"James Z. George was one of Mississippi's premier statesmen during a period when political labels like Redeemer, Bourbon, New Departure Democrat, conservative, racist, progressive, and liberal were so fraught with complexities as to be almost meaningless. Through prodigious research into the life of this complicated self-made manwho would disfranchise blacks but not tolerate racial violence, who opposed federal intervention but supported federal aid to educationhistorian Timothy B. Smith has written a compelling biography of this lawyer-politician known fondly as 'Mississippi's Great Commoner.'"
David G. Sansing, emeritus professor of history, University of Mississippi
"It is to be hoped that now, more than a century after the death of Senator James Z. George, this splendidly written and researched biography will serve to raise our understanding and appreciation of this notable Mississippi statesman. As this volume so cogently points out, Senator George brought an admirable combination of superior intellect, unquestioned integrity, and resolute independence to political leadership during one of the most absorbing periods in our state's and nation's history in the three decades following the Civil War. A highly respected historian, Professor Tim Smith has reopened a chapter from our conflicted past that provides special insight into the volatile politics of that era in which James Z. George was a memorable and commanding figure."
William F. Winter, former governor of Mississippi
"James Z. George was a pivotal figure in the state's history, and finally we have a biography of him. Tim Smith's James Z. George: Mississippi's Great Commoner is well-researched, well-written, and paints a picture of George as a richly complex, fascinating leader."
Stephen Cresswell, author of Multiparty Politics in Mississippi, 1877-1902 and Rednecks, Redeemers, and Race: Mississippi after Reconstruction, 1877-1917.