Friday, May 29, 2009

Way down in Mississippi / where the pine trees grow / deep in Jones County / where the leaf river flows

In May of 2008 I posted the transcript of a Q&A I conducted with Victoria Bynum, regarding her fascinating book, The Free State of Jones: Mississippi's Longest Civil War (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2001). The exchange took place on-line, in the Civil War Forum, October 25, 2001.

It's an amazing story, and well told. Recently, I was pleased to learn from Kevin Levin at Civil War Memory that Professor Bynum has a blog dedicated to the subject or more accurately, to "
southern dissenters of the nineteenth century," to include the Knights of Jones County, and other renegades. What a perfect venue for bringing out more information and tantalizing tidbits. Kevin also made mention of a new book on the subject, by Sally Jenkins and John Stauffer, which had escaped my notice until now.

Check out Bynum's blog, but be sure to also visit the affiliated website,, if only to hear Doctor G sing "Jones County Jubilee." That will put you in the mood for some reading on Newt (pictured above) & Rachel Knight.

Dr. Bynum is also the author of Unruly Women: the Politics of Social and Sexual Control in the Old South (UNC Press, 1992), and Southern Communities at War.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Making of the Revised Edition of Gettysburg: A Battlefield Guide

Civil War blogging doesn't get any better than the recent serial entries by Mark Grimsley (at Civil Warriors) on the intriguing process of updating his (and Brooks Simpson's) Gettysburg battlefield guide. See part 1 of "Letting the Ground Argue" here. Part two here. It's a real treat to read a working historian's musings from the field. The exercise imbues an inherently casual medium with a unique and powerful value. Bison Books should consider publishing links to these the making of entries.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

David Herbert Donald, 1920–2009

"Professor Donald taught that truth comes before showmanship. Without theorizing or bloviating, and simply by example, he taught that a meticulous commitment to accuracy is the historian's primary obligation."
— Gil Troy (full essay)
NYT obituary