Taylor Branch Biography, Career, Books and Honors

Taylor Branch Biography

Taylor Branch is an American author and public speaker best known for his landmark narrative history of the civil rights era, America in the King Years. The trilogy’s first book, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63, won the Pulitzer Prize and numerous other awards in 1989.


Two successive volumes also gained critical and popular success: Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-65, and At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-1968. Decades later, all three books remain in demand. Some reviewers have compared the King-era trilogy, which required more than twenty-four years of intensive research, with epic histories such as Shelby Foote’s The Civil War and Robert Caro’s multi-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson.

Taylor Branch Age

Taylor Branch was born on January 14, 1947, He is 72 years as of 2019

Taylor Branch Wife

Christina Macy is married to Taylor Branch

Taylor Branch Children

They have two children Macy born 1980 and Franklin born 1983.

Taylor Branch Early life and education

Branch graduated from The Westminster Schools in Atlanta in 1964. From there, he went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a Morehead Scholarship. He graduated in 1968 and went on to earn an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in 1970.

He was a lecturer in politics and history at Goucher College from 1998 to 2000.

Taylor Branch Career

Branch served as an assistant editor at The Washington Monthly from 1970 to 1973; he was Washington editor of Harper’s from 1973 to 1976; and he was Washington columnist for Esquire Magazine from 1976 to 1977. He also has written for a variety of other publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Sport, The New Republic, and Texas Monthly.

In 1972, Branch worked for the Texas campaign of Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern. Branch shared an apartment in Austin with Bill Clinton, and the two developed a friendship that continues today. He also worked with Hillary Rodham, Bill’s then-girlfriend and Yale Law School classmate, and later Clinton’s wife.

Branch’s book on former president Bill Clinton, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History With The President, was written from many tape-recorded interviews and conversations between the two, most of which occurred in the White House during Clinton’s two terms in office and which were not disclosed publicly until 2009 at the time of the book’s publication.

Taylor Branch received a five-year MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (also known as a “genius grant”) in 1991 and the National Humanities Medal in 1999. In 2008, he received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize’s Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to him by special guest Edwin C. Moses.

In 2013, he co-produced Schooled: The Price of College Sports based on his 2011 book The Cartel.

in 2015, he received the BIO Award from Biographers International Organization, for his contributions to the art and craft of biography.

Taylor Branch

Taylor Branch Books

  • The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Cartel: Inside the Rise and Imminent Fall of the NCAA
  • The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President
  • At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68
  • Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-65 (1998)
  • Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63 (1988)
  • Labyrinth (With Eugene M. Propper) (Viking: 1982)
  • The Empire Blues (fiction) (Simon & Schuster: 1981)
  • Second Wind (With Bill Russell) (Random House: 1979)
  • Blind Ambition (ghostwriter for John Dean) (Simon & Schuster: 1976)
  • Blowing the Whistle: Dissent in the Public Interest (With Charles Peters) (Praeger: 1972)

Taylor Branch Honors

  • John S. Guggenheim Fellowship, 1983
  • John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship, 1991
  • National Humanities Medal, 1999
  • Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, Lifetime Achievement, 2007
  • Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Lifetime Achievement, 2008
  • Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, 2015
  • U.S. National Archives Records of Achievement Award, 2015
  • Biographers International Organization BIO Award, 2015

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About Taylor Branch

Taylor Branch is the bestselling author of Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63 (which won the Pulitzer Prize), Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-65, and At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-1968. The author of two other nonfiction books and a novel, Branch is a former staff member of The Washington Monthly, Harper’s, and Esquire. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.