Desjardin, Thomas A. 1964-

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DESJARDIN, Thomas A. 1964-
(Thomas Desjardin, Tom Desjardin)

PERSONAL:

Born 1964, in ME. Education: Florida State University, B.A., M.A.; University of Maine, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of Conservation, 22 State House Station, August, ME 04967. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer and historian. National Park Service, Gettysburg, PA, former interpreter and archivist; Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, Augusta, historic site specialist; Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME, adjunct assistant professor. Has also worked as a television commentator on Civil War topics.

WRITINGS:

NONFICTION

Stand Firm Ye Boys from Maine: The 20th Maine and the Gettysburg Campaign, Thomas Publications (Gettysburg, PA), 1995.

These Honored Dead: How the Story of Gettysburg Shaped American Memory, Da Capo Press (Cambridge, MA), 2003.

Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnold's March to Quebec, 1775, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Also cartographer, developer, and producer of field maps of the Battle of Gettysburg for the Friends of National Parks, 1998.

SIDELIGHTS:

As a historian, Thomas A. Desjardin has held positions at the National Park Service in Gettysburg and the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. His writings have focused on major historical events such as the American Revolution and the Civil War. His first book, Stand Firm Ye Boys from Maine: The 20th Maine and the Gettysburg Campaign, recounts the three-day Battle of Gettysburg through the eyes of the men in the 20th Maine regiment. These soldiers were noted for their outstanding bravery during the campaign, which many remember as the most important battle of the Civil War. Leonne M. Hudson, reviewing the book in the Historian, felt that Desjardin's "use of anecdotal material combined with his penchant to allow the volunteers to speak for themselves gives this monograph a human quality." Hudson called the book "a splendid regimental history" that is "thoroughly researched," concluding that Stand Firm Ye Boys from Maine "should take its place among the best unit histories on the Battle of Gettysburg."

Desjardin followed Stand Firm Ye Boys from Maine with These Honored Dead: How the Story of Gettysburg Shaped American Memory. In the book, Desjardin attempts to separate fact from fiction regarding the stories surrounding the Battle of Gettysburg. The author explains how popular myths came into being and why they have lasted over the years. Many critics praised the work. Robert Flatley, writing in Library Journal, felt that Desjardin's analysis is "well researched and enjoyable to read." Additionally, Booklist reviewer Jay Freeman called the book "intriguing" and acknowledged that the author "skillfully illustrates how hazy memories of the fog of battle are gradually codified into accepted fact."

Desjardin next published Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnold's March to Quebec, 1775. The book details Benedict Arnold's unsuccessful invasion of Quebec during the American Revolutionary War. Arnold led an army of Continental soldiers through the unsettled wilderness of Maine to capture the outpost which was, at that time, occupied by the British. The book elicited mixed reviews. "Desjardin provides a good summary of the campaign's impact on the American Revolution in general," commented Matthew J. Wayman in the Library Journal. A Publishers Weekly reviewer felt differently, claiming that "Desjardin's account is able, though at times melodramatic … and cute." However, Roland Green, writing in Booklist, predicted that the book is "likely to be the standard history of the campaign for some time to come."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, December 1, 2003, Jay Freeman, review of These Honored Dead: How the Story of Gettysburg Shaped American Memory, p. 636; December 15, 2005, Roland Green, review of Through a Howling Wilderness: Benedict Arnold's March to Quebec, 1775, p. 14.

Historian, winter, 2002, Leonne M. Hudson, review of Stand Firm Ye Boys from Maine: The 20th Maine and the Gettysburg Campaign, p. 447.

Library Journal, December, 2003, Robert Flatley, review of These Honored Dead, p. 136; December 1, 2005, Matthew J. Wayman, review of Through a Howling Wilderness, p. 144.

Publishers Weekly, November 14, 2005, review of Through a Howling Wilderness, p. 59.

ONLINE

Greystone History,http://www.greystonehistory.com/ (June 15, 2006), brief author biography.