Ballard, Michael B. 1946-
Ballard, Michael B. 1946-
Born November 24, 1946 in Louisville, MS; son of Ottis B. and Jessie Dola (a homemaker) Ballard; married December 2, 2001; wife's name Jan; children: two stepchildren. Education: Mississippi State University, B.A., 1975, M.A., 1976, Ph.D., 1983. Politics: "Moderate Independent." Religion: Presbyterian. Hobbies and other interests: Civil War reenactment, writing gospel songs, writing Civil War history, spectator sports, gospel music.
Home—Ackerman, MS. Office—Box 9570, University Library, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS 39762; fax: 601-325-3560. E-mail—[email protected]
Mississippi State University, Starkville, university archivist, 1983—.
Organization of American Historians, Society of American Archivists, Society of Civil War Historians, Southern Historical Association, Society of Mississippi Archivists, Mississippi Historical Society.
Nonfiction Award, Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters, 1991, for Pemberton: A Biography.
A Long Shadow: Jefferson Davis and the Final Days of the Confederacy, University Press of Mississippi (Jackson, MS), 1986.
Landscapes of Battle: The Civil War, University Press of Mississippi (Jackson, MS), 1988.
Pemberton: A Biography, University Press of Mississippi (Jackson, MS), 1991, published as Pemberton: The General Who Lost Vicksburg, 1999.
(Coeditor) A Mississippi Rebel in the Army of Northern Virginia: The Civil War Memoirs of Private David Holt, Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 1996.
Campaign for Vicksburg, Eastern National Park and Monument Association (Fort Washington, PA), 1996.
The Battle of Tupelo, Blue and Gray Education Society (Danville, VA), 1996.
Civil War Mississippi: A Guide, University Press of Mississippi (Jackson, MS), 2000.
(With G.V. Montgomery and Craig S. Piper) Sonny Montgomery: The Veteran's Champion, Libraries, Mississippi State University (Jackson, MS), 2003.
Vicksburg: The Campaign That Opened the Mississippi, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 2004.
U.S. Grant: The Making of a General, 1861-1863, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 2005.
(Editor, with Thomas D. Cockrell) Chickasaw, a Mississippi Scout for the Union: The Civil War Memoir of Levi H. Naron, Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 2005.
Maroon and White: Mississippi State University, 1878-2003, University Press of Mississippi (Jackson, MS), 2008.
Newsletter editor, Golden Triangle Civil War Roundtable.
In Chickasaw, a Mississippi Scout for the Union: The Civil War Memoir of Levi H. Naron, historian Michael B. Ballard tells an unusual story: the tale of a Southern planter who fought for the Union Army. "Unlike many who bent to prevailing political winds by remaining quiet and staying put, Naron spoke out," explained Joseph C. Fitzharris in H-Net Reviews: Humanities and Social Sciences Online. "Not long after completing the harvest of 1861, he was visited by a ‘vigilance committee’ that clearly had hanging on its collective mind. In early December, he left family, friends, and home, to journey north to enter service with the Union forces. His wife and children remained behind, believing him ‘governed by the right principles’ of Unionism." "Naron's adventures continued behind Confederate lines where he constantly roamed about in search of information and where he became the occasional prisoner, sometimes escaping execution by sheer luck," wrote David Slay in Civil War News. "Yet, his stories do not have the air of contrived drama that characterizes so many of the ‘thrilling adventures’ published after the war. In that sense, Naron avoids the stereotypical adventure yarn by sticking to a relatively straightforward narrative sans the frills and conventions of postwar narratives."
Ballard once told CA: "My motivation for writing is my strong desire to understand the past and how it affects the present. I try to explain not only what happened, but why it happened and why it is important to understand. I believe we can learn much from the past, but only if we have an in-depth understanding of people and events.
"Bruce Catton and Samuel Clemens are both literary inspirations for me. Several historians, including John Marszelak, Richard McMurray, and Herman Hattaway, have influenced me in the area of proper scholarship.
"When I write, I generally start with an outline and organize my research notes accordingly. I then plug in, and write the first draft following the outline. From then on, it is a matter of rewrites, refinements, and trying to get the narrative as tight as possible.
"Growing up in a southern state, I have always had an interest in the Civil War. I found later that researching and writing about the war was the only way I could really understand its impact on both the South and American history in general. I also grew up during a time of racial turmoil in the South, and I am just now beginning to look back at that time. I hope, through fiction with an autobiographical flavor, to examine that period."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Canadian Journal of History, March 22, 2006, Parker Hills, review of Vicksburg: The Campaign That Opened the Mississippi, p. 155.
Historian, spring, 2006, Brian S. Wills, review of Vicksburg, p. 128.
History: Review of New Books, winter, 1997, Lowell H. Harrison, review of A Mississippi Rebel in the Army of Northern Virginia: The Civil War Memoirs of Private David Holt, p. 91.
Journal of Southern History, May, 1997, Otho C. Campbell, review of A Mississippi Rebel in the Army of Northern Virginia, p. 421; November, 2006, Brooks D. Simpson, review of Vicksburg, p. 955.
Library Journal, October 1, 2004, Gayla Koerting, review of Vicksburg, p. 93.
Military Review, July 1, 2005, Jeffrey L. LaFace, review of Vicksburg, p. 98.
Mississippi Quarterly, spring, 1998, Earl J. Hess, review of A Mississippi Rebel in the Army of Northern Virginia, p. 373.
Civil War News,http://www.civilwarnews.com/ (April 8, 2008), Robert L. Durham, review of U.S. Grant: The Making of a General, 1861-1863, and David Slay, review of Chickasaw, a Mississippi Scout for the Union: The Civil War Memoir of Levi H. Naron.
H-Net Reviews: Humanities and Social Sciences Online,http://www.h-net.org/ (April 8, 2008), Joseph C. Fitzharris, review of Chickasaw, a Mississippi Scout for the Union.
Mississippi Writers and Musicians Project at Starkville High School,http://shs.starkville.k12.ms.us/ (April 8, 2008), author profile.