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T.J. Stiles

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, American historian and author of Custer's Trials

  • About T.J. Stiles

    T. J. Stiles won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Biography and the 2009 National Book Award for Nonfiction for his critically acclaimed book The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt. Stiles became interested in Vanderbilt while researching and writing his historical account of another legendary figure, Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War. James and Vanderbilt, he finds, led more significant and more dramatic lives than we have realized. With both subjects, Stiles combines compelling storytelling and personal detail with thoughtful explorations of their role in the making of modern America, and the lasting impact of their lives and legends. His latest book, Custer’s Trials, paints a portrait of Gen. George Armstrong Custer both deeply personal and sweeping in scope, proving how much of Custer’s legacy has been ignored. The book was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for History, Stiles’ second Pulitzer Prize.

    Stiles served as historical adviser and on-screen expert for Jesse James and Grand Central, two films in the PBS documentary series American Experience. He has written for The New York Times Book ReviewSmithsonianSalon, the Los Angeles Times, and other publications. A native of Benton County, Minnesota, Stiles studied history at Carleton College and Columbia University, and resided in New York City for twenty years. He now lives in San Francisco with his wife and son.

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  • Praise for T.J. Stiles

    It was a real pleasure to meet T.J.   He is a fantastic speaker and his knowledge of the topic seemed never ending.    We had an unprecedented 400 people attend the lecture!   Prior to the main event we had a private reception with T.J. for our donors and VIP’s.   T.J. took the time to meet with everyone, say hello and share his knowledge.   The lecture went 45 minutes as planned, plus about 15 minutes of Q&A.  This easily could have went on for hours.   We sold out of books in the signing.

    James Parillo, Saratoga Springs History Museum

    Praise for The First Tycoon

    A mighty—and mighty confident—work. . . . This is state-of-the-art biography. . . . The First Tycoon has been widely praised, and rightly so. . . . This is state-of-the-art biography.

    The New York Times

    Superbly written and researched. . . . Worthy of its subject.

    The Economist
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  • 212 572-2013
  • T.J. Stiles travels from San Francisco, CA

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