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Winston  Groom

Winston Groom

Best-Selling Author of Forrest Gump


“If you see a line, go stand in it, probably can’t hurt nothing” is a sample of the pithy wisdom of Forrest Gump by Gump’s creator, Winston Groom. Winston Groom took the publishing world by storm when his 1986 novel Forrest Gump flew to the top of the New York Times bestseller list and stayed there for 21 weeks. It has sold over 3 million copies in the United States alone, and millions more worldwide, on the heels of its blockbuster movie adaptation starring Tom Hanks. The book has also been reprinted in at least thirteen countries. Read More >

Born in 1943, Groom grew up in Mobile, Alabama, where he attended University Military School prep. In 1965 he graduated from the University of Alabama with an AB in English and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. He served in Vietnam with the Fourth Infantry Division from July 1966 to September 1967 when he was honorably discharged with the rank of Captain. He then spent the next eight years working as a reporter and columnist for the Washington Star before becoming a full-time author. He holds several honorary Ph.D. degrees as a “Doctor of Humane Letters.”

Groom is the author of eighteen books. In addition to Forrest Gump and Gump & Co., Groom’s novels include Better Times Than These, Gone the Sun, Only and the award-winning As Summers Die, which was made into a movie starring Bette Davis. He is also the author of Conversations with the Enemy, a non-fiction account of the experience of an American prisoner of war in Vietnam, a brilliantly rendered Pulitzer Prize finalist. His novel Such a Pretty, Pretty Girl, was published by Random House in the spring of 1999. He has also written The Crimson Tide: An Illustrated History of Football at the University of Alabama.

 As well as being a talented novelist, Groom is also a renowned author of history. One of his books, the prize-winning Shrouds of Glory, published by Grove-Atlantic Press, is “a meticulous, atmospheric history of the little known, but very dramatic, Western Campaign of the Civil War.” inspired by tales of his great-grandfather who fought for the Confederate Army. His critically acclaimed A Storm in Flanders, a World War I history, was published by Grove-Atlantic in June of 2002. His World War II history book, 1942: The Year That Tried Men’s Souls, was published by Grove in the spring of 2005. Patriotic Fire, his history of Andrew Jackson and Jean Lafitte at the Battle of New Orleans was published by Knopf in 2006 to widespread critical accolades. That same year he was the recipient of the University of Alabama’s coveted Clarence Cason Award for excellence in Journalism. In 2009 his Civil War history Vicksburg: 1863, was published by Knopf, again to widespread accolades, several comparing him with renowned historians Shelby Foote and Bruce Catton. Also that year he was inducted into the University of Alabama College of Communications Hall of Fame.

He is the recipient of the Harper Lee Award for literature, the Heartland Award, and the Southern Library award for fiction. Of his most recent works: Kearny’s March--the Epic Conquest of the American West was published in November by Knopf. In February, 2012, Vintage, a division of Random House, published the 25th Anniversary edition of Forrest Gump. In March, 2012, Regnery published Ronald Reagan, Our 40th President, aimed at the young adult market, and in April, 2012, National Geographic Press published Groom’s epic Civil War battle history, Shiloh 1862.

The Aviators, Groom’s book about three great heroes of the American twentieth century: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, and Charles Lindbergh was published to great acclaim in 2013 by the Geographic and his latest work The Generals: Douglas MacArthur, George Patton and George Marshall and the Crucible of War will be published in October, 2015. 

Groom has written for numerous magazines, including Smithsonian, Southern Living, Conde Nast Traveler, Newsweek, Esquire, Sports Afield, Wooden Boat, Architectural Digest, Garden & Gun, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times Magazine, as well as op-ed pieces in the New York Times and the Washington Post.

In high demand on the lecture circuit, Winston Groom discusses both his novel sensations and his history books. He believes, as “Forrest” says, "Always be able to look back and say, ‘At least, I didn't lead no humdrum life.’” Read Less ^

Speech Topics

The Wit & Wisdom of Winston Groom

Southern Hospitality: Lifestyle & Writing in the South

My Journey from the American South to Vietnam and Back