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History prof has 1st book published; signing Nov. 10

One of Austin Peay State Universitys newest faculty members has published his first book, a significant work that tells Kentuckys story of housing, working and entertaining more than 10,000 German prisoners during World War II.

Dr. Antonio S. Thompson, assistant professor of history and an APSU alumnus, will be available from 5-7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 10 at the Pace Alumni Center at Emerald Hill to sign copies of his first published work, titled German Jackboots on Kentucky Bluegrass: Housing German Prisoners of War in Kentucky, 1942-46 and published by Diversion Press. One of Austin Peay State University's newest faculty members has published his first book, a significant work that tells Kentucky's story of housing, working and entertaining more than 10,000 German prisoners during World War II.

Dr. Antonio S. Thompson, assistant professor of history and an APSU alumnus, will be available from 5-7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 10 at the Pace Alumni Center at Emerald Hill to sign copies of his first published work, titled “German Jackboots on Kentucky Bluegrass: Housing German Prisoners of War in Kentucky, 1942-46” and published by Diversion Press.

The book signing is sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations at APSU. Books will be available for purchase by check or cash only. Cost will be $20 at the signing, $15 for APSU students who present their college I.D.s.

Thompson's new book presents a case of American humanitarianism, adherence to international law, Southern hospitality and friendship and mutual respect between “enemies” in a brutal and bitter war. This academic work provides the first book-length look at the housing of German prisoners of war in Kentucky during World War II. It tackles the mysterious murals painted by prisoners at Camp Breckinridge, the Afrika Korps symbols left on chimneys at Fort Knox and the issues of Nazi versus anti-Nazi at Camp Campbell, now Fort Campbell.

“I believe that the treatment we gave to Axis prisoners in World War II is one of the greatest, and little known, stories of American history,” Thompson said. “It was a brutal and bitter war rife with atrocities, and yet the United States surmounted all difficulties to create the largest and most successful prisoner of war program in its history. We treated the prisoners the way we would want to be treated.

“American efforts in that regard during World War II set an example at the time that should be considered the international standard.”

The topic for his book stemmed from his graduate studies. For his thesis, titled “German Prisoners of War From World War II in America With a Focus on Kentucky and Tennessee,” he wrote about the American treatment of prisoners of war and how all prisoners of war during World War II were treated.

Thompson continued exploration of the topic with his dissertation, titled “Men in German Uniform: German Prisoners of War Held in the United States During World War II.” It was nominated for the Fritz Stern Prize awarded for works on German history and on the history of Germans in North America. He has revised his dissertation, now being considered for publication as his second book.

Currently, he is working on getting a journal-length article on the Vietnam War published and finishing two other articles, one on World War II and the other on U.S. foreign policy and American popular perceptions of it.

A native of Trigg County, Ky., Thompson came to APSU after having been an adjunct instructor at Midway College, where he taught various history and government courses. He also has taught history at Northern Kentucky University, Murray State University and Indiana University Southeast. He is a member of Phi Alpha Theta history honor society, Sigma Tau Delta English honor society and the History Graduate Student Association. He received his Ph. D. in history from the University of Kentucky, Master of Arts in history from Western Kentucky University, Bachelor of Arts in history from APSU and an Associate of Science in core curriculum from Hopkinsville (Ky.) Community College.

For more information about the book or the book signing, contact Thompson by telephone at (931) 221-7932 or by e-mail at thompsonas@apsu.edu. -- Melony Shemberger