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A New History of Mississippi

A New History of Mississippi

By Dennis J. Mitchell
Hardcover : 9781617039768, 608 pages, 100 b&w photographs, May 2014

The first comprehensive history of the state in nearly four decades


Creating the first comprehensive narrative of Mississippi since the bicentennial history was published in 1976, Dennis J. Mitchell recounts the vibrant and turbulent history of a Deep South state. The author has condensed the massive scholarship produced since that time into an appealing narrative, which incorporates people missing from many previous histories including American Indians, women, African Americans, and a diversity of other minority groups. This is the story of a place and its people, history makers and ordinary citizens alike. Mississippi's rich flora and fauna are also central to the story, which follows both natural and man-made destruction and the major efforts to restore and defend rare untouched areas.

Hernando De Soto, Sieur d’Iberville, Ferdinand Claiborne, Thomas Hinds, Aaron Burr, Greenwood LeFlore, Joseph Davis, Nathan Bedford Forrest, James D. Lynch, James K. Vardaman, Mary Grace Quackenbos, Ida B. Wells, William Alexander Percy, William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Elvis Presley, John Grisham, Jack Reed, William F. Winter, Jim Barksdale, Richard Howorth, Christopher Epps, and too many more to list—this book covers a vast and rich legacy.

From the rise and fall of American Indian culture to the advent of Mississippi’s world-renowned literary, artistic, and scientific contributions, Mitchell vividly brings to life the individuals and institutions that have created a fascinating and diverse state.


"Even for those of us who have spent virtually our entire lives in Mississippi, it is almost impossible to comprehend the interrelated impact of so many of the occurrences that make up our state's conflicted history. In this intriguing volume, Dennis Mitchell has masterfully woven together those events, large and small, in a way that makes this book a page-turner, not just for the serious student of history, but for the purely casual and curious reader as well. I have been an avid reader of many of the accounts of our storied past, but it was not until I read this book that I recognized how many of the fascinating details of that history I had missed. To the extent that it was possible to do so in one book, Dennis Mitchell has told it all in a well-researched and unforgettable way. It is, indeed, a 'new' history."

- William F. Winter, former governor of Mississippi

"Noted historian Dennis Mitchell presents an honest and hard-hitting analytical insight into the Magnolia State's history and its people. He presents the good and the bad, the saints and the sinners. No one who reads this book, whether favorably or unfavorably, will ever view Mississippi the same way. This book is a must-read for both the state's supporters and its critics."

- John F. Marszalek, Giles Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at Mississippi State University and executive director and managing editor of the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library

"In A New History of Mississippi, Dennis J. Mitchell has meticulously researched and written an incredibly valuable examination of Mississippi's bewitching history--warts and all. The strength of Mitchell's work is that he provides context, continuity, and perspective in chronicling the state's past and linking that past to our shared future. Mitchell's writing on the civil rights movement in Mississippi is honest and exhaustive, yet it conveys a sense of hope and possibility. From the history of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes to state reaction to the modern novel and film, The Help, Mitchell's book is not for the faint of heart or those who would whitewash Mississippi's true past. But this book should be a staple in the personal libraries of all serious students of our state's history."

- Sid Salter, Mississippi journalist, author, and educator at Mississippi State University