A new book about El Paso artist Tom Lea titled The Two Thousand Yard Stare: Tom Lea's World War II (Texas A&M University Press, 2008) has just been released and was featured at the Texas Book Festival on November 1. When the U.S. sent troops to Europe, Life magazine commissioned Lea to paint images from the war that would illustrate U.S. and Allied troops' perspective. According to TAMU Press, "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."
Author Brendan M. Greeley Jr. collected numerous diary entries, letters, sketches, and paintings by Lea from the war years and put them in context to tell the story of Lea's experience of WWII. Chair of the Adair Margo, who was Lea's agent and friend for many years, moderated a discussion about the book at the Texas Book Festival on November 1. Margo chairs the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and sits on the board of Humanities Texas.