Author Historian Collector
TALES FOR THE TELLING (2006)
This audio book consists of six short stories about the Civil War, all fictional but each with a basis is fact. Read by the author on three CDs, with musical interludes provided by musician Bill Coleman and introduction by Carla Coleman.
Flames After Midnight: Murder, Vengeance, and the Desolation of a Texas Community (University of Texas Press 1999, 286 pages)
What happened in Kirven, Texas, in May 1922, has been forgotten by the outside world. It was a coworker's whispered words, "Kirven is where they burned the [Negroes]," that set Monte Akers to work at discovering the true story behind a young white woman's brutal murder and the burning alive of three black men who were almost certainly innocent of it. This was followed by a month-long reign of terror as white men killed blacks while local authorities concealed the real identity of the white probable murderers and allowed them to go free. Writing nonfiction with the skill of a novelist, Akers paints a vivid portrait of a community desolated by race hatred and its own refusal to face hard truths. He sets this tragedy within the story of a region prospering from an oil boom but plagued by lawlessness, and traces the lynching's repercussions down the decades to the present day. In the new epilogue, Akers adds details that have come to light as a result of the book's publication, including an eyewitness account of the burnings from an elderly man who claimed to have castrated two of the men before they were lynched.
The Accidental Historian: Tales of Trash and Treasure (Texas Tech Press 2011, 288 pages)
The Accidental Historian chronicles one man’s fascination with the past and the different ways he has immersed himself in American history over fifty years. Akers explores incidents, little-known episodes, and fascinating sidelights from some of the most popular events of years gone by. Come along with Akers as he reveals a shocking secret about Robert E. Lee. Calls up Clyde Barrow’s henchman on the phone. Hires on as an extra in a Civil War miniseries. Runs for public office. Rediscovers a lost treasure from Stonewall Jackson. Recreates the Rebel Yell. Fights at the Alamo—with his wife on the opposing side. Through artifact and antique collecting, writing, relic-hunting, visiting historic sites, and good old-fashioned primary source research, Akers has experienced and relived a great deal of the country’s historical panorama. He relates his observations with humor, scholarship, self-effacement, and zeal, enjoyably bridging the gap between academic and popular history.
Year of Glory: Jeb Stuart and His Cavalry from June 1862 to June 1863 (Casemate 2012, 392 pages)
No commander during the Civil War is more closely identified with the “cavalier mystique” as Major General Jeb Stuart. And none played a more prominent role during the brief period when the hopes of the nascent Confederacy were at their apex, when it appeared as though the army of Northern Virginia could not be restrained from establishing Southern nationhood. Year of Glory focuses on the twelve months in which Stuart’s reputation was made, following his career on an almost day-to-day basis from June 1862, when Lee took command of the army, to June 1863, when Stuart turned north to regain a glory slightly tarnished at Brandy Station, but found Gettysburg instead.
Year of Desperate Struggle: Jeb Stuart and His Cavalry from Gettysburg to Yellow Tavern (Casemate 2015, 312 pages)
In this work, the sequel to his acclaimed Year of Glory, author Monte Akers tracks Stuart and his cavalry through Jeb’s final year of the war. A day to day recounting from Gettysburg to the Overland Campaign, concluding only when Jeb himself succumbs to a gunshot while fending off a force three times his size at the very gates of Richmond.
TOWER SNIPER: THE TERROR OF AMERICA'S FIRST ACTIVE SHOOTER ON CAMPUS (John Hardy Publishing, 2016)
The heartbreaking currents of August 1, 1966 still ripple through the history of the University of Texas and in the memory of the victims of Charles Whitman. That was the day the engineering student at the University in Austin rode the elevator to the top of the 30 story university tower armed with seven firearms and foot locker full of ammunition and supplies. His "reverse siege" of the campus and surrounding area lasted 96 minutes during which he shot 46 persons, 14 fatally. When the murder of his wife and mother, plus the death of a victim in 2001 from wounds sustained that day are included, the total horror was 17 killed and 31 wounded. It was the first of what has become a sorry and sorrowful chain of similar events-campus mass shootings-in the United States.
THE FIGHTS ON THE LITTLE HORN (Casemate Publishing 2014)
Gordon Harper literally devoted 50 years of his life to researching the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Working on the premise that much of what is believed about the battle today is based on erroneous secondary sources, Harper compiled over 2000 pages of primary sources--diaries, letters, military reports, interviews, and then wrote a book based solely on the information. The result was one of the most accurate, detailed accounts of the battle. Unfortunately, Harper died in 2009 shortly before completing the book and two friends of his, Monte Akers of Texas and Gordon Richard of the United Kingdom, completed the manuscript and found a publisher. Anyone interested in Custer, the Indians who killed him, or the military campaign that culminated in the battle will be hard-pressed to find a more complete, factual account.
HEARTSTRINGS AND HAYWIRE
Two elderly brothers look back in time to their growing up on a ranch in the Texas/Oklahoma Panhandle, seeking the sources of their estrangement. What they find is often humorous, frequently heart-warming, and sometimes gut-wrenching. Monte Akers and his brother, Larry Akers, wrote the book together, each taking stories from their youth and weaving them into a "coming of age" tale seen through their eyes as old men. Before the book could be published, Larry contracted cancer and Monte belatedly had the manuscript self-published as a surprise for him. A case of 32 books was shipped by the printer on Friday, arriving on Monday. The same day Larry's cancer reached his brain. He lost consciousness and died without knowing the book existed. He was buried with a copy of it in his hands.
THE GRANDE DAME OF AUSTIN: A HISTORY OF THE DRISKILL HOTEL (Waterloo Press, 2017)
The story of the Driskill hotel is much more than a dry history about an old lodging place. Built in 1886 and designed to be on the cutting edge of elegance, it became a monument to Texas, the City of Austin, and its colorful owner. Over the next 130-plus years, the hotel served as the epicenter for Texas politics and Austin society. Along the way, it accumulated a vibrant collection of tales about political intrigue, murder, suicide, gunfights, and ghosts. When it was finally threatened with demolition after surviving 85 years -- much longer than the life expectancy of many hotels -- the citizens of Austin and Texas rallied to save it. Today, it is not merely a reflection of Victorian-era elegance, but a breathtaking work of art.