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H.W. Brands Author


H.W. Brands is an award winning historian twice selected as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize - including for his biography on Franklin Delano Roosevelt entitled Traitor to His Class. It is this acclaimed book which has been adapted into a BARDEUM experience for the FDR Memorial in Washington D.C.


Brands is also aNew York Times bestselling author, he has written 30 books on U.S. History achieving both critical and popular acclaim.

Courage & Determination is an audiovisual tour for the FDR Memorial in Washington D.C.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the longest serving President in U.S. history - winning four Presidential elections. He saw America through the Great Depression and through World War II, dying just months before it ended.

Born into America’s upper class, FDR lived inside the highest circles of power and wealth.  He was athletic and handsome and enjoyed all the privileges life offered.  Until, at the age of 40, tragedy struck.


Step Inside the Story of FDR’s polio diagnosis and learn how this test of personal hardship shaped the man and the President he would become.  Inspired by those around him, including his wife Eleanor and the ordinary Americans he met during his recovery, FDR found the Courage & Determination to fight for not just his own survival, but for the common good of all Americans. 


Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (2008)


Pulitzer Prize Finalist

“H. W. Brands has accomplished a remarkable feat in this terrific work. As if he were creating characters in a novel, he has brought to vivid life the central figures in his story—FDR, Eleanor, Sara Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and the inner circle in the White House—while at the same time providing a fresh understanding of the rich historical context for their thoughts and actions at every step along the way.”
Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author of Team of Rivals

Dreams of El Dorado: A History of the American West (2019):

"A subject this monumental demands prose to match it, and I am pleased that to report that, in this sprawling epic, H. W. Brands is at his sparkling best." -- S. C. Gwynne, New York Times bestselling author

"Brands has a deft narrative touch and a talent for highlighting the human drama undergirding historical events. But Dreams of El Dorado is not challenging history. It is scholarship as entertainment, history as adventure story." -- Los Angeles Review of Books

The First American (2010)


Pulitzer Prize Finalist

"H. W. Brands is a master storyteller. With a wit, originality, and erudition to rival his subject's, Brands gives us Benjamin Franklin living. This is biography at its most riveting-as intimate as a dinner party, albeit one attended by the greatest figures of their age." -Richard Norton Smith, author of Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation, director of the Gerald R. Ford Museum

Heirs of the Founders: The Epic Rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster, the Second Generation of American Giants (2018):


“A historical spellbinder . . . A lively, vivid, and thoroughly researched account of a time when discord gripped the nation and wouldn’t let go.” —David Holahan, Christian Science Monitor

“H. W. Brands has brought us a searching and excellent account of three legendary Americans whose leadership and rivalries did so much to shape the period of our history between that of the Founders and the Civil War. Heirs of the Founders should remind those of our own time how important Clay, Calhoun, and Webster are to the nation we live in today.”
—Michael Beschloss, author of Presidents of War

The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War (2016):


The General vs. The President is that rare military chronicle that becomes an instant page-turning classic." —San Antonio Express-News

"Brands spikes the shadowboxing between [Truman and MacArthur] with vivid dispatches from the battlefield that give his tale a get-along kick." —TIME

Reagan: The Life (2015):

"Reagan is an engaging study of a man who Brands says defeated Soviet communism and achieved a halfway economic revolution. Drawing on Reagan’s diary, speeches, statements, letters and memoirs, and on interviews with the president’s aides, Brands tells a briskly paced story ... Reagan’s legacy continues to fuel the ideas and frame the choices facing his would-be successors, and this astute biography is further evidence that the 40th president continues to cast a long shadow over a still largely conservative political order." —Washington Post


The Heartbreak of Aaron Burr [American Portraits series] (2012): 

"H. W. Brands brings to life Burr’s forgotten contributions as a Revolutionary War hero and politician, as well as the shame that shadowed him for the rest of his life after Hamilton’s death." —The New York Times 

The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace (2012):

“In this splendidly written biography, University of Texas at Austin professor H.W. Brands does justice to one of America’s most underrated presidents . . . Brands is both sympathetic and thorough in his examination of Grant’s life. The Man Who Saved the Union makes clear that Grant did precisely that. The end of the Civil War did not mark the end of the divisions that had so badly weakened the country, and during Reconstruction those divisions threatened to plunge America back into chaos. Brands has provided a valuable service by making clear how much America owes to Ulysses Grant.” —Dallas Morning News

The Murder of Jim Fisk for the Love of Josie Mansfield [American Portraits series] (2011):

“H. W. Brands is a master at finding the essence of an important American life, telling its story grippingly and showing us why it is important to our own generation.” —Michael Beschloss

OTHER BOOKS by H.W. Brands


American Stories: A History of The United States, coauthored textbook (2nd ed. 2011

Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It (2011)

American Dreams: The United States Since 1945 (2010)


American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900 (2010)


America Past and Present coauthored textbook; (9th Edition, 2010)


The Money Men: Capitalism, Democracy, and the Hundred Years' War Over the American Dollar (2006)

Cold Warriors: Eisenhower's Generation and American Foreign Policy (1988)

The Specter of Neutralism: The United States and the Emergence of the Third World, 1947-1960 (1989)

India and the United States: The Cold Peace (1990)

Inside the Cold War: Loy Henderson and the Rise of the American Empire, 1918-1961 (1991)

Bound to Empire: The United States and the Philippines (1992)

The Devil We Knew: Americans and the Cold War (1993)

The United States in the World: A History of American Foreign Policy (1994)

Into the Labyrinth: The United States and the Middle East, 1945-1993 (1994)

The Reckless Decade: America in the 1890s (1995)

Since Vietnam: The United States in World Affairs, 1973-1995 (1995)

The Wages of Globalism: Lyndon Johnson and the Limits of American Power (1995)

TR: The Last Romantic (1997)

What America Owes the World: The Struggle for the Soul of Foreign Policy (1998)

Masters of Enterprise: Giants of American Business from John Jacob Astor and J. P. Morgan to Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey (1999)

The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin (2000)

The Strange Death of American Liberalism (2001)

The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream (2002)

Woodrow Wilson (2003)

Lone Star Nation: The Epic Story of the Battle for Texas Independence (2004)

Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times (2005)


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