Brandt is a veteran journalist who began his career with CBS News
as a senior newswriter before turning to print journalism. He was
a reporter on several newspapers in Connecticut and New Jersey
before joining The New York Times as an editor, working primarily
on the National News Desk. He was subsequently Managing Editor
of American Heritage magazine and Editor-in-Chief of Publishers
Weekly. He is a past president of the nation’s oldest journalists’ organization,
the Society of the Silurians.
Brandt has also had an active career in television. Since CBS,
he has freelanced during election coverage for ABC News and was
for CBS’s bicentennial minutes. He was the co-creator and head
of research for the PBS television series The Crucible of the
which has won five awards for excellence.
A native of New York City, Brandt majored in history at the University
of Rochester in upstate New York and was a member of the history
honor society, the Morey Club. He has written many articles dealing
with American history—among them, stories about Andersonville,
Sergeant York, the Blizzard of 188 and the Pledge of Allegiance.
He has been a freelance author since 1980, and has taught as an
adjunct professor of journalism in the Graduate School of Arts
at New York University and at St. John’s University in Queens,
New York. His book How Free Are We? What the Constitution Says
We Can and Cannot Do was co-authored with the dean of the
N.Y.U. Law School. Another book, The Man Who Tried to Burn
the Confederate plot to burn New York City in 1864—won the
1987 Douglas Southall Freeman History Award. In 1993, he was Journalist-in-Residence
at the Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio, taught a course in magazine
writing at The Ohio State University, and was a consultant for
Brandt’s other books include Mr. Tubbs, Civil War, based on
a private collection of letters from Union soldiers; Harlem
at War: The Black Experience in WWII; The Town That Started
the Civil War,
about the rescue of a slave in Oberlin, Ohio and a Book-of-the-Month
Club and History Book Club selection; The Congressman Who Got
Away with Murder, which dealt with the Dan Sickles murder trial of 1859
and is currently under option to a motion-picture company; Massacre
in Shansi, the story of eighteen Oberlin College missionaries who
died during the Boxer Rebellion in China; Con Brio: Four Russians
Called the Budapest String Quartet; When Oberlin was King
of the Gridiron: The Heisman Years; and Chicago Death
Trap: The Iroquois Theater Fire of 1903.
Brandt has lectured on the East and West Coasts on Civil War
subjects, and at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. on
both the Civil
War and Harlem during World War II.
Besides donating his research papers dealing with the three Oberlin
College works to that school’s Archives, those from Con
Brio were sent to the Music Division of the Library of Congress in Washington,
D.C. He intends to give his papers from the Chicago Death Trap to
the Theatre Historical Society of America in Elmhurst, Illinois.
The research materials of the remaining books have been sent to the
Rush Rhees Library at the University in Rochester, New York.
Brandt was born on May 24, 1929. He was married to Yanna Kroyt
on April 5, 1955.