The State of Jones: The Small Southern County that Seceded from the Confederacy

Front Cover
Doubleday, 2009 - History - 402 pages
21 Reviews

New York Timesbestselling author Sally Jenkins and distinguished Harvard professor John Stauffer mine a nearly forgotten piece of Civil War history and strike gold in this surprising account of the only Southern county to secede from the Confederacy.

The State of Jonesis a true story about the South during the Civil War—therealSouth. Not the South that has been mythologized in novels and movies, but an authentic, hardscrabble place where poor men were forced to fight a rich man’s war for slavery and cotton. In Jones County, Mississippi, a farmer named Newton Knight led his neighbors, white and black alike, in an insurrection against the Confederacy at the height of the Civil War. Knight’s life story mirrors the little-known story of class struggle in the South—and it shatters the image of the Confederacy as a unified front against the Union.
This riveting investigative account takes us inside the battle of Corinth, where thousands lost their lives over less than a quarter mile of land, and to the dreadful siege of Vicksburg, presenting a gritty picture of a war in which generals sacrificed thousands through their arrogance and ignorance. Off the battlefield, the Newton Knight story is rich in drama as well. He was a man with two loves: his wife, who was forced to flee her home simply to survive, and an ex-slave named Rachel, who, in effect, became his second wife. It was Rachel who cared for Knight during the war when he was hunted by the Confederates, and, later, when members of the Knight clan sought revenge for the disgrace he had brought upon the family name.
Working hand in hand with John Stauffer, distinguished chair and professor of the History of American Civilization at Harvard University, Sally Jenkins has made the leap from preeminent sportswriter to a historical writer endowed with the accuracy, drive, and passion of Doris Kearns Goodwin. The result is Civil War history at its finest.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

I'm surprised at how bad the scholarship was. - Goodreads
Well researched and very interesting for the most part. - Goodreads
I won't rehash the plot. - Goodreads

Review: The State of Jones

User Review  - Todd Stockslager - Goodreads

The events that followed the end of the American Civil War from 1865 through roughly 1900, known as Reconstruction, mark the darkest days and events in American history, because they revealed a cold ... Read full review

Review: The State of Jones

User Review  - Dale Kurtz - Goodreads

WOW ... Once again the story of the Civil War and the years following, this time in Mississippi. This is non fiction. Newton Knight opposed the Civil War and Slavery as did most people in Jones County ... Read full review

About the author (2009)

SALLY JENKINS is an award-winning journalist for The Washington Post and the author of The Real All Americans, as well as the legendary New York Times bestseller It's Not About the Bike with Lance Armstrong. She lives in New York City. JOHN STAUFFER is chair and professor of the History of American Civilization at Harvard University and the award-winning author of The Black Hearts of Men and other books on the Civil War era, including Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Bibliographic information