Event date: Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Time: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Location: SMU, McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall
- This event is cosponsored with SMU’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies.
Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner T.J. Stiles argues that one of the great turning points in the life of George Armstrong Custer came in Texas in 1865–66. Here he faced the meaning of emancipation and Union victory in the Civil War. It led him to campaign alongside President Andrew Johnson in the historic midterm election of 1866, battling the Fourteenth Amendment, black enfranchisement, and Radical Reconstruction. Politics first made Custer controversial, Stiles argues, even before he joined the wars with the Cheyennes and Lakotas on the Great Plains. The result was a personal crisis amid a Republican landslide—yet Custer’s role also reveals the strength of the forces that would overturn Reconstruction shortly after his death in 1876.
T.J. Stiles is the author of Custer’s Trials, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for history, published by Alfred A. Knopf. His prior book, The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt, received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for biography and 2009 National Book Award for nonfiction. His first biography, Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War, won the Ambassador Book Award and the Peter Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship. A 2011 fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and an elected member of the Society of American Historians, he taught nonfiction creative writing at Columbia University, served as advisor and interview subject for “Jesse James” and “Grand Central,” two films in the PBS documentary series American Experience, and was on the 2014 faculty of the World Economic Forum. READ MORE and REGISTER