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Earl J. Hess

Earl J. Hess grew up on a farm in Missouri and developed a deep interest in Civil War history. He got his Ph.D. in history and American studies at Purdue University, and most of his teaching career has been at Lincoln Memorial University, an independent Appalachian college in Harrogate, Tennessee. Researching and writing is a passion of his; Hess has written or edited twenty-eight books on Civil War history. One of them, Civil War Infantry Tactics: Training, Combat, and Small-Unit Effectiveness (Louisiana State University Press, 2015), received the Tom Watson Brown Book Award from the Society of Civil War Historians. In addition to this Civil War work, Hess and his wife, Pratibha Dabholkar, have worked in the area of film history. They wrote two books on Gene Kelly films (Singin’ in the Rain: The Making of an American Masterpiece, University Press of Kansas, 2009, and The Cinematic Voyage of the Pirate: Kelly, Garland, and Minnelli at Work, University of Missouri Press, 2014), plus a deep biography of the man most responsible for making these two iconic films, Gene Kelly: The Making of a Creative Legend, (University Press of Kansas, 2020). Exploring the history of cinema and of dance on film has been a delightful diversion from studying war for Hess.

Ten Things I Can’t Do Without

  1. The love and support of my wife
  2. The right kind of books
  3. Primary sources, all I can get
  4. Peace
  5. Enough thoughtful and caring people to make the world safe to live in
  6. Something sweet to eat now and then
  7. Morning tea and bagels
  8. Trees
  9. In fact, lots of growing things
  10. More sweet things to eat

Earl J. Hess's contributions: