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The Free State of Jones: Mississippi's Longest Civil War

Victoria E. Bynum

2016 • University of North Carolina Press

ISBN: 1469627051

★★★☆☆

On the whole, this is a well-researched book that pierces the fog of the Lost Cause myth to reveal a complex picture of Southern antebellum culture where economic pressures and bloodlines determined political loyalties more than pure ideology. For those (like me) who haven't seen the movie and were not already familiar the history of Jones County, Mississippi, Bynum's panoramic historical lens makes it difficult to see the main storyline during the Civil War period. Instead of laying a groundwork, the early chapters often render the latter anticlimactic.

Though I liked it, this could have been a truly great book with a little more narrative structure.

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