17 Feb 2019

“W.E.B. Griffin” — November 10, 1929 – February 12, 2019

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William E. Butterworth III, the best-selling author, has died. He was 89, and had fought a years-long battle with cancer.

While his body of work includes more than 250 books published under more than a dozen pseudonyms, he is best known as W.E.B. Griffin, the #1 best-selling author of nearly 60 epic novels in seven series, all of which have made The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and other best-seller lists. More than fifty million of the books are in print in more than ten languages, including Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, and Hungarian.

Mr. Butterworth’s first novel, Comfort Me with Love, was published in 1959. The delivery-and-acceptance check from the publisher paid the hospital bill for the birth of his first son, who two decades ago began editing the Griffin best-sellers and then became co-author of them.

Mr. Butterworth grew up in the suburbs of New York City and Philadelphia. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1946. After basic training, he received counterintelligence training at Fort Holabird, Maryland. He was assigned to the Army of Occupation in Germany, and ultimately to the staff of then-Major General I.D. White, commander of the U.S. Constabulary.

In 1951, Mr. Butterworth was recalled to active duty for the Korean War, interrupting his education at Phillips University, Marburg an der Lahn, Germany. In Korea he earned the Combat Infantry Badge as a combat correspondent and later served as acting X Corps (Group) information officer under Lieutenant General White.

On his release from active duty in 1953, Mr. Butterworth was appointed Chief of the Publications Division of the U.S. Army Signal Aviation Test & Support Activity at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

Mr. Butterworth is a member of the Special Operations Association, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Army Aviation Association, the Armor Association, and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Society.

He was the 1991 recipient of the Brigadier General Robert L. Dening Memorial Distinguished Service Award of the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association, and the August 1999 recipient of the Veterans of Foreign Wars News Media Award, presented at the 100th National Convention in Kansas City.

He has been vested into the Order of St. George of the U.S. Armor Association, and the Order of St. Andrew of the U.S. Army Aviation Association, and been awarded Honorary Doctoral degrees by Norwich University, the nation’s first and oldest private military college, and by Troy State University (Ala.). He was the graduation dinner speaker for the class of 1988 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

He has been awarded honorary membership in the Special Forces Association, the Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association, the Marine Raiders Association, and the U.S. Army Otter & Caribou Association. In January 2003, he was made a life member of the Police Chiefs Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, and the State of Delaware.

He was the co-founder of the William E. Colby Seminar on Intelligence, Military, and Diplomatic Affairs.

The W.E.B. Griffin novels, known for their historical accuracy, have been praised by The Philadelphia Inquirer for their “fierce, stop-for-nothing scenes.”

“Nothing honors me more than a serviceman, veteran, or cop telling me he enjoys reading my books,” he said.


W.E.B. Griffin quotations.


I really liked his “Brotherhood of War” series, which was so thoroughly grounded in real history that you could describe it as a Roman à clef.

6 Feedbacks on "“W.E.B. Griffin” — November 10, 1929 – February 12, 2019"

Joe Roy

I didn’t read much fiction before finding W.E.B. because too often there were glaring errors in technology used. But not with him. Once I saw an instance concerning a pistol described that used .45ACP ammo and thought well he missed it this time but alas there actually was such a weapon ! Such good stories especially the series on the USMC.

Well Damn!!! | Freedom Is Just Another Word…

[…] “W.E.B. Griffin” — November 10, 1929 – February 12, 2019 […]


Writing as W. E. Butterworth, he wrote a number of books about stock car racing in the 60s & 70s. The first one I saw in the school library was Redline 7100, and since I wasn’t much interested in cars, I ignored it for some time. That was about 1975. Eventually I gave in and was immediately hooked. I devoured every W. E. Butterworth book I could find.

I didn’t learn he was better known as WEB Griffon until just a couple years ago. I appreciate the many hours of reading pleasure he gave me in 7th and 8th grade.

Major David E. Feiring, USMC (Ret)

Everyone of his novels kept me spell bound, often into the wee hours of night. RIP, WEB.


I found his books long ago and started reading the Semper Fi and then found the Army stories and then the MASH stories and the police series. He was good enough and I enjoyed them well enough that I bought the hard covers as soon as they came out. I’ve replaced them all with kindle versions.
He told good stories very well. I just finished a rereading of the Presidential Agent stories and may start reading his OSS stories again and the follow on/outgrowth from his Argeninta OSS stories.
I hope his son picked up enough to take on some of them or start new ones but Terry Pratchett springs to mind and his daughter decided not to dilute her dad’s stories by releasing anything ‘new’ after his death in his worlds.


Orders to Vietnam. Read it in the 5th grade. It was in the school library! RIP Brother


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