Joe Walker is a native of Arkansas, growing up surrounded by the rich history of his state. He grew up hearing the stories of his family’s participation in some of the monumental moments in our nation’s history. From his ancestor’s participation in the establishment of the Jamestowne Colony of Virginia to the battlefields of Gettysburg and Vicksburg, their stories ignited within him a passion for history.
He carried that passion into researching the events that shaped his families’ story. This research led to sharing their stories in book form.
The Jenkins' Ferry battlefield in southern Arkansas, site of one of the bloodiest Civil War battles of the war, fought just a few miles from where Joe Walker grew up led to a lifelong interest with countless visits to the battlefield where his father shared stories of the epic clash that occurred there. Building upon historian Edwin Bearss’ monumental 1961 book, “Steele’s Retreat from Camden and the Battle of Jenkins’ Ferry,” Joe Walker took years of additional research discovered since Bearss’ first published his book, the result being “Harvest of Death: The Battle of Jenkins’ Ferry, Arkansas,” published by Joe Walker in 2012.
His next book, "Rebel Pulpit: The Civil War Prison Diary of Lieutenant James Vance Walker - Third Tennessee Confederate Infantry (Vaughn's)" is a transcription of a diary maintained by one of Joe Walker’s ancestors, an officer in the Confederate army who was imprisoned at the Fort Delaware officer’s prison. It tells a fascinating story of life inside a Civil War prison, told from the perspective of one who endured the day to day hardships of life behind prison walls.
Switching gears, his newest book, "Elvis in Arkansas," documents Elvis Presley's more than forty visits to Arkansas during the birth of Rock ‘n Roll. From the earliest days of performing in high school auditoriums and gymnasiums, to sold-out arenas during the 1970's, you'll see never before published photographs and read stories told by the eyewitnesses who were there. The book details the pivotal year of 1955 in Elvis’ life, a time often overlooked by biographers chronicling Presley’s career. Joe Walker’s interest in the early Elvis came from his mother, who would recount stories of her times visiting the Louisiana Hayride in the 1950’s to hear the young singer, often interacting backstage with him where Elvis would meet with his young fans.
These projects have led to a “…in Arkansas” book series.
His current writing projects include a history of Johnny Cash’s life in Arkansas as well as Babe Ruth’s time in the state during those early years with the Red Sox and Yankees.
Joe Walker tells the stories of Arkansas’s past – the overlooked hidden gems in his state’s history.