H.W. Brands

This author appeared at the 2012 festival. Please view the list of authors appearing at this year's festival or see our suggestions for similar authors below.

H.W. Brands at the 2012  Texas Book Festival

In The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace, H.W. Brands examines the life of the 18th president, especially his contributions as a Union general during the Civil War and his presidential policies and demeanor. Despite high school curriculum that typically evokes Grant as a brilliant military leader but a far less stellar political figurehead, Brands argues that Grant was an idealistic, compassionate, and ultimately great president whose memory has been tarnished by detractors during the Civil War’s aftermath. “Brands' able portrayal captures the immense popularity that enveloped [Grant] in both life and posterity,” Booklist writes. Brands also covers a less celebrated American patriot in The Heartbreak of Aaron Burr, another book he’s publishing this year. Burr, despite his identity as a hero in the Revolutionary War, an important New York politician, and even a vice-president to Thomas Jefferson, is remembered most often as a shadowy, villainous caricature who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Brands here writes a dramatized narrative detailing a scandal involving Burr and daughter Theodosia during the young, formative years of the American political system. The tragedy which befell Burr, his daughter, and his grandson, heartbreaking enough when related through bare fact, is even more poignant thanks to Brands’ narrative. Brands is the Dickson Allen Anderson Centennial Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a New York Times best-selling author and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for biography for both The First American and Traitor to His Class. He received the Festival’s Texas Writer Award in 2010.

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