Posted: 6/24/21

TAMIU’s Thompson Earns Distinguished Writing Award Nod by Army Historical Foundation


Dr. Jerry Thompson
Dr. Jerry Thompson  

Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) Regents and Piper Professor of History Dr. Jerry Thompson has been named the recipient of the 2020 Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award.

Thompson was honored under the Book Awards – Biography category for his recent work, “Courage Above All Things: General John Ellis Wool and the U.S. Military, 1812 – 1863,” which was co-authored alongside Professor of History at the University of Arizona Dr. Harwood P. Hinton.  

The biography meticulously details the extraordinary life of General John Ellis Wool. Half a century was devoted to the creation, research, and publication of this formative biographical work. The deeply researched work couples Hinton’s vast knowledge of western history and was edited and completed by Thompson.

This seminal work is the first full biography of Wool, an eminent figure known for his role as an officer in the United States Army during the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War and the Civil War. He remains a central character in various moments throughout U.S. history, and Wool is  especially remembered for his roles in the Cherokee Removal, as well as the battles with Native Americans along the West Coast.

This was Thompson’s 30th published book as author or editor.

In addition to receiving a plaque honoring their publication, book award winners receive a $1,000 cash award. 

Awarded through the Army Historical Foundation, the non-profit organization focuses on preserving the history and heritage of the American soldier, as well as bringing a greater appreciation for contributions made by the U.S. Army’s Regular, Reserve and National Guard.

Initially established in 1997, the Army Historical Foundation’s Distinguished Writing Awards program acknowledges the ongoing contributions made to literature focused on the history of the U.S. Army. Every year, nominations are made to the Foundation and submitted to an awards committee made up of publishers and journal editors.

Thompson, who has been part of the TAMIU faculty since 1987, is widely considered 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 receive the Texas Institute of Letters Best Non-Fiction Award three times. He is also the only three-time recipient of the Clotilde P. García Tejano Book Prize.

His published work includes titles such as, “Texas and New Mexico on the Eve of the Civil War: The Mansfield and Johnston Inspections, 1859–1861” (UNM Press), “Wrecked Lives and Lost Souls: Joe Lynch Davis and the Last of the Oklahoma Outlaws,” (University of Oklahoma Press, 2019).

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.”

Thompson is the recipient of the Texas State Historical Association’s 2018 Kate Broocks Bates Award for Historical Research for his Pulitzer-Prize nominated publication, “Tejano Tiger: José de los Santos Benavides and the Texas-México Borderlands, 1823-1891” (Texas Christian University Press).  

He 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.”

For more information, contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu or 326.2180 or visit offices in Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, suite 268.