Update: Click here for Victoria Bynum’s third and final installment of her review of The State of Jones
A few days ago I posted a link to Victoria Bynum’s two-part review of the new book, The State of Jones, by John Stauffer and Sally Jenkins. I did so because of her published work on the subject and a belief that there is no one more qualified to evaluate a new study that professes to add to or alter our interpretation of the relevant issues involved. I stand by that decision. That said, historical debate is never static, but is a continual process or dialectic and it is in that spirit that I share this response by Stauffer and Jenkins.
In response to your recent post about The State of Jones:
Debate is one thing; we welcome that-indeed we would be happy to debate Victoria Bynum (or a disinterested scholar) on your blog or any other venue. It’s quite another thing for Bynum to try to discredit our book, The State of Jones, as part of her effort to trumpet her own book and remain the only source on the subject. We hope to have an equal forum to defend our work and respond to the criticism of it. We wrote the book The State of Jones because the historical record about the Unionist guerilla Newton Knight and Jones County, Mississippi was incomplete, and inaccurate. We spent four years sifting through the evidence and writing with painstaking care for historical context and accuracy, and it was a labor of love and devotion. Our book was commissioned by the legendary publisher Phyllis Grann of Doubleday Books, and it is firmly documented in every respect. You state, citing Victoria Bynum, “there is no evidence” that Jones County seceded from the Confederacy. We will quote directly from the wealth of primary source evidence below.