Agostino von Hassell (born 1953) is a German-born American military historian, chef, and photographer.
Early life, family, and education
Agostino von Hassell was born in 1953 in Bonn, Germany, into a European diplomatic family with a marked historical character. His great-grandfather, Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, built the German Imperial Fleet before the First World War. His paternal grandfather, the German ambassador Ulrich von Hassell, was executed on September 8, 1944, after having participated in Adolf Hitler's assassination attempt on July 20, 1944 (Operation Valkyrie). His maternal grandfather, Lieutenant General Bogislav von Studnitz, the first commander of Paris in World War II, was assassinated by the order of Hitler in January 1943. His father, Ambassador Wolf Ulrich von Hassell, was one of the first two ambassadors of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Nations.
Hassell grew up between Rome, Italy, and Brussels, Belgium, emigrating to New York in his youth. In New York, he attended Columbia University, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in European History in 1974. He then continued his education at Columbia and graduated with a degree in journalism in 1975.
While still living in Germany in the early 1970s, Hassell was extensively involved in national German politics.
In the United States, he has taught as an adjunct professor in the graduate program of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, instructing members of the New York City Police Department in subjects such as counterterrorism and leadership.
Hassell has written extensively on military and war history for a variety of publications and has authored several books including Military High Life (2006) on the history of military dining; In Honor of America (2004), a collection of photographs capturing the American spirit; Warriors (1989), a photographic memoir narrating life in the marines; Strike Force (1993), an insiders view of military intelligence; and an illustrated tribute to West Point (2003). In November 2006, St. Martin's Press in New York published the book Alliance of Enemies: The Untold Story of the Secret American and German Collaboration to End World War II, which Hassell co-authored with Sigrid Macrae. The book explores the secret contacts between the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) and the German intelligence service Abwehr during World War II.
Hassell is a Chevalier of the Confrerie du Tastevin and a Knight of Justice of the Sovereign Order. He is also an active member of the United States Marine Corps Combat Correspondents, the National Defense Industrial Association, the OSS Society, the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, the American Society of Magazine Photographers, the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation, and the Authors Guild.
He is also an active photographer and has been widely published in books and magazines. He has had one solo exhibit.
In December of 2007, Hassell was featured on the Food Network in an in-depth interview about military food.
- 2008: Received the 2008 Humanitarian Award from the Detectives' Endowment Association of the New York City Police Department.
- 2006: Received an award from the RDNY (Retired Detectives of the New York Police Department) for support of law enforcement.
- Hassell also received the Jesse H. Neal Award and the Henry N. Taylor medal for accomplishments in journalism.
Hassell has authored a number of books covering the history of warfare and politics and celebrating the American tradition.
- Warriors: The United States Marines (1989, Howell Press, Virginia)—co-authored with Keith Crossley
- Strike Force: U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations (1992, Howell Press, Virginia)
- West Point (2002, Howell Press, Virginia)
- In Honor of America (2003, Howell Press, Virginia)
- Military High Life: Elegant Food Histories and Recipes (2006, University Press of the South, Inc.)—co-authored with Herm Dillon, and Leslie Jean-Bart. Introduction by New Orleans chef John Besh
- Alliance of Enemies: The Untold Story of the Secret American and German Collaboration to End World War II (2008)—co-authored with Sigrid MacRae, with Simone Ameskamp as a contributor