historical preservation of military heritage, 2) conservation and preservation of historical sites and resources, 3) health and wellness projects, and 4) achievement award programs to include the JROTC/ROTC Award for Military Excellence, William E. Colby Award for first time author in military writing and the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing.