Thompson's Book Signing Set for October 25
If you love a good biography you won't want to miss the next book signing by Dr. Jerry Thompson, Regents Professor of History at Texas A&M International University. Dr. Thompson has written many books on the Civil War, and his latest, "Civil War to the Bloody End: The Life and Times of Major General Samuel P. Heintzelman," is one of the largest, at over 400 pages.
The Webb County Heritage Foundation will host a book-signing and reception on Wednesday, October 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Laredo Center for the Arts.
The book is a biography based on the personal writings, papers, and journals of Major General Samuel P. Heintzelman, Thompson said,
"For all of Major General Samuel P. Heintzelman's life from the time he entered West Point until shortly before his death, he kept a daily journal. Only two gaps of two weeks are missing of the journals; when Heintzelman got married and in the beginning of the Civil War when his hand was wounded, so he couldn't write," noted Thompson. He exhaustively reviewed all of Heintzelman's journals, some of which he noted were difficult to read.
"There was also one portion of Heintzelman's journals that I couldn't read during the time he was on a boat from New York to California. It was due to the fact that Heintzelman wrote with a pen on really thin paper which caused the pen ink to bleed through to the other side," explained Thompson, "This was the only part of all his journals that just can't be read."
"Civil War to the Bloody End: The Life and Times of Major General Samuel P. Heintzelman," was started about 15 years ago and finally completed a year ago. A lot of work and research went into this book, including reviewing and transcribing microfilm, researching, and writing. Thompson pored through roles of microfilm at the Library of Congress researching personal letters, personal papers, and daily journals of Heintzelman. Thompson said he feels he now knows Heintzelman, almost to the point of anticipating the general's thoughts.
"I can tell you for most of his life where he was, what he was doing and what he was thinking. My thinking is you can't write about somebody unless you've been where they've been," he said. Thompson credits Heintzelman with the title of the book, as the general, upset that the Southerners wanted to negotiate peace wrote, "no, we have got to fight this Civil War to the bloody end."
Thompson, a past president of the Texas State Historical Association, holds a doctorate from Carnegie-Mellon University. He has received numerous awards from the Texas Historical Commission, Western Writers of America, Texas State Historical Association, Historical Society of New Mexico and the Arizona Historical Society. He is at work on yet another book that will be released next fall.
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