Best 2 books on entire Civil War Era

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Norm53

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My choices are Potter's "The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861, for events leading up to the war, and McPherson's "Battle Cry of Freedom, The Civil War Era", for events before and war and the war itself. Everyone agree to this opinion?

(Off-topic: Best for war details is Long's "The Civil War Day by Day, An Almanac 1861-1865.)

Norm
 
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Joshism

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My choices are Potter's "The Impending Crisis, 1848-18651, for events leading up to the war, and McPherson's "Battle Cry of Freedom, The Civil War Era", for events before and war and the war itself. Everyone agree to this opinion?
I absolutely agree.
 
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Norm53

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Welcome from Northern Alabama! If you'd consider a "trilogy" a book, personally I'd replace McPherson with Shelby Foote's "The Civil War: A Narrative"...just a personal preference.
I knew about this famous book, but just began to read the first volume. I like the fact that the author gives equal space to Southern activities, unlike other CW books. At least one critic consider him South-prejudiced, but I didn't notice that from my early perusals. (Aside, I read someplace on the Internet that among the Conf. states, AL lost the 3rd most men in the war, behind VA and NC.)
 
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Coonewah Creek

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(Aside, I read someplace on the Internet that among the Conf. states, AL lost the 3rd most men in the war, behind VA and NC.)
That makes sense, although I haven't looked up that stat recently. But actually my Civil War focus is the 2nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment. My great-grandfather and his older brother were members. I'm originally from West Tennessee, but now find myself in Northern Alabama due to my desire to remain employed!

Welcome again to the forum...
 

Norm53

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That makes sense, although I haven't looked up that stat recently. But actually my Civil War focus is the 2nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment. My great-grandfather and his older brother were members. I'm originally from West Tennessee, but now find myself in Northern Alabama due to my desire to remain employed!

Welcome again to the forum...
It will be a while before I get to regimental histories. Might begin with Corps first to get my mind around it. (TN lost few men. Don't know why, since plenty of fights were there. https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/civil-war-casualties )
 

Norm53

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I actually prefer Allan Nevins' 8-volume Ordeal Of The Union. It is extremely detailed in all aspects of the Civil War era. It's like Battle Cry Of Freedom on steroids. Even though McPherson's book is brilliant, it can't be done in one volume.
True, it's a lot of history. Sth that I'll have to get to. I'm impressed that current readers regard it as accurate, considering that the volumes were published in the 50s. But right now I have to put down the "big picture" books because of my confusion on the sequence of events. To remedy this defect, I am putting together an MS Word doc chronology using Long's Almanac and an Internet list of CW battles. In this regard it would be helpful to have a map of all the Southern railroads with names and major stops because they come up frequently in my sources. If someone can tell me where to find that RR info, I will appreciate it.
 
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True, it's a lot of history. Sth that I'll have to get to. I'm impressed that current readers regard it as accurate, considering that the volumes were published in the 50s. But right now I have to put down the "big picture" books because of my confusion on the sequence of events. To remedy this defect, I am putting together an MS Word doc chronology using Long's Almanac and an Internet list of CW battles. In this regard it would be helpful to have a map of all the Southern railroads with names and major stops because they come up frequently in my sources. If someone can tell me where to find that RR info, I will appreciate it.
See our @DaveBrt . He is the expert on southern railroads.
 

Bruce Vail

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"Battle Cry of Freedom" was for a long time the preferred basic text for college-level Civil War courses.

I'm not sure whether that is still true today, but I believe it is still widely used. Anyone seen any recent surveys on what books are most popular among professors today?
 
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Joshism

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"Battle Cry of Freedom" was for a long time the preferred basic text for college-level Civil War courses.

I'm not sure whether that is still true today, but I believe it is still widely used. Anyone seen any recent surveys on what books are most popular among professors today?
When I took a senior-level Civil War class with Dr. Stephen Engle at FAU in Spring 2013, the textbook was McPherson.

The same semester I also took Senior Seminar in Civil War Era with him and the reading was Potter, McPherson, and the abridged version of Foner's Reconstruction book. Conviently, I had already read Potter a year or so earlier, and had been long planning to read McPherson.
 

W. Richardson

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I actually prefer Allan Nevins' 8-volume Ordeal Of The Union. It is extremely detailed in all aspects of the Civil War era. It's like Battle Cry Of Freedom on steroids. Even though McPherson's book is brilliant, it can't be done in one volume.
It is a wonderful set, and in my opinion a must have in a Civil War library. The research that went into writing the volumes is mind boggling. I don't agree with every conclusion of Nevins but it is a set that can't be beat. I do agree with you that a total history of the Civil War can not be written in one volume.

Respectfully,

William

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Confed-American Flag - Thumbnail.jpg
 

USS ALASKA

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In this regard it would be helpful to have a map of all the Southern railroads with names and major stops because they come up frequently in my sources. If someone can tell me where to find that RR info, I will appreciate it.
Sir, may I submit the following...

'The Railroads of the Confederacy' by Robert C. Black III

1550376345535.png


"Originally published by UNC Press in 1952, The Railroads of the Confederacy tells the story of the first use of railroads on a major scale in a major war. Robert Black presents a complex and fascinating tale, with the railroads of the American South playing the part of tragic hero in the Civil War: at first vigorous though immature; then overloaded, driven unmercifully, starved for iron; and eventually worn out--struggling on to inevitable destruction in the wake of Sherman's army, carrying the Confederacy down with them.

With maps of all the Confederate railroads and contemporary photographs and facsimiles of such documents as railroad tickets, timetables, and soldiers' passes, the book will captivate railroad enthusiasts as well as readers interested in the Civil War."

And great maps.

https://www.amazon.com/Railroads-Co...i_har_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1509634993&sr=1-1

Please also see...

https://www.csa-railroads.com/

If you are looking for books on Civil War Railroads, there are a few listed here - https://civilwartalk.com/threads/civil-war-railroad-books.139935/
112

HTHs,
USS ALASKA
 
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Norm53

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Sir, may I submit the following...

'The Railroads of the Confederacy' by Robert C. Black III

View attachment 292772

"Originally published by UNC Press in 1952, The Railroads of the Confederacy tells the story of the first use of railroads on a major scale in a major war. Robert Black presents a complex and fascinating tale, with the railroads of the American South playing the part of tragic hero in the Civil War: at first vigorous though immature; then overloaded, driven unmercifully, starved for iron; and eventually worn out--struggling on to inevitable destruction in the wake of Sherman's army, carrying the Confederacy down with them.

With maps of all the Confederate railroads and contemporary photographs and facsimiles of such documents as railroad tickets, timetables, and soldiers' passes, the book will captivate railroad enthusiasts as well as readers interested in the Civil War."

And great maps.

https://www.amazon.com/Railroads-Co...i_har_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1509634993&sr=1-1

Please also see...

https://www.csa-railroads.com/

If you are looking for books on Civil War Railroads, there are a few listed here - https://civilwartalk.com/threads/civil-war-railroad-books.139935/
112

HTHs,
USS ALASKA
Thanks for the additional sources.
 

Norm53

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See our @DaveBrt . He is the expert on southern railroads.
Dave came through with flying colors. Since he cited specific B&O locomotives taken by the rebs from Harpers Ferry, I will assume that definitely refutes the historians who say the robbery never happened.
(Wiki link will not print.)
 

Tennisman

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He took 20 years to write it; after buying it, I took 20 years to read it but finally, I have now just finished Shelby Foote's 3 part tome.

I absolutely loved it and am currently reading again the accounts of the major battles but with no disrespect to SF at all, after finding this amazing forum and discovering that depending which source you use, it is believed that there have been in excess of 60,000 books written about the war, I feel as if SF's book has only scratched the surface for me.

Just the other day, I typed into Google, '10 best books on the Civil War' and a lovely list came up on top of which was McPherson's book.

That book (which fits the criteria for this thread) will be my next hit but also, I spotted a book about the Army of the Potomac which looks fascinating too, so that too will have to be purchased.
 
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Norm53

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When I took a senior-level Civil War class with Dr. Stephen Engle at FAU in Spring 2013, the textbook was McPherson.

The same semester I also took Senior Seminar in Civil War Era with him and the reading was Potter, McPherson, and the abridged version of Foner's Reconstruction book. Conviently, I had already read Potter a year or so earlier, and had been long planning to read McPherson.
I started my CW studies last year with Potter and McPherson, guided to them by Wiki references and Amazon reader reviews. Read the unabridged Foner the year before when I was catching up on the 60s Civil Right Movement. Seems I'm in good scholarly hands. This forum will likely enhance my studies.
 
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