Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 35

Thread: Recommended American Civil War Readings

  1. #1
    Staff Emeritus
    Military Professional
    Defense Professional Shek's Avatar
    Join Date
    23 Feb 05
    Location
    Krblachistan
    Posts
    11,636

    Recommended American Civil War Readings

    Last edited by Shek; 24 Mar 07, at 19:26.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

  2. #2
    Banned Defense Professional Bluesman's Avatar
    Join Date
    24 Nov 04
    Location
    Misawa Airbase, Japan
    Posts
    8,578
    Battle Cry of Freedom: I am fairly well-read on the ACW, but I learned LOTS from this one. My highest recommendation.

    Shelby Foote's trilogy: I have NEVER been as engaged when reading history, and I read a LOT of history. My highest recommendation.

    Landscape Turned Red: An outstanding account of the day's events, as well as terrific insights into the before and after of the battle. I used it as my guide book for my own personal 'staff ride' on Antitam National Battlefield. My highest recommendation.

    Team of Rivals: Reading it now. The most important aspect of the ACW, the political angle in Washington. More than any other battlefiled, HERE is where the war was guided and decided. If you want to understand the War, don't read about the famous battles; read about the politics. My highest recommendation.

    The Killer Angels: Right behind my Flashman, Hornblower and Aubrey series, there's THIS incredibly vivid and engaging account of the personalities and the realities of the Gettysburg Campaign. I never thought a work of fiction could teach me this much about my most beloved are of study, but Scharra is faithful to and is singulalry eqipped to tell the story. My highest recommendation.

    Gingrich's Gettysburg: Worth reading for the alternate historical outcome. I enjoyed it, and it certainly is a tale that captures all the 'waht-ifs' that the battle has generated ever since Pickett marched into glorious destruction. Recommended.

    If y'all think I was too free with the 'My highest recommendation', think again. shek has managed to list the absolute top-flight list of the books I have personal knowledge of, and it is no exageration to say that at the completion of each of the ones I've listed, you'll know what all Americans SHOULD know about the most crucial aspect of their history, and WHY it has made us into the country we are today.

    Well, actually...you may want to read those first two through TWICE. I did, and came away with even more than the first time.

  3. #3
    Contributor
    Join Date
    24 Feb 07
    Posts
    342
    Look up Shelby Foote best Civil War author on the Civil War imho.

  4. #4
    Staff Emeritus
    Military Professional
    Defense Professional Shek's Avatar
    Join Date
    23 Feb 05
    Location
    Krblachistan
    Posts
    11,636
    Blue,
    Thanks for the response. I guess I should have indicated which ones I have already read, which I have now done. I concur with your thoughts on those that I have already read - I decided to move Words that Remade America to the politics section, as this book gets at how the Gettysburg Address reshaped our national self-image from "the United States" (think plural) to "The United States" (think singular). Some of the portions of the book are slow and cumbersome reading, especially if you are not well versed in the Greek classics (I am not, but have read some of the more pertinent texts such as Thucydides' "History of the Peloponnesian War" so I was able to muddle through it), but it is worth it to muddle through those portions for the insight gained from the other sections.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

  5. #5
    Administrator
    Lei Feng Protege
    Defense Professional
    Join Date
    23 Aug 05
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Posts
    12,931
    shek,

    i thought gingrich's book was interesting...not least of which, the author's conclusion that a loss at gettysburg and the later destruction of the army of the potomac...would mean the civil war ends earlier, with union victory
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  6. #6
    Staff Emeritus
    Military Professional
    Defense Professional Shek's Avatar
    Join Date
    23 Feb 05
    Location
    Krblachistan
    Posts
    11,636
    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    shek,

    i thought gingrich's book was interesting...not least of which, the author's conclusion that a loss at gettysburg and the later destruction of the army of the potomac...would mean the civil war ends earlier, with union victory
    Astralis,

    Although I am not a civil war buff, I believe their thoughts are that the Union had the logistical infrastructure, but lacked the generalship to take advantage of it. Combine that with the need for the South to obtain a decisive victory to prior to the 1864 elections and the sense for the kill of General Lee, I think that the scenario is plausible.

    What I need to do at some point is to read all of Lincoln's correspondence with the Generals. The few that I have read are quite fascinating.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

  7. #7
    Contributor
    Join Date
    13 Dec 06
    Location
    Vancouver
    Posts
    347

    Contemporary Sources are Superb

    Students of the American Civil War are blessed with an abundance of extant firsthand accounts. Perhaps the best among them are the memoirs of Generals Grant and Sherman, which are very well-written and relatively free of apologetics.

    They are both available on Project Gutenberg, so you're just a few clicks away from some very good reading:

    http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/4367

    http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/4361

  8. #8
    Banned Defense Professional Bluesman's Avatar
    Join Date
    24 Nov 04
    Location
    Misawa Airbase, Japan
    Posts
    8,578
    Grant's memoirs are almost unique in that he has rendered one of the most honest accounts of his times - bad and good. THAT is fidelity to the truth, and whatever other faults the man had, self-agrandizement wasn't one of 'em.

    He was a helluva man, and when he took the Army of the Potomac past the fork in the road and on along the road to more and even worse battles after the meat grinder of the Wilderness...it was a moment that had the absolute timestamp of history on it, and it literally saved the Union for the rest of us, and the entire world, too.

    And the Army knew it, too: right then and on the spot, each regiment began a spontaneous cheer as the passed that fork, some marching to their deaths, but they knew their commander would FIGHT, and eventually, he would WIN.

    And this backs up what I've always said: the one thing even the dimmest soldier understands is VICTORY. I've served under tough commanders, and I don't mind if they're hard as nails. But I want to WIN, and if he's a winner...I'll follow him.

  9. #9
    Senior Contributor Amled's Avatar
    Join Date
    10 Sep 04
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    1,443
    Here’s a couple I found interesting.
    Quantrill’s War by Duane Schultz
    Soul Of The Lion by Willard M. Wallace a biography of Joshua L. Chamberlain
    High Tide at Gettysburg by Glenn Tucker
    When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow. - Anais Nin

  10. #10

    Military Professional
    Military Professional S2's Avatar
    Join Date
    11 Sep 06
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    10,807

    Bruce Catton

    I'm sorta a Bruce Catton man. Loved his books. Can't think of one that was a poor read. A STILLNESS AT APPOMATTOX, GRANT TAKES COMMAND, AND MR. LINCOLN'S ARMY.

    The Killer Angels remains a wonderful point of departure for Gettysburg.

  11. #11
    Global Moderator
    Military Professional
    Defense Professional
    Albany Rifles's Avatar
    Join Date
    27 Apr 07
    Location
    Prince George, VA
    Posts
    8,232
    A rambling, off the top of my head listing.

    Western Theater

    Peter Cozzens:

    The Darkest Days of the War: The Battles of Iuka and Corinth

    No Better Place To Die: The Battle of Stones River
    This Terrible Sound: The Battle of Chickamauga
    The Shipwreck of Their Hopes: The Battles for Chattanooga
    Wiley Sword

    Shiloh, Bloody April

    The Confederacy's Last Hurrah: Spring Hill, Franklin, and Nashville

    Glenn Tucker Chickamauga: Bloody Battle in The West

    Eastern Theater

    Steven Sears

    Landscape Turned Red
    Richmond Redeemed

    Gordon Rhea
    The Battle of the Wilderness, May 5-6, 1864
    The Battles for Spotsylvania Court House and the Road to Yellow Tavern, May 7-12, 1864
    To the North Anna River, May 13-26, 1864
    Cold Harbor: Grant and Lee, May 26 - June 3, 1864
    Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg! by George C. Rabble

    A Wilson Greene
    Breaking the Backbone of the Rebellion
    Civil War Petersburg
    “We had been hopelessly labouring to plough waste lands; to make nationality grow in a place full of the certainty of God… Among the tribes our creed could be only like the desert grass – a beautiful swift seeming of spring; which, after a day’s heat, fell dusty.”
    ― T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph

  12. #12
    Old Cold Warrior Military Professional GAU-8's Avatar
    Join Date
    14 Feb 07
    Location
    Grapevine, Texas
    Posts
    611
    Link: Last Chance For Victory

    "Last Chance For Victory"

    Believe it or not, but another book about Gettysburg. Excellent read.


    That Devil Forrest. The Life of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest.
    J. A. Wyeth.

    "First published in 1899, this book is based almost entirely on accounts of those who knew Forrest personally and on contemporary records. Grant called him "that devil Forrest." Sherman, it is reported, considered him "the most remarkable man our civil war produced on either side." Without military education or training, he became the scourge of Grant, Sherman, and almost every other Union general who fought in Tennessee, Alabama, or Kentucky. Paper. 614 pp."
    Last edited by GAU-8; 28 Apr 07, at 20:44.

  13. #13

    Military Professional
    Military Professional S2's Avatar
    Join Date
    11 Sep 06
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    10,807

    Jeffrey D. Wert

    Just finished his bio, "James Longstreet- The Confederacy's Most Controversial Soldier".

    A good read of a complex man unfairly derided by his peers. As much as anything, it illuminated for me the intense personal jealousies that plagued the command hierarchy of the south.

  14. #14
    Global Moderator
    Military Professional
    Defense Professional
    Albany Rifles's Avatar
    Join Date
    27 Apr 07
    Location
    Prince George, VA
    Posts
    8,232

    Jeff Wert

    I went to a symposium a few years ago on the Corps Commanders of the Army of Northern Virginia. Jeff Wert was one of the speakers and of course he talked about Old Pete. He broke up the crowd when he remarked that Longstreet was the best of Lee's corps commanders....but he also was the only Confederate general to lose to Burnside!! (Knoxvill 63)

    Jeff Wert made a great point when he pointed out that Longstreet led the 4 greatest infantry charges in the Civil War; 2nd Manassas, Gettysburg, Chickamauga & The Wilderness.

    Always thought LOngstreet got short shrift by the Lost Cause folks.
    “We had been hopelessly labouring to plough waste lands; to make nationality grow in a place full of the certainty of God… Among the tribes our creed could be only like the desert grass – a beautiful swift seeming of spring; which, after a day’s heat, fell dusty.”
    ― T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph

  15. #15
    Senior Contributor Amled's Avatar
    Join Date
    10 Sep 04
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    1,443
    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post

    Always thought LOngstreet got short shrift by the Lost Cause folks.
    ...and especially by Early!
    When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow. - Anais Nin

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 125
    Last Post: 21 Jun 08,, 04:33
  2. ‘US had designs on Iran before Iraq invasion’
    By Ray in forum The Middle East and North Africa
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 01 May 08,, 17:29
  3. Afghanistan and the Future of Warfare
    By troung in forum Military Aviation
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 23 Feb 08,, 00:59
  4. Articles and links for the Military Professional
    By Officer of Engineers in forum The Staff College
    Replies: 115
    Last Post: 20 Nov 06,, 15:28

Share this thread with friends:

Share this thread with friends:

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •