Books by H.W. Brands

A professor of history at the University of Texas, H.W. Brands is an acclaimed American historian and author of more than 20 books, including The First American (2000) and Traitor to His Class (2008). In 2010–11, he has published three books of nonfiction, including his latest, The Murder of Jim Fisk for the Love of Josie Mansfield, the first in the new American Portraits series.


BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 2, 2012

"A direct, engaging approach to Grant's life that would have pleased him."
An unabashed admirer of the great Civil War general portrays the most unlikely, reluctant American hero since George Washington. Read full book review >
THE HEARTBREAK OF AARON BURR by H.W. Brands
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 1, 2012

"A short but thrilling page-turner. Brands burrows into Burr's psyche and exposes his failings as he details the outstanding talents that were so sadly wasted."
Most schoolchildren can tell you that Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Brands (History/Univ. of Texas; The Murder of Jim Fisk for the Love of Josie Mansfield, 2012, etc.) chronicles the story of the downward trajectory his fortunes endured thereafter. Read full book review >
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Oct. 1, 2011

In this succinct overview, two-time Pulitzer finalist Brands (History/Univ. of Texas; The Murder of Jim Fisk for the Love of Josie Mansfield: A Tragedy of the Gilded Age, 2011, etc.) traces the role of the dollar in shaping America's rise to global preeminence.

The author looks at historical benchmarks beginning with two signal events: the issuance of greenbacks as legal tender in 1862 and the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 31, 2011

Overlooked Gilded Age crooked financier Jim Fisk receives a compelling historical exhumation.

Intending to highlight "forgotten chapters of American history," the inaugural volume in the American Portraits Series reanimates the heady histrionics of eccentric stock broker and corporate executive Jim Fisk during his zenith in the mid 19th century. Read full book review >

HISTORY
Released: Oct. 12, 2010

"An educational, briskly written pseudo-textbook aimed at readers outside university classrooms."
A loosely themed survey of 35 years of American history. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: June 1, 2010

"Necessarily cursory—will leave readers wanting more—but elegantly written and sharp."
Two-time Pulitzer finalist Brands (History/Univ. of Texas; Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 2008, etc.) accounts for the last seven decades of U.S. history. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 2006

"Right on the money."
A lively and accessible history of a once-dominant issue in American life. Read full book review >
ANDREW JACKSON by H.W. Brands
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 18, 2005

"Brands illuminates the life of an American original while shedding light on such matters as the conquest of Texas and the origins of the Civil War. A pleasure for history buffs."
Industrial-strength historian Brands (Lone Star Nation, 2004, etc.), prolific in the Ambrose-McCullough vein, turns his attention to oft-overlooked Old Hickory. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 10, 2004

"A pleasure for students of Texas history, and a fine complement to Randolph E. Campbell's more complete Gone to Texas (p. 726)."
A sturdy survey of early-19th-century Texas history and the "Texican" struggle for independence. Read full book review >
WOODROW WILSON by H.W. Brands
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 1, 2003

"A worthy overview that acknowledges Wilson's considerable strengths and his many limitations."
Latest in the American Presidents series, profiling a respected but now overlooked chief executive. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Aug. 1, 2002

"A lucid, literate survey of events that transformed the nation, for better and worse."
Historian Brands (The Strange Death of American Liberalism, 2001, etc.) crafts a rich study of Gold Rush-era America that enfolds the period's bigger-than-life personalities and big ideas. Read full book review >
THE STRANGE DEATH OF AMERICAN LIBERALISM by H.W. Brands
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Nov. 1, 2001

"Brands's argument, carefully made and easily followed, will be of interest to a wide range of readers."
A brilliant autopsy of a dearly departed American political tradition. Read full book review >
THE FIRST AMERICAN by H.W. Brands
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 19, 2000

"Brands adds flesh to a hallowed ghost, and the result is that the reader admires Benjamin Franklin all the more. Superb."
A rousing, first-rate life of a Founding Father. Read full book review >
T.R. by H.W. Brands
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Dec. 17, 1997

Theodore Roosevelt emerges as considerably more than his toothy Rough Rider legend in this extensively researched, psychologically penetrating biography of our 26th president. Even as an asthmatic child, when he began to mold his mind with tales of heroes and his body with physical exercise, Roosevelt saw life as a series of struggles and achievements, according to Brands (History/Texas A&M Univ.; The Reckless Decade, 1995). Read full book review >

HISTORY
Released: Dec. 1, 1995

"Narratively not always up to its best moments, but well researched and accessible; a persuasive reminder that we should look back over our shoulder at what has gone before."
A historian peels the romantic veneer off the good old days of late-19th-century America. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 1994

A convincing reassessment of Lyndon Johnson's foreign policy. Although Brands (History/Texas A&M; The Devil We Knew, 1993, etc.) admits that it is difficult to consider LBJ's record in foreign affairs without immediately thinking of the debacle in Vietnam that wrecked his presidency, that is nonetheless what he attempts to do. Read full book review >

THE DEVIL WE KNEW by H.W. Brands
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

A sophisticated interpretation of America's involvement in the cold war that appears calculated to draw fire from the left as well as right. In assessing the conflict's origins and costs, Brands (History/Texas A&M) provides a wide-ranging survey of US foreign policy from Yalta through the Berlin Wall's collapse. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 4, 1008

"A thoroughly readable, scrupulously fair assessment of the one president who could inspire a Mt. Rushmore makeover."
Prolific historian Brands (History/Univ. of Texas; The Money Men: Capitalism, Democracy, and the Hundred Years' War Over the American Dollar, 2006, etc.) turns his well-honed biographer's eye to FDR. Read full book review >