Ralph Peters
Born (1952-04-19) April 19, 1952 (age 71)
EducationPennsylvania State University
Alma materSt. Mary's University, Texas (MA)[1]
Occupation(s)Former U.S. Army officer, military analyst, writer
Political partyIndependent
  • Janice Stickler (divorced)
  • Marion Ann Martin (divorced)
Katherine McIntire
(m. 1994)
Parent(s)Ralph Heinrich Peters
Alice Catherine (née Parfitt) Peters

Ralph Peters (born April 19, 1952) is a retired United States Army lieutenant colonel and author.

In addition to his non-fiction books, he has published eight novels under the pen name Owen Parry, including Honor's Kingdom, which was awarded the Hammett Prize. Three of his novels published as Ralph Peters received the W. Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction.

Early life and education

Peters was born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, and grew up in nearby Schuylkill Haven. He is of German and Lutheran descent on his father's side, and Welsh and Methodist descent on his mother's. His father was a coal miner and businessman.

His wife, Katherine McIntire Peters, is the deputy editor of Government Executive, a division of Atlantic Media.[2]



Peters enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1976 following his graduation from Pennsylvania State University.[3][4]

Peters' first assignment was in Germany. After returning from Germany, he attended Officer Candidate School and received a commission in 1980.[5][6] He served with 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment, then part of the 1st Armored Division.[7]

Peters spent ten years in Germany working in military intelligence, and was later appointed a Foreign Area Officer, where he specialized in the Soviet Union. He attended the Command and General Staff College. His last assignment was in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence. He retired in 1998 as a lieutenant colonel, following 22 years of military service.


Peters's first novel was Bravo Romeo, a spy thriller set in West Germany, and was published in 1981. Since then, his novels progressed from futuristic scenarios involving the Soviet Army to contemporary terrorism and failed state issues. His characters are often presented as military mavericks who have the knowledge and courage to tackle problems others cannot or will not. His novel, The War After Armageddon, was released in 2009. In 2008, he published the non-fiction Looking for Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World. He is a regular contributor to the military history magazine, Armchair General Magazine, and he also serves on its Advisory Board.[8]

He has also written historical war novels. His novels about the American Civil War have been well received and recognized with the Hammett Prize and the W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction.

He has published numerous essays on strategy in military journals such as Parameters, Military Review, and Armed Forces Journal, reports for the United States Marine Corps (see Center for Emerging Threats and Opportunities[permanent dead link]), formerly wrote a regular opinion column for the New York Post, and has written essays and columns for USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Newsweek, The Weekly Standard, The Washington Monthly and Army magazine. Peters is a member of the Board of Contributors for USA Today's Forum Page, part of the newspaper's Opinion section.


Iraq War

Peters strongly supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the ensuing Iraq War. In July 2017, Fox News host Tucker Carlson told Peters: "I would hate to go back and read your columns assuring America that taking out Saddam Hussein will make the region calmer, more peaceful, and America safer when, in fact, it has done exactly the opposite, and it has empowered Russia and Iran, the two countries you say you fear most."[9]


In February 2009, Peters called for U.S. troops to be pulled out of Afghanistan, writing, "we've mired ourselves by attempting to modernize a society that doesn't want to be – and cannot be – transformed." He continued, "We needed to smash our enemies and leave. Had it proved necessary, we could have returned later for another punitive mission. Instead, we fell into the great American fallacy of believing ourselves responsible for helping those who've harmed us."[10]

Bowe Bergdahl

Peters expressed sympathy for POW Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's family, but speculated (Fox News, July 19, 2009) that Bergdahl might be "an apparent deserter ... if he walked away from his post and his buddies in wartime – I don't care how hard it sounds – as far as I'm concerned the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills." He characterized Bergdahl's description (in the Taliban produced video) of U.S. military behavior in Afghanistan as collaboration with the enemy, even if coerced.[11] Peters hoped Bergdahl would be reunited with his family, but argued that the US media had glorified one captured soldier who Peters claimed had shamed his unit and lied, while ignoring genuine heroes and casualties (The O'Reilly Factor, July 21).[12]

Donald Rumsfeld

In 2011, Peters criticized former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying: "I am allergic to Rumsfeld. We did a great thing in Iraq, but we did it very badly. He is an extremely talented man but he has the tragic flaw of hubris. His arrogance is unbearable. My friends in uniform just hate him."[13]

Obama foreign policy

During Stuart Varney's Fox Business Network show on December 7, 2015, Peters referred to President Barack Obama as a "total pussy", leading Fox News to suspend him for two weeks.[14]


In July 2017, Peters said that Russian President Vladimir Putin "is comparable" to Adolf Hitler. "He hates America. He wants to hurt us. ... Russia is evil. Russia is our enemy."[9]


Peters praised President Donald Trump for his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.[15]

Fox News

In March 2018, Peters publicly quit his role as an expert commentator on Fox News. In his goodbye letter to his colleagues, he wrote:

Four decades ago, I took an oath as a newly commissioned officer. I swore to "support and defend the Constitution," and that oath did not expire when I took off my uniform. Today, I feel that Fox News is assaulting our constitutional order and the rule of law, while fostering corrosive and unjustified paranoia among viewers. Over my decade with Fox, I long was proud of the association. Now I am ashamed.[16]

In the same letter, he also called the Trump administration "ethically ruinous" and accused Fox News of "harming our system of government for profit",[17] calling the network a "propaganda machine" for the Trump administration.[18] On Anderson Cooper 360°, Peters likened Trump's behavior to sedition.[19]


In 2013, Peters was named as the recipient of the W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction from the American Library Association for his novel Cain at Gettysburg.[20] He received the award again in 2014 for Hell or Richmond[21] and in 2016 for Valley of the Shadow[22] and in 2020 for Darkness at Chancellorsville.[23]

In 2002, he received the Hammett Prize from the International Association of Crime Writers, North American Branch (IACW/NA) for Honor's Kingdom.[24]





  1. ^ Ralph Peters (2010). Looking for Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World. Stackpole Books. p. 246. ISBN 978-0811706896.
  2. ^ "Voices: Katherine McIntire Peters". GovExec.com. August 21, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  3. ^ "Soldier writer speaker: Ralph Peters brings to the National Convention a wealth of on-the-ground experience and incisive opinions". The Officer. July 1, 2006. Retrieved August 4, 2008. After graduating from Penn State University, he enlisted, at age 23, as a private with two flat feet, curved spine, and intermittent asthma.
  4. ^ "Fox News analyst saves his most searing commentary for Fox News". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. March 21, 2018. Retrieved August 19, 2018. He had enlisted after graduating from Penn State in 1976.
  5. ^ "In Depth with Ralph Peters 280144-1". C-SPAN Video Library. August 3, 2008. Retrieved August 4, 2008.
  6. ^ Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2008. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC Document Number: H1000113025 Retrieved August 4, 2008. Revised 2006-08-31. Fee.
  7. ^ "1st Battalion, 46th Infantry". Lineage and Honors Information. United States Army Center of Military History. January 12, 2005. Archived from the original on May 23, 2008. Retrieved August 4, 2008.
  8. ^ "Advisory Board". Armchair General.
  9. ^ a b Choi, David (July 12, 2017). "Tucker Carlson interview goes sideways when guest accuses him of defending Putin". Business Insider.
  10. ^ "The mendacity of hope", Ralph Peters, USA Today, February 24, 2009
  11. ^ Edwards, David; Tencer, Daniel (July 20, 2009). "Fox analyst: Taliban should kill US soldier if he deserted". Raw Story. Archived from the original on July 24, 2009. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
  12. ^ The Enterprise: Rep. Massa was right – POW deserves our support. July 30, 2009.
  13. ^ Baxter, Sarah; York, New (February 2, 2011). "Neocons join the lynch mob for 'arrogant' Rumsfeld". Times Online. London. Archived from the original on August 18, 2007. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  14. ^ Stelter, Brian (December 7, 2015). "Fox News suspends two commentators for profanity while criticizing Obama". CNN Business.
  15. ^ "Peters on Jerusalem Decision: Sometimes You Have to Do the Right Thing & 'Damn the Consequences'". Fox News. December 6, 2017.
  16. ^ Namako, Tom (March 20, 2018). "An "Ashamed" Fox News Commentator Just Quit The "Propaganda Machine"". Buzzfeed. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  17. ^ Grynbaum, Michael M. (March 20, 2018). "Fox News Analyst Quits, Calling Network a 'Propaganda Machine'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  18. ^ Relman, Eliza. "A Fox News contributor quit the network, calling it a 'propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration'". Business Insider. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  19. ^ "Ralph Peters: Trump must keep 'throne' to avoid prison". cnn.com. October 1, 2019. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  20. ^ "W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction". ala.org.
  21. ^ "'Hell or Richmond' by Ralph Peters wins the 2014 W.Y. Boyd Award | News & Press Center". Ala.org. April 29, 2014. Retrieved May 28, 2014.
  22. ^ Malden, Cheryl (May 10, 2016). "'Valley of the Shadow' wins W.Y. Boyd Award for excellence in military fiction".
  23. ^ "W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction | Awards & Grants". www.ala.org.
  24. ^ Sciandra, Mary Frisque and Lisa. "IACW/NA: Hammett Prize: Past Years".


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.