The Two Thousand Yard Stare
Tom Lea’s World War II
Military History - World War II
11 x 12, 256 pp.
78 b&w photos., 66 color plates.
Pub Date: 10/27/2008
Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series
  cloth
Price:        $40.00

978-1-60344-008-0

Published by Texas A&M University Press

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2009 Carr P. Collins Book Award, presented by the Texas Institute of Letters

The Two Thousand Yard Stare

Tom Lea’s World War II

By Tom Lea
Edited by Brendan M. Greeley Jr.
Foreword by Adair Margo

Few artists saw World War II from as many perspectives as El Paso artist and writer Tom Lea. Commissioned by Life magazine to paint the war as it was being experienced by U.S. and Allied troops, Lea went aboard a Navy destroyer in the North Atlantic to cover the fight against the German U-boats in late 1941; was on the carrier Hornet days before its sinking during the desperate air and sea battles off Guadalcanal in 1942; recorded the struggles of Army Air Forces transport, fighter, and bomber crews in England, North Africa, and China in 1943; and hit the bloody beaches at Peleliu with the assault waves of the 7th Marines in 1944. He was preparing to join forces poised to invade the home islands when the Japanese surrendered in 1945.

In The Two Thousand Yard Stare, Brendan M. Greeley Jr. has collected virtually all of Tom Lea’s firsthand written accounts of his assignments for Life, including a previously unpublished diary and letters to fellow Texas writer J. Frank Dobie, along with Lea’s powerful sketches and unforgettable paintings. Greeley places them in context, along with photographs and informative details on the people, places, and wartime events encountered by Tom Lea.

Thoroughly documented and filled with telling illustrations, this book will leave a stunning impression on those interested in the realistic depiction of war, in both images and words. Also a must-read for students, scholars, and collectors of Tom Lea’s work, The Two Thousand Yard Stare brilliantly captures the artistic skills and spirit of one of America’s most compelling painters and writers.

Best known as a painter and novelist of the Southwest, TOM LEA spent most of his nine decades in El Paso. His art has hung in the Oval Office of the White House, as well as the Pentagon.

BRENDAN M. GREELEY JR., a retired Marine Corps aviator who lives in Annapolis, Maryland, has written and edited for the U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings and Naval History magazines.

ADAIR MARGO, whose great-grandfather baptized Tom Lea when he was eight years old, served as Lea’s agent and close confidante in his later years. She currently chairs the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

What Readers Are Saying:

“Lea’s stories and paintings are compelling…This is an exceptional book.”--Ron Tyler, Director, Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas

"A delightful coffee-table book has just come off the presses. . . brilliantly displays Tom Lea's paintings from this period and intersperses the artwork with personal photographs that enhance their impact."

". . . one of the most extraordinary things about the book is that it shows not only military action but also the character of those involved. . . Tom Lea will not go away. . . This magnificent book is a huge contribution to World War II history."

"What and whom he saw is beautifully presented in The Two Thousand Yard Stare edited by Brendan M. Greeley, Jr. . . If you have an interest in the great war or Tom Lea, a man who has been largely forgotten by the public, get a copy of The Two Thousand Yard Stare."

". . . of value for anyone interested in the personal experience of war."

“Lea’s stories and paintings are compelling…This is an exceptional book.” --Ron Tyler, Director, Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas

“Powerful sketches and unforgettable paintings . . . . Thoroughly documented and filled with telling illustrations, this book will leave a stunning impression on those interested in the realistic depiction of war, in both images and words. Also a must-read for students, scholars, and collectors of Tom Lea’s work, The Two Thousand Yard Stare brilliantly captures the artistic skills and spirit of one of America’s most compelling painters and writers.” --The Glenwood Gazette

“An unsung genius of our time, a man who made it purely on the quality of his work . . . . This magnificent book is a huge contribution to World War II history.” --El Paso Times

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