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Add TAMIU Authors to Your Summer Book List Posted: 6/29/17

Add TAMIU Authors to Your Summer Book List


Jerry D. Thompson
TAMIU Regents Professor of History Dr. Jerry D. Thompson  

Summer is officially here and Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) has book suggestions to add to your summer reading list. These works will entertain and enlighten readers and perhaps give a nudge to starting or continuing your education this Fall.

Prolific author and TAMIU Regents Professor of History Dr. Jerry D. Thompson recently published “Tejano Tiger: José de los Santos Benavides and the Texas-México Borderlands, 1823-1891” (Texas Christian University Press).

“I have been working for many years on a biography of José de los Santos Benavides, one of the leading 19th Century Laredoans who was very instrumental in influencing the history of the middle border. I had done pieces of this through the years and finally got around to putting this all together and I was fortunate that TCU published it,” said Dr. Thompson.

TCU Press not only published it, they also nominated “Tejano Tiger” for a Pulitzer Prize.

“Tejano Tiger” chronicles the life of Benavides, who in 1879, at the pinnacle of his political career, was the only Tejano in the Texas Legislature.

From the publisher: “Through strife, sweat, blood, and heroism in defense of the border, Benavides rose to economic and political heights few could dream of. As a friend and confidant of two Mexican presidents, he was one of the single most influential individuals in the 19th Century history of the border. His life was one of enduring perseverance as well as binational leadership and skilled diplomacy. He was without doubt the single most important individual in the long and often violent history of Laredo. The niche he carved in the tumultuous transnational history of the Texas-Mexico borderlands seems secure.”

Thompson has received the prestigious Pate Award twice—in 2016 for “A Civil War History of the New Mexico Volunteers and Militia” (University of New Mexico Press) and in 2006 for “Civil War and Revolution on the Rio Grande Frontier.” He is regarded as one of the country’s leading Civil War historians, especially regarding the Southwest Campaign. He is one of only a handful of writers to twice receive the Texas Institute of Letters Best Non-Fiction Award and he’s the only two-time recipient of the Tejano Book Award.

Thompson is the author or editor of more than 24 books, including “Texas and New Mexico on the Eve of the Civil War: The Mansfield and Johnston Inspections, 1859–1861” (UNM Press).

Among other publications are “Civil War in the Southwest, A Wild and Vivid Land: An Illustrated History of the South Texas Border,” “Fifty Miles and a Fight: Samuel Peter Heintzelman's Journal of Texas and the Cortina War,” and “Into the Far, Wild Country: True Tales of the Old Southwest.”

He has also authored an award-winning biography of Juan Nepomuceno Cortina and, with Larry Jones, a history of the Civil War on the Rio Grande.

Thompson has been part of the TAMIU faculty since 1987, but his enthusiasm for history and teaching has not faded. Two of Thompson’s former students have seen their work published as well and credit Thompson as an influence.

One of Thompson’s former students, Dr. Lola Orellano Norris, TAMIU assistant professor of Spanish and Translation, published “General Alonso de León’s Expeditions into Texas, 1686-1690” (Texas A&M University Press). Dr. Orellano Norris’s first book focuses on Spanish Texas history. She transcribed, translated and analyzed 16 manuscript copies of Alonso de León’s 300-year-old handwritten Spanish colonial manuscripts.

TAMIU Assistant Professor of Spanish and Translation Dr. Lola Orellano Norris with her new book

TAMIU Assistant Professor of Spanish and Translation Dr. Lola Orellano Norris with her new book

“The general was charged with keeping very detailed accounts with daily entries that contained the direction in which they traveled and approximate distances marched. He included geographical features, descriptions of flora and fauna, as well as commentary about their encounters with different indigenous peoples. Some of the entries are terse, but most of them offer fascinating observations on the region that would later become Texas,” she said.

Rounding up the Texas history theme is “Women in Civil War Texas: diversity and dissidence in the Trans-Mississippi” edited by Angela Boswell and Debbie M. Liles (University of North Texas Press). The book takes a look at the unique experiences of Texas women during the Civil War. Several contributors explore how Texas women coped with their husbands’ wartime absences, the importance of letter-writing, and how pro-Union sentiment caused serious difficulties for women.

This book is noteworthy in this case because of one of the contributors, Elizabeth S. Mata, TAMIU assessment specialist, is a former student of Thompson’s. Mata’s chapter, “Mexican-Texan Women in the Civil War,” chronicles the lives of the many Mexican-Texan women who were caught in the conflict.

Elizabeth Mata

Elizabeth Mata

“The effects of the struggle, both political and psychological, could be felt in South Texas well into the next century,” Mata wrote.

Women operated businesses and shops, took on civic roles, worked long hours, sewed uniforms and faced racism, hunger and loneliness while living with the threat of Lipan Apache and Comanche Indian raids.

Mata received her BA in history and her MA in History and Political Thought from TAMIU.

All books are available at the TAMIU Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library (KL) and from online booksellers.

For more information, contact the TAMIU Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at or 326.2180 or visit offices in Killam Library 268.