“The State of Jones”

May 18, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Posted in History, Nonfiction, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Sally Jenkins and John Stauffer have written the sort of history book that should turn more people on to history in general.  It’s well documented and researched, and the characters spring to life in a Civil War that seems like it could be going on right this minute.

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The State of Jones: The Small Southern County That Seceded from the Confederacy focuses on a man called Newton Knight and his family.  He had two wives and two families, one white and one black, who seemed to know about each other and get along better than you’d think.  He also went AWOL and led an insurrection against the Confederate Army.

I have a degree in history and I’d never heard of this guy.  This is a really gripping story that deserves to be told, because it should interest anyone.  The passages from journals and letters not only bring forth the voices of the past, but remind us that ordinary 19th century people had beautiful writing skills.

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