We interrupt the "new discoveries" series of posts to relay this breaking story:
' T.J. Stiles of Berkeley has won the Pulitzer Prize in history for “Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America.”It’s Stiles’ second Pulitzer; he won the award in 2010 for his biography “The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt.” That book, also published by Alfred A. Knopf, won the National Book Award in 2009. In their citation, Pulitzer jurors described “Custer’s Trials” as “a rich and surprising new telling of the journey of the iconic American soldier whose death turns out not to have been the main point of his life.” The jurors added, “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 volatile, contradictory, intense person — capable yet insecure, intelligent yet bigoted, passionate yet self-destructive, a romantic individualist at odds with the institution of the military (he was court-martialed twice in six years).” ' -- SFGate
Would it be churlish to point out that this -- a more complete picture of Custer -- is one of the aspects of Michigan at Antietam that its co-authors sought to bring to light? (Indeed, it is part of the story in the predecessor Michigan and the Civil War.) So it is gratifying to find that the Pulitzer jurors have, unknowingly, validated a major premise of both books, that the people from Michigan who participated in the Civil War era such as Custer have either had their stories overlooked, in the main, or (as in his case) skewed by 'scholarship'. It was the co-authors' purpose to ensure such a legacy is no longer ignored, and that historical caricatures are demolished.
History is still being written to tell the story better ...