H. W. Brands

Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence
Academic Awards Program

H. W. Brands

Best-selling author and historian H.W. Brands will help honor Oklahoma’s outstanding public school students and educators when he gives the keynote address at the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Academic Awards Banquet Saturday, May 20, at the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel and Convention Center.

Brands is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, where he holds the Jack S. Blanton Sr. Chair in History. He has been described as one of America’s master historians, telling stories with “rollicking narrative and intelligent analysis.” He is the author of more than 25 books, including “Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt” and “The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin,” which were both nominated for Pulitzer Prizes and Los Angeles Times Book Awards. Brands has also written such acclaimed works as “The General and the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War,” “Reagan: The Life,” “The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace,” and “TR: The Last Romantic.” His works have been translated into numerous languages.

For the past four years, Brands has been writing a history of the United States in Haiku form and publishing it on Twitter. He is a regular guest on national television and radio programs, and is frequently interviewed by the American and foreign press. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Smithsonian and many other publications.

A native of Oregon, Brands earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Stanford University and traveled the west for a year as a cutlery salesman for his family business. It was during this time on the road that Brands became a voracious reader of history and became interested in pursuing a career as a historian and writer. He earned master’s degrees in liberal studies and mathematics from Reed College and Portland State University, respectively; and his doctoral degree in history from the University of Texas at Austin. He has worked as an oral historian for the University of Texas Law School and has held teaching positions at Vanderbilt and Texas A&M University.  

The recipient of numerous history and writing honors, Brands serves on the editorial board of “International History Review” and as associate editor of “Presidential Studies Quarterly.”