The State of Jones
The Small Southern County That Seceded From the ConfederacyBook - 2009
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Sally Jenkins is a journalist (Washington Post) and author of two previous books. John Stauffer is a Harvard Univ. professor and author of other books on the American Civil War. Film director and screenwriter Gary Ross (Seabisquit; Pleasantville) took this story to Jenkins and Stauffer -- suggesting they collaborate on a history. The movie has just been released (June 2016). Jones County was Mississippi's poorest. As the Civil War began, Knight and a majority of men in the county were subsistence farmers trying to eke out a living on the outskirts of a huge tract of land known as the "Dismal Swamp". Even as the men were pressed into the army and endured horrific starvation during the siege of Vicksburg, Confederate tax collectors were stripping their farms of crops, animals and even the cloth their wives were laboring to weave. Steeped in the anti-slavery theology of Primitive Baptists, Knight and many other farmers deserted. They voted to secede from the Confederacy and hid from Confederate bounty hunters in the Dismal Swamp. Knight was able to organize a resistance which lasted through the end of the war. The book is extremely well-documented (the footnotes occupy 67 of the book's 402 pages). The documentation was probably judged a necessity by historian Stauffer because it so completely busts the myth of the "solid South".
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