An Evening With S.C. Gwynne and Stephen Harrigan

Oct 16, 2019

Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019
LBJ Auditorium
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On Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, best-selling Texas authors S.C. Gwynne and Stephen Harrigan joined us to speak about their latest books. For Gwynne, it was his upcoming release, Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War, and for Harrigan, Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas. The conversation was moderated by author Elizabeth Crook.

About our Participants:

Elizabeth Crook is the author of five historical novels, including Monday, Monday, which received the Jesse H. Jones Award from The Texas Institute of Letters and was named a Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Book of 2014, and The Which Way Tree, currently under option for film. Elizabeth has written for The Southwestern Historical Quarterly and Texas Monthly and is co-writer, with Stephen Harrigan, of the screenplay for The Which Way Tree.

S.C. "Sam" Gwynne is the author of two acclaimed books on American history: Empire of the Summer Moon, which spent 82 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson, also a New York Times best-seller and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pen Literary Award for Biography.

Stephen Harrigan has devoted much of his life to exploring and explaining Texas, ever since his family crossed the Red River from Oklahoma in 1953. He is the author of numerous works of nonfiction and fiction, including the critically acclaimed novels A Friend of Mr. Lincoln, Remember Ben Clayton, and the New York Times best-seller The Gates of the Alamo. He is a longtime writer for Texas Monthly and an award-winning screenwriter who has written many movies for television.

About the Books:

Big Wonderful Thing invites us to walk in the footsteps of ancient as well as modern people along the path of Texas' evolution. Blending action and atmosphere with impeccable research, Stephen Harrigan brings to life with novelistic immediacy the generations of driven men and women who shaped Texas, including Spanish explorers, American filibusters, Comanche warriors, wildcatters, Tejano activists, and spellbinding artists—all of them taking their part in the creation of a place that became not just a nation, not just a state, but an indelible idea.

The fourth and final year of the Civil War offers one of that era's most compelling narratives, defining the nation and one of history's great turning points. Now, S.C. Gwynne's Hymns of the Republic addresses the time Ulysses S. Grant arrives to take command of all Union armies in March 1864 to the surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomattox a year later. Gwynne breathes new life into the epic battle between Lee and Grant; the advent of 180,000 black soldiers in the Union army; William Tecumseh Sherman's March to the Sea; the rise of Clara Barton; the election of 1864 (which Lincoln nearly lost); the wild and violent guerrilla war in Missouri; and the dramatic final events of the war, including the surrender at Appomattox and the murder of Abraham Lincoln.

The Evening With speaker series is generously sponsored by St. David's HealthCare and the Moody Foundation.


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Sarah McCracken
Director of Public Programs
LBJ Presidential Library
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LBJ Presidential Library
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