Civil War Books- Recommended Reads

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JohnW in E.TN

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samgrant said:
Non-fiction Naratives: Anthing by Bruce Catton, Shehby Foote's 3 vol. work.

Those are the best and most enjyable of overviews, with some detail, of the war, in my opinion.

If you want battle details, look elsewhere.
Sam,

I'll second your opinion of Foote's trilogy. It is truly incredible. It started out slow for me in the 1st volume, but by the time I finished the 3rd, I hated to see it end, and talk about a huge sense of loss when it was finished! I'll probably reread them again in a couple of months. Foote's narrative prose is a thing of beauty. A friend of mine who was an English major, but loved history, said that he had to be careful reading Foote, because it would subconsciously influence his own writing style when doing college papers.

John W.
 

lrd89

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Anything by Bruce Catton
Gordon Rhea's series on the Overland Campaign
Stephen Sears: Gettysburg, Landscape Turned Red, Chancellorsville are all very good
I've read Shelby Foote's first two volumes and especially enjoyed the second vol. I'll work on volume three sometime this fall.

Right now I'm reading 2 books that ought to keep me busy for awhile:
Rhea's Spotsylvania/Yellow Tavern
Stonewall in the Valley by Robert Tanner
 
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r_moody

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Soldier of Tennessee: General Alexander P. Stewart and the Civil War in the West
by Sam Elliott

Southern Invincibility: A History of the Confederate Heart
by Wiley Sword

Last Stand in the Carolinas: The Battle of Bentonville
by Mark L. Bradley

Chicago's Battery Boys: The Chicago Mercantile Battery and the Civil War in the Western Theater
by Rick Williams

Don't skip these excellent works.
Rick
 

ole

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Excellent recommendations, gentlemen. I have my sights set on "The Battery Boys," but will wait for it to show up used or remaindered.

Ole
 

nbforrest

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Same here. As much as I love the Red River campaign, I can't cough up that much money just now. But Savas always does a good job with its books.
 
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r_moody

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nbforrest said:
Same here. As much as I love the Red River campaign, I can't cough up that much money just now. But Savas always does a good job with its books.
The price is worth the quality of the Book. The Chicago Battery Boys is the finest book I have read in years. 636 pages of outstanding material. You actually feel like you are there. Its the best book on Artillery and their unique needs of all time.
 

ole

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Rick:

You were there so this should be no surprise to you. $40 bucks for a really great book on a very interesting unit is not going to slip by my sweety. I have neglected to mention that there is about 50k on the walls of my room, and it would be a bit silly for me to bring that up. Whatever the publisher says, I will wait until Hamilton picks it up as a remainder or the used ones start to show on Abebooks. I can sympathize with Ted's need to make a living, but I am in no way required to subsidize it.
Ole
 

lrd89

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My mom got me a paperback copy of "Battle Cry of Freedom" for $1, used but in excellent condition. Thanks Mom.:D
 
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ole

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Ird89:

Good for mom! If you wait long enough, nearly all the titles become available for a buck or two.

I can usually wait a few months, as I will never get around to reading everything, but then that book starts glowing in the nether reaches of my mind, and sooner or later, I must have it.

Go figure!
Ole
 

gary

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George Peck's book, "How Pvt. Peck Put Down the Rebellion." Now in paperback, it's singularly the most funny account I've read of the war.

Robert Krick's "The Smoothbore Volley That Doomed the Confederacy."

Stephen Wise, "The Gate of Hell." An excellent account of the Siege of Charleston with particular attention to Battery Wagner on Morris Island.
 

ole

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Every now and then a writer shows up who just has the knack. Foote was one. Catton was another. There are a good many who are obviously scholars, but tedious reads. If Joseph Wambaugh were a historian, I'd have him enshrined.

I like Clancy, but his historicals are tedious. On the other hand, I have no problem with Le Carre, who others find a bit complex. Davis is frequently crystal clear and occasionally overedited, which is a bit unusual, as I'm certain he edits his own stuff.

McDonough always has something worthwhile to say, but I have to dig for it. Dowdey gets a little turgid on occasion, but Cozzen's is always enjoyable, if a bit light in the "new fact" department. Sword has never disappointed, and I am always awed at Grant's easy command of the language. Commager and Freeman have so much to offer, but they do present a fair degree of effort.

So, it all really comes down to a preference, doesn't it? All of them are worthwhile, some of them make you work for it. But Foote and Catton were masters, weren't they?

Ole
 
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ole

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BTW;

I am currently reading the Beringer, Hattaway, Jones, Still book, "Why the South Lost the Civil War." It is SO crammed with information, that I'm going to have to stop at Staples or B&N tomorrow to purchase some more FLYSNs. When I finish it, I'm going to have to go over the pages I've marked and spend another week at it.

It's heavy with opinion, but the opinion is adequately footnoted with reasonably believable sources. It's opened my eyes a few degrees and given me some excellent food for thought.

Ole
 

r_moody

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ole said:
Rick:

You were there so this should be no surprise to you. $40 bucks for a really great book on a very interesting unit is not going to slip by my sweety. I have neglected to mention that there is about 50k on the walls of my room, and it would be a bit silly for me to bring that up. Whatever the publisher says, I will wait until Hamilton picks it up as a remainder or the used ones start to show on Abebooks. I can sympathize with Ted's need to make a living, but I am in no way required to subsidize it.
Ole
I got lucky and got one from freight damage for 1/2 price. I understand Teds issue but I am with you. I'll get it where I can for the best price.
Rick
 
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gary

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$40k of books on your walls, Ole? Not to doubt you, but what are you buying that could amount to $40k? Is everything from Broadfoot publishing where cheap is not an option or is everything an autographed first edition? I spent in excess of $10k on books in researching the blackpowder sharpshooter and I have six bookcases (5 or 6 shelf) filled exclusively with books from the blackpowder era.
 

mobile_96

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Gary,
I've seen ole's walls of books, and $40K sounds reasonable to me.
As for myself, a rough estimate would be around $13-15K for my 500 or so books thats I've purchased since about 1997. And, actually, some were from Broadfoot, including 'Southern Bivouac' and 'Papers of the Military Historical Society of Massachusetts'. Sometimes you just gotta dig deep for what you might consider important books, such as Bearss 3 on Vicksburg for $125, the 3 volume Bachedler Papers:Gettysburg In Their Own Words(+ 7 maps)at $110, and the Diary of Gideon Welles, at $110 for 3 volumes, (long out of print, and well worth the price-others were asking $150 for the set, and in worse condition). So you can see I'm a big fan of Morningside Books, besides buying thru abe, scholarsbooksshelf and Hamiltonbooks, and even Strand in NY.
And I have others I've paid up to $75 each. I also have Virtual Gettysburg(CD)-by Stephen Recker, a steal at a pre-publication price of $75 instead of the present $125(?).
Don't take long!
Chuck
 
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ole

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Sam:
Best bet is to log on to abebooks.com. And I understand that there are some out there worth in excess of $5000, specifical (IIRC) a few sets signed by Mark Twain.

I bought a set about 20 years ago and it cost about $85. It's condition was just above "reading copy," (PS, I know you won't be fooled, but it doesn't hurt to mention it in case others might be: Grant's signature is a facsimile and occurs in all the initial printings.)

Good hunting. Christmas is coming -- how many devoted relatives do you have?

Ole
 
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