Sept. 23, 2002
Dr. Terry L. Jones, Professor of History at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, has published his fourth book on the American Civil War. In August, Scarecrow Press released Jones's two-volume "Historical Dictionary of the Civil War." This reference work is number 18 in the press's ongoing series Historical Dictionaries of War, Revolution, and Civil Unrest.
Volume 1 begins with a detailed chronology of important Civil War dates and events. A lengthy introduction then provides a succinct discussion of the principal economic causes of the war against the background of political developments, including the Western expansion that exacerbated the differences between North and South. From the deepening gulf over states' rights to tensions over the containment of slavery after the war with Mexico, Jones illustrates the conflicting interests that ultimately led to the secession crisis of 1860-1861, and the seizing of federal installations by the Confederate states. The military campaigns in both the Eastern and Western theaters are then covered year by year, ending with the final Confederate surrenders.
The heart of the dictionary is the A to Z entries that follow the introduction. These entries give biographical sketches of nearly 1,300 military, political, and civilian personalities; narratives of almost 400 campaigns and battles; descriptions of armies, weapons, and military terminology; and information on diplomatic encounters, numbers of combatants, industrial capacity, imprisonment, and casualties. All of these entries are extensively cross-referenced. Volume 1 covers A to L, while Volume 2 covers M to Z. Volume 2 also contains a lengthy bibliography arranged by topics. Of the eighteen volumes in the series, Jones's dictionary is the only two-volume work.
In his Foreword, series editor Jon Woronoff writes, "This was probably the most difficult volume of the series to write, because so much of the available information remains controversial. Terry L. Jones has done an uncommonly good job of digging and getting at the data and has presented them both objectively and neutrally. The caliber of the research and the presentation is a result of several decades of studying, teaching, and writing." In its description of the dictionary, Scarecrow Press writes, "Jones brings the sounds and sights of battle to life, detailing each charge, the evolution of battle tactics, and the importance of diplomacy for both sides. He clarifies complex issues as he explains the various factions, their interests, and their hidden agendas. From the hopelessly impotent Congressional votes to the spilling of blood on the battlefield, Jones makes this period of American history compelling reading. The lucid prose will appeal to readers at all levels, making this work accessible for high school audiences, as well as the undergraduates." The dictionary is available for $249.50 from Scarecrow Press, Inc., at 1-800-462-6420.
Dr. Jones is a 1970 graduate of Dodson High School and received his B.A. and M.A. from Louisiana Tech University and his Ph.D. in history at Texas A&M University. He joined the faculty at Northeast Louisiana University in 1991 as an assistant professor of history. Jones's wife Carol has taught in the Ouachita Parish school system since 1998 and is a teacher at Riverbend Elementary in West Monroe. His daughter Laura graduated from the ULM nursing program in 2001 and is a registered nurse in the oncology department at Children's Hospital in Little Rock, Ark. Jones's daughter Amie is a beginning freshman at ULM, majoring in general studies. Jones has published three other Civil War books, all with Louisiana State University Press: "Lee's Tigers: The Louisiana Infantry in the Army of Northern Virginia" (1987); "The Civil War Memoirs of Capt. William J. Seymour: Reminiscences of a Louisiana Tiger" (1991); and "Campbell Brown's Civil War: With Ewell and the Army of Northern Virginia" (2001).
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