Barrett Tillman was born into a northeastern Oregon ranching family and developed an early interest in aviation history. He learned to fly as a teenager, was first published at age 15, and graduated from the University of Oregon with a journalism degree in 1971.
He has worked as a newspaper reporter, book publisher, and magazine editor, but has been self employed all but seven years since graduating from college. Though best known for his histories of US naval aviation, he also has published six novels plus short stories, and has sold a screenplay.
Tillman is the author of D-Day Encyclopedia: Everything You Want to Know About the Normandy Invasion (Regnery; 2014) and Whirlwind in addition to more than 40 books and 550 articles. He frequently appears as a commentator on TV documentaries in addition to his speaking appearances. The Wall Street Journal hailed him as “a master story teller,” and Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Hunter called Whirlwind “a miracle of military history.” Tillman’s work has been cited in dozens of history books and has been used as course work by the Air Force, the Navy, and Marine Corps.
The recipient of six writing awards, he lives with his wife in Arizona.