Favorite US Civil War books?
I've been pretty much inundated with Civil War facts since I was a kid as I grew up in Southern Virginia - the landscape is pretty much dotted with historical marker after historical marker. "Robert E Lee took a pee here in 1863," type things.
As an aging Southerner, though, I'm finding myself wanting to know the facts that my high school US History teacher didn't tell me.
If anybody has any favorite US Civil war books or even documentaries, I'd be grateful if you'd share the titles. I don't care what point of view the writer or you have, I just want some interesting reading.
Oh where to begin....
Ride With The Devil (a MUST see)
Outlaw Josey Wales
and of course, Gettysburg and Glory
I could go on ad nauseum here... but here are a few of my favorites...
Confederates in The Attic - Tony Horowitz
Sherman: A Soldier's Passion for Order - John F. Marszalek
Testament: A Soldier's Story of the Civil War - Benson Bobrick
Battle Cry of Freedom - James McPhereson
Again... I could go on and on...
The best Civil War book was Ulysses Grant's memoirs. It's cliche to say this now, but it's considered by many historians to be better than Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic Wars. More than one famous author has called Grant our greatest prose writer.
If you're looking for a secondary source, the best Civil War historian in the country right now is a man named Dr. Steven E. Woodworth.
Thank you for the advice, I appreciate it!
Is the book you're recommending titled, "Ulysses S. Grant: Personal Memoirs and Selected Letters?" Thanks, OE....
I haven't read the selected letters, but it's definitely called Ulysses S Grant Personal Memoirs. He finished writing them the day before he died from cancer in order to save his family from poverty. Mark Twain helped him with it. It saved his family
There are so many books covering so many aspects of the war that it hard finding one that does it all. One of the more recent ones that will get you thinking is "Red Republicans and Lincoln's Marxists" by Kennedy and Benson which covers the socialist and communist backgrounds of many of the officers. My favorite would have to be "The South Was Right" by the Kennedy brothers. It provides an overview of the war and the ramifications of the events.
Some others would be "Andersonville", "None But Texians", and the diary of Mary Chesnut. If you want a woman's perspective, there is the two volume set entitled "Heroines of Dixie". They cover many aspects of life on the home front and holiday celebrations during the war. "Christ in the Camp" is also a favorite of mine which deals with the revival that occurred in the Southern armies and the personal stories of many men as told to chaplains, colporters and others.
Since I do not know your specific interests, these would give you a new and fresh perspective on the war.
I've read many, but my all time favorite is "April 1865" by Jay Winick, about the most amazing month in US history. Richmond abandoned, Lincoln shot and Appomattox. My favorite novel was "The Killer Angels," about Gettysburg. The movie was based partly on this book.
An overview of some of the books about Texas, Texans and the War Between the States. The War is the most written about topic in American History. The many book written look at the war from various levels, from overviews of the whole conflict to histories capturing the conflict at the army, divisional, brigade, regimental or even from the perspective of a particular participant. What the best book is depends on your preferred perspective is in dealing with the events. read more
My favorite Civil War books tend to be the ones with the journals and letters written by soldiers. Grant's book was incredible and so vivid with his descriptions... however, if you read other letters and journal entries, it's pretty incredible how so many soldiers wrote in such a manner. So my absolute favorite Civil War book has to be the 'George H. Murphy Diary'. It was never written with the intent that others would pour over his pages, but it is a remarkable piece. I think it captures the war perfectly without giving a history lesson on what many Civil War fans all ready know.
Georgie, if I had to choose one it would be "Embrace an Angry Wind" by Wiley Sword. It won numerous awards and tells of the lesser known battles of Franklin and Nashville, Tennessee, near the end of the war. The story is captivating and Wiley's style of writing is superb and influenced me very much.
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