Temple College professor Michael Donahue will discuss his latest book on Gen. George A. Custer Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 12:30 p.m. in the Jackson-Graeter Backstage Theatre. The event is free and open to the public.
Donahue has written two books on Custer. His most recent is Where the Rivers Ran Red: The Indian Fights of George A. Custer, which was published in 2018. Donahue has received several awards for the book.
While Custer is best known for the Battle of Little Bighorn, which took place in 1876, Donahue says he actually fought three other battles with the Indians before that one. Where the Rivers Ran Red is the first to detail all four battles.
Donahue was in a unique position to write the book because he spent the past 30 summers working as a park ranger/historian at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Montana. This provided him with access to the park’s archives and library – something most writers don’t have.
The book includes previously unpublished archaeological evidence that Donahue was given by archaeologists who have done digs at the Little Bighorn Battlefield. Donahue himself participated in two of the 10 digs done at the site.
The book also includes eight previously unpublished photos. “Most books always use the same photos,” Donahue says. “I was able to collect the unpublished photos from different people over the years.”
Donahue used his artistic skills to draw 23 original maps for the book and paint the picture that appears on the cover of the book. The painting, titled “Custer’s Last Stand – Where in the Hell is Benteen?” is a composite of 30 different images from the battle and is all historically accurate – including the landscape and uniforms. The painting features Custer looking for his captain, Frederick William Benteen, who was four miles away at the time of the battle.
The Oct. 22 lecture is part of the Temple College Humanities Series. A light lunch will be offered, and copies of the book will be available for purchase. Part of the proceeds from book sales will support scholarships for visual arts students at Temple College.
The Backstage Theatre is located in the Mary Alice Marshall Performing Arts Center on the Temple College campus in Temple. For more information on this and other upcoming events sponsored by the Temple College Fine Arts Division, call 254-298-8555 or visit www.templejc.edu.