Clanton author writes Alabama Roots biographyBy Emily Beckett Published 1:29pm Thursday, May 31, 2012
Anne Chancey Dalton of Clanton retired from teaching in the classroom years ago, but she is far from finished with her writing and storytelling.
Dalton, who taught creative writing and theater for 26 years, wrote two historical mysteries before delving into biographical work.
Her latest book, “Jeremiah A. Denton, Jr.: Vietnam War Hero,” was one of four new biographies of prominent Alabamians published this year as part of the Alabama Roots Biography Series, designed for young readers in third–eighth grades.
The series now contains 45 books that combine biographies with significant events in history.
“They’re short and cover the person’s life,” Dalton said of the biographies. “Kids and teachers really love that series.”
Dalton said she chose to write about Denton because she was touched by his speech for the first group of prisoners of war returning from North Vietnamese prisons.
“He was the ranking officer, so they asked him to make some comments,” Dalton said. “It was very inspiring. Our family was living in Mobile at the time—Jeremiah Denton’s hometown. I told my husband then that someday, I wanted to write Denton’s biography.”
Denton was an admiral in the United States military and was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for seven years and seven months, four of which he spent in solitary confinement, longer than any other American prisoner.
Denton was one of many POWs who were tortured during captivity.
“He’s a great man,” Dalton said. “I wanted to write this book to inspire patriotism. Reading about heroes can inspire a greater love and appreciation for our country.”
Dalton said she interviewed Denton twice in 2004 and once in 2007.
She and her husband, Perry, visited Denton at his home in Williamsburg, Va., in 2011, and they went through the entire manuscript of her book together.
“He said it was a superb book,” Dalton said. “That just means the world to me.”
Copies of “Jeremiah A. Denton, Jr.: Vietnam War Hero” are available for checkout or purchase at the Chilton-Clanton Public Library.
The book can also be ordered online at www.alabamaroots.com and www.blackswansbook.com.
Dalton’s other books, “Massacre Island” and “Dream Ghost,” can be found at Clanton Intermediate School.
For more information, go to www.annecdalton.com.