T. J. Stiles is the author of The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt and Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War. On October 27, 2015, Alfred A. Knopf will publish his next book, Custer's Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America.
The First Tycoon won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Biography and the 2009 National Book Award for Nonfiction. It was named a New York Times Notable Book and one of the best books of the year by The New Yorker, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, San Francisco Chronicle, Kansas City Star, and the Washington Post.
Jesse James won the Ambassador Book Award and the Peter Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship. It was named a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Biography and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.
Both are available in paperback and as e-books from Vintage. The First Tycoon is also available as a hardcover from Knopf.
T. J. Stiles wrote his forthcoming biography of George Armstrong Custer with the support of a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He is a past Gilder Lehrman Fellow in American History at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, an elected member of the Society of American Historians, and a past faculty member for the World Economic Forum. He also holds a fifth-degree black belt from the Japan Karate Association, and teaches in San Francisco. A native of rural Minnesota, he lived in New York for twenty years, and now resides in Berkeley, California, with his wife and two children.
The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE AND NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
Of all the industrialists and financial figures of American history, Vanderbilt may well be the most important. Yet, unlike Jay Gould, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, and Andrew Carnegie, the Commodore has never received a full and authoritative biography. The First Tycoon weaves some six years of intensive research in previously untapped archives into a fast-paced story of a man and the nation rising together. Ranging from his humble birth on Staten Island during the presidency of George Washington through the days of John D. Rockefeller (with whom Vanderbilt made deals), The First Tycoon recounts Vanderbilt's rise from sailboat ferryman to steamboat entrepreneur, from master of transoceanic steamship lines to builder of a railroad empire. Along the way, Stiles describes Vanderbilt's personal adventures in the Nicaraguan jungle, his epic campaigns on Wall Street, and the intrigue that divided his family. Most important, Stiles shows how Vanderbilt helped to shape American thinking about equality and opportunity and create the modern economic world.
Custer's Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New AmericaNovember 3, 2015
Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War2002
Awards and Recognition
- 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Biography (for The First Tycoon)
- 2009 National Book Award for Nonfiction (for The First Tycoon)
- 2014 Faculty, World Economic Forum
- 2011 Guggenheim fellowship
- 2004 Gilder Lehrman Fellowship in American History, Center for Scholars and Writers, New York Public Library
- 2003 Peter Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship, for Jesse James
- 2003 finalist, Los Angeles Times Book Prize, for Jesse James
- Member, Society of American Historians