Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for History In this magisterial biography, T. J. Stiles paints a portrait of Custer both deeply personal and sweeping in scope, proving how much of Custer's legacy has been ignored. He demolishes Custer's historical caricature, revealing a capable yet insecure man, intelligent yet bigoted, passionate yet self-destructive, a romantic individualist at odds with the institution of the military (court-martialed twice in six years) and the new corporate economy, a wartime emancipator who rejected racial equality. Stiles argues that, although Custer was justly noted for his exploits on the western frontier, he also played a central role as both a wide-ranging participant and polarizing public figure in his extraordinary, transformational time-a time of civil war, emancipation, brutality toward Native Americans, and, finally, the Industrial Revolution-even as he became one of its casualties. Intimate, dramatic, and provocative, this biography captures the larger story of the changing nation. It casts surprising new light on one of the best-known figures of American history, a subject of seemingly endless fascination.
WINNER 2016 - Pulitzer Prize for History FINALIST 2016 - National Book Critics Circle Awards FINALIST 2016 - California Book Award FINALIST 2016 - Mark Lynton History Prize LONGLIST 2016 - Plutarch Award WINNER 2016 - Western Writers of America Golden Spur Award WINNER 2016 - William H. Seward Award for Excellence in Civil War Biography FINALIST 2015 - Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History BookPage Best Books of 2015 St. Louis Post-Dispatch Best of 2015 "If anyone could make a reader forget Custer's last stand, at least for a few hundred pages at a time, it would be T.J. Stiles. . . . Stiles is a serious and accomplished biographer, but he is more than that. He is a skilled writer, with the rare ability to take years of far-ranging research and boil it down until he has a story that is illuminating and, at its best, captivating." - The New York Times Book Review "Epic, ambitious. . . . [Stiles] scrupulously avoids caricature. . . . Stiles's accomplishment is to show that, within the context of Custer's life, the Battle of Little Bighorn really was an epilogue." -The Wall Street Journal "If you want to understand how Custer's character became his fate, then Stiles's book is the one to read before any other." -Thomas Powers, The New York Review of Books "[This] sympathetic biography attempts to demythologize and reassess a complicated figure. . . . Stiles captures his subject with verve." - The New Yorker "In this deft portrait, Stiles restores Custer as a three-dimensional figure. . . . [Stiles's] prodigious knowledge of 19th-century institutions is on display throughout Custer's Trials. He is able to situate Custer in the shifting culture of the Civil War and its aftermath in a way no other biography has achieved. . . . Stiles's Custer is life-size." - The Washington Post "This energetic biography puts emphasis on the years in between Custer's Civil War heroics and his infamous Last Stand. Stiles is neither sympathetic nor unsympathetic in his treatment of Custer's profound need for attention." - The St. Louis Post-Dispatch "Riveting. . . . [Stiles] has given us a different way to look at the flesh-and-blood man and his times." - Minneapolis Star-Tribune " Custer's Trials is exemplary in every way, replete with instances of detailed scholarship and compelling analysis, dense with psychological insight, and written in a tight, adroit style." - The Wichita Eagle "Custer was the product of an America which changed more dramatically during his brief life than at any time in its history, except for the present sorry epoch, and Stiles, who can write, and also research, recounts how those times shaped him and, in the process, demolishes some of the Custer despisers' (there are many, and I am one) most cherished myths. . . . Terrific." - Field & Stream "Stiles portrays a complex and deeply flawed man. . . . Stiles' biography is a long, detailed, well-researched but highly readable account." - The Denver Post "Engaging... A teeming portrait of the birth of modern America-and a gripping account of Custer's role in it." -San Jose Mercury News "A nuanced, complex and convincing portrait of the man." - San Francisco Chronicle "Rousing. . . . An immersive, emphatic, bloody and very assured book." - Newsday "A good and meaty biography." - Christian Science Monitor "T.J. Stiles portrays Custer in the context of his time, and the man who emerges is much more than merely a martyr or a fool. . . . [Stiles] goes furthest in exploring [Custer's] contribution to Union victory during the Civil War and the difficulties he faced adjusting to the world that he helped to create." - The Daily Beast "[Stiles's] biography is thorough, engrossing and fair. Custer is seen as a man wearing many faces, some good, some not. The author has done a commendable job drawing out from other sources to write a balanced account of a misunderstood historical figure. A+ read." - San Francisco Book Review