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Pillars of Power

Why should the Mark's Mill Battlefield & Cemetery have copies of Pillars of Power: Steps Toward Secession? From an authorís point of view that is an interesting question, and I hope you will allow yourself a few minutes to read the following information as I attempt to answer that question for you.

Pillars of Power: Steps Toward Secession will present the American Civil War as it was fought in Arkansas in a completely different manner. Actually, until now no one has researched, written, and published an in-depth, authentic history of that national tragedy as it was enacted in Arkansas. Yes, our Nation is nearing the planned festivities that will surround the Sesquicentennial Celebration of the American Civil War, but in the one hundred and forty-four years since that War ended a detailed history of its events in our State has not been written. That fact alone is a very substantial reason why this book and the three others that will follow should be available to every high school student in Arkansas. Historic photographs and vivid maps also aid in the comprehension of that major historical event.

However, these books will also become excellent resource materials for your history and social studies teachers. As a former junior and high school teacher in Arkansas I understand that those who teach need far more information than is presented in the text books that are used in their courses of learning. The information in these books will enable a classroom teacher to present more in-depth information about the Civil War in Arkansas than he or she could before these books were published. I would urge you to make your teachers aware of these publications. Also, those who check these books out to read them will find a presentation of the War in Arkansas that has never existed before.

Also, these volumes present that confrontation in chronological order, with one book having been written for each year of the war. Yet, each volume also stands alone on its own merits to provide specific understandings without the need for the other three.

Then too, each area of the State is covered so teachers, students and readers can understand exactly what happened in their particular area of Arkansas. Yes, there were areas of Arkansas than had far more involvement during that era than others, but this was also an event that touched the entire state. The majority of todayís historians agree that the Civil War was the most important historical event that has occurred in our Nation, as well as in the State of Arkansas.

Arkansas has made gigantic steps in improving its educational offerings to the students who attend it colleges and universities in the past thirty years. One example, as a student at an Arkansas university who was seeking a minor in American History I took a course entitled The History of the Southwest, and the book we used for the Arkansas part of that offering was the same fifth grade text book I had in elementary school because that was the only history of Arkansas in print at that time.

The publication of these books will represent another large step in the history of Arkansas pursuing its past to enable todayís students to learn from those times, and hopefully take the necessary steps to prevent repeating the lessons of days gone by.

The following is a brief biographical sketch of the author to validate why he possessed the qualification to research and write these books.
Jim Lair, a native of Camden, grew up with a fascination for the many reminders of the War that he could visit in his area of Ouachita County. After college he taught American History in Smackover, El Dorado, and Camden, Arkansas for a total of six years.

Lair was the recipient of the Award for Best Church History from The Arkansas Historical Association for an article, That Man Might Worship: A History of Camdenís First Baptist Church that was published in the Ouachita County Historical Quarterly. He has spoken before various history groups in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee, as well as appearing before several Civil War Roundtable groups. He also received several awards from the Arkansas History Commission during his years as the President and Editor of the Carroll County Historical and Genealogical Society.

The author worked for over ten years as a Staff Writer for a Northwest Arkansas newspaper, and during that time a number of his articles received awards from the Arkansas Press Association.
He also wrote and had a biography of David Owen Dodd published to commemorate the execution of a Confederate martyr, and that work will be published again with new information as a part of the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the War. Three other books by him that related directly to the history of Arkansas have been published.  Lair will be one of the featured speakers at this yearís National Convention of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

To add these books to your library you have two options. They are available through Follett Library Resources, which I am told is the distributor of record with most Arkansas schools. Or you may contact Terry Cordingley at Tate Publishing Company, terry@tatepublishing.com or 888-361-9473, and the publishing company will sell the books directly to you. The publisher will offer you a 40 percent discount on the $29.95 selling price, but it is my understanding your book distributor offers a better price than that to their school clients.

If you have other questions please feel free to contact me at jblcivilwar@cox.net, or (402) 496-3024


Pillars of Power
Steps Toward Secession
By Jim Lair
Pillars of Power: Steps Toward Secession is the first of four volumes that represent the first in-depth, complete look at the American Civil War as it was fought in the State of Arkansas. Each volume will become a welcomed addition to the historical information available regarding the most important event in the history of the state and country.

Jim Lair's interest and experience in researching and writing Arkansas history shows in these volumes on his ruling passion, the Civil War. Years in the making, Lair's narrative version of the Civil War events in Arkansas unfolds on a giant canvas that places local events in their national context. Anyone who shares Lair's interest in that era in Arkansas will find much to appreciate about his saga.
Ray Granade, Director of Library Services, Ouachita Baptist University.