T.J. Stiles
T.J. Stiles
Credit: Michael Lionstar

Pulitzer Prize winning author T.J. Stiles presents a lecture, The Unexpected Custer: A Life on the Frontier in Time, Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 6 p.m. in the Kiva on the campus of The University of New Mexico. The lecture, sponsored by The Center for the Southwest, is free and open to the public.

Stiles is the author of The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography and the National Book Award for Nonfiction, and Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War, which received the Ambassador Book Award and the Peter Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship and was the finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Stiles will discuss what drew him to his most recent work, Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of New America, which garnered him the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in March 2016. Viewing Custer as an “explosive mixture of contradictions: authentic courage, a gift for warfare, fierce loves, a passion for literature, drama, and art,” Stiles examines the totality of Custer’s life not just his demise at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

Biography provides Stiles with the tools and vehicle to tell stories. “I like to tell good stories and ask big questions,” says Stiles. From his life as a poor youth, his time at West Point, his dashing Civil War career, penchant for gambling, marriage to the formidable Elizabeth Bacon and his Indian Wars career, Stiles shares with his readers the private and public Custer.

Stiles is an elected member of the Society of American Historians and a member of the board of the Authors Guild. He was a 2011 fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, a 2004 Gilder Lehrman Fellowship in American History at the New York Public Library’s Dorothy and Lewis B. Full a Center for Scholars and Writer and a member of the 2014 faculty of the World Economic Forum. He lives in Berkeley, Calif. with his wife and two children.

For more information about this lecture or other events sponsored by the Center for the Southwest, call (505) 277-4344, email, cntrsw@unm.edu or follow the CSW on Facebook and Twitter.