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  1. #1

    Default civil war author's

    Who are your favorites?
    I've read all of catton's and some footes but find the newer author's splendid reading.
    Stephen Sears has to be my favorite.I've read"Landscape turned red"3 times.His book on the peninsular campaign 3 times also.
    Chancellorville and gettysburg twice.Very"readable"informative yet they flow well.
    Winston Groom is also excellent.Have read his "Vicksburg"and have his Shilo on order from Bomc2.
    Did'nt know he wrote Forrest Gump till I read a review on Vicksburg.All the mentioned books highly recommended.

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    Wiley Sword's Shiloh, Bloody April is one of the very best narratives of a battle.
    Nobody can beat Catton's Mr. Lincoln's Army trilogy for the whole scope of the war.

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    Except maybe Mcphersons"Battle cry of freedom"

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    Battle Cry of Freedom is wonderful.
    This Hallowed Ground is even more superlative.

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    Michael Shaara's "Killer Angels" and the videogame Civil War Generals 2 got me into the civil war. Pulitzer Prize winning Killer Angels should be required reading for newbies. I'm almost done with the Foote trilogy right now. I need to expand my library though.

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    I've read Shelby Foote's Civil War narrative twice, I found it that good.

    E. L. Doctorow's The March is quite a good historical fiction of Sherman's march to the sea. Anything by him is worth a read, IMHO.

    Can also recommend McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom and Catton's trilogy, too.

    Though I've not read them I understand that Grant's memoirs, published by Samuel Clemens, are surprisingly good.

    Clovis listed his Civil War bibliography when he released his Struggle for a Vast Future 1.0 mod http://www.ageod-forum.com/showthrea...re-version-1-0 (scroll down to #6 in the thread) and it is quite comprehensive.

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    Walter Geer's Campaigns of the Civil War is an awesome summary of the war.
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    For naval war, I'm enjoying 'Divided Waters' by Ivan Musicant. Best of four naval books I've read.

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    Shelby Foote's Civil War is my favorite. I read it once years ago, and am about to start it again (my wife bought me the hardbound set for my birthday last year - bless her :-) ) When reading his books you get the feeling he was there listening in on conversations and was an eyewitness. Definitely not dry history writing. McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom is also excellent, IMO. I've read all of Catton's books years ago and enjoyed them.

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    To mention a few not already cited (unless I missed them):

    Gordon C. Rhea's excellent series of four books covering Grant's 1864 advance on Richmond (Wilderness through Cold Harbor)

    Harry W. Pfanz's three books on the first and second days of Gettyburg, also covering Johnson's attacks on Culp's Hill on day 3. Pfanz isn't as exciting a read as Sears, McPherson or Catton, but his credentials are impeccable.

    Jeffry D. Wert gives a good overview of the third day of that battle, including the cavalry actions and Culp's Hill. If you want a recent book on Pickett's Charge, try Earl J. Hess.

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    Grant's Memoirs often cited as well. I have it, but haven't got to it yet. Mark Twain especially liked it.
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    I'm nearly finished reading Shelbey Foote's The Civil War for the second time. I find that it presents an excellent understanding of the country as a whole, if it may be stated like that, from the presidents to down to the simple soldiers to the civilians; politics on grand and minor scale. His narrative is always from the view of the participants. Battles are not analyzed, but described with enough detail to understand what went on, why it was important and what the participants thought.

    I also started reading The Killer Angels. It is like a docu-drama. You may want to take the 'drama' part with a grain of salt, but it's an excellent read; very entertaining without falsifying the facts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Longshanks View Post
    Mark Twain especially liked it.
    And well he should...he published them

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain_Orso View Post
    I'm nearly finished reading Shelbey Foote's The Civil War for the second time. I find that it presents an excellent understanding of the country as a whole, if it may be stated like that, from the presidents to down to the simple soldiers to the civilians; politics on grand and minor scale. His narrative is always from the view of the participants. Battles are not analyzed, but described with enough detail to understand what went on, why it was important and what the participants thought.

    I also started reading The Killer Angels. It is like a docu-drama. You may want to take the 'drama' part with a grain of salt, but it's an excellent read; very entertaining without falsifying the facts.
    Can't agree with you more Captain on Shelby Foote, really brings the war to life without analysis just presents the story, flavour and characters. Truly excellent account of the real story of the war, politics and events. Just re-reading Vol 2 and it really describes the pointless horror of the attack on Marye's heights.

    Quote Originally Posted by FelixZ View Post
    For naval war, I'm enjoying 'Divided Waters' by Ivan Musicant. Best of four naval books I've read.
    Thanks for that been wanting to read more on the naval side. I got into wargames and military history primarily through an interest in naval history, but ACW naval is not something I've read much about, I mainly read about WWI, WWII and age of sail naval history. Be interesting to compare the Union blockade to the British blockade of the French in Napoleonic war.
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    If you're interested in the naval side of the war, consider:

    Luraghi, Raimondo. 1996. A History of the Confederate Navy

    Browning, Robert M., jr. 1993. From Cape Charles to Cape Fear (on the North Atlantic blockading squadron)

    _____. 2002. Success Was All That Was Expected (on the South Atlantic blockading squadron)

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    Quote Originally Posted by khbynum View Post
    If you're interested in the naval side of the war, consider:

    Luraghi, Raimondo. 1996. A History of the Confederate Navy

    Browning, Robert M., jr. 1993. From Cape Charles to Cape Fear (on the North Atlantic blockading squadron)

    _____. 2002. Success Was All That Was Expected (on the South Atlantic blockading squadron)

    ...and Symonds, Craig L. 2008. Lincoln and His Admirals
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    Two books I had to do reports on for a recent Civil War class I took. They were both very interesting. The first is letters and diary entries of a well-educated Union soldier. Very interesting if you have a interest in detail.

    James A. Connolly -Three Years in the Army of the Cumberland: The Letters and Diary of Major James A. Connolly

    The 2nd is a more in-depth look but it has lots of different letter and diary entries by Union soldiers and is very focused on common soldiers instead of the Generals that people tend to remember. Wiley is supposed to be a very good researcher from the last century and I think he wrote another book about Johnny Reb but not sure.

    Bell Irvin Wiley - The Life of Billy Yank: The Common Soldier of the Union

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    Am currently reading Eric Foner's "The Fiery Trial" which is a history of Lincoln's evolving thoughts upon and the politics of issuing his emancipation proclamation. Events of the war feature prominently, as do domestic and international diplomacy. I can recommend this book, too.

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    If I was being dropped off on a fire lookout for the summer (a job that I did for many summers while in uni), and had to limit my Civil War reading to a select few sources--here they are with no apologies for an obvious southern bias:

    1) James McPherson. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. Oxford University Press, 2003 (952 pages).

    2) The Civil War Times Illustrated Photographic History of the Civil War, Volume I: Fort Sumter to Gettysburg. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers; compact edition edition, 1997 (1376 pages)
    --The Civil War Times Illustrated Photographic History of the Civil War, Volume II: Vicksburg to Appomattox. As above (1366 pages).

    3) Shelby Foote. The Civil War Trilogy Box Set: With American Homer: Reflections on Shelby Foote and His Classic The Civil War: A Narrative. Modern Library; Har/Pap edition, 2011.

    4) General Thomas Jordan and J.p. Pryor. The Campaigns Of General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Of Forrest's Cavalry. Da Capo Press, 1996 (736 pages).

    5) Edward Porter Alexander. Fighting for the Confederacy: The Personal Recollections of General Edward Porter Alexander. Scholarly Book Services Inc; Reprint edition, 2002 (692 pages).

    6) Perry Lentz. The Falling Hills. Scholarly Book Services Inc; New edition edition, 2002 (Orig publ. 1967).

    7) Charles Frazier. Cold Mountain: A Novel. Grove/Atlantic; First Ediiton edition, 1997.


    Notes:

    1) About the best one volume academic study of the conflict.

    2) Over 2000 photographs in this massive collection, many of which you will never see anywhere else.

    3) Simply the best narrative history of the war.

    4) A close look into the mind and soul of Shelby Foote's "other genius" of the war (the first being Lincoln). From Amazon: "...Biographies or studies of him have never totally superseded The Campaigns of General Nathan Bedford Forrest (1868) by General Thomas Jordan (West Pointer and chief of staff to Generals Beauregard, Albert Sidney Johnston, and Braxton Bragg) and the professional journalist J. P. Pryor. Forrest himself gave them complete access to his military papers, spent many hours in interviews with them, and closely supervised their writing. Hence, this work is not just a flat campaign study of Forrest—in effect, it is his military memoir and as such remains the most valuable source on Forrest and his cavalry."

    5) From Amazon: "Georgia native and West Point graduate Alexander was involved in nearly all of the significant battles in the Eastern theater of the Civil War and came into frequent contact with the highest command of the Army of Northern Virginia, including Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and James Longstreet. His perspective on such personalities and on the events unfolding around him is a most valuable one."

    6) An outstanding novel about Forrest's attack on Fort Pillow in 1864. From Amazon: "This 1967 first novel garnered praise for its realistic depiction of the slaves and soldiers of the Civil War. The plot recounts the Fort Pillow massacre in which Confederate forces slaughtered Union soldiers and slaves in the Tennessee outpost."

    7) A very fine novel about a confederate soldier's journey of discovery across the devastated South in North Carolina.

    --Add Michael Shaara's Killer Angels; Oh and throw in Gone With the Wind if you haven't read it. Yes, seriously.
    Last edited by Stauffenberg; May 12th, 2012 at 14:15.
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    Battles and Leaders Of The Civil War
    4 Volumes
    Edited by:Johnson & Buel

    Lee's Lieutenants
    3 Volumes
    By: Douglas Southall Freeman

    The Civil War: A Narrative
    3 Volumes
    By: Shelby Foote

    These are a must read.......!

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    Quote Originally Posted by barkmann44 View Post
    Except maybe Mcphersons"Battle cry of freedom"
    I agree....."Battle cry of Freedom" is excellent.

    For a complete single volume of the Civil War. It can't be beat.

    I plan to check out Stephen Sears and Walter Geer. Thanks.

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