Civil War Books- Recommended Reads

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ole

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Sam:

Just skimmed abebooks.com. Most expensive was $2500 and it sounded like garbage. (Hint: Booksellers sell books for what they think they can get -- look through all that match your wants.) Found a much better sounding set for $750.

It seems that the green bound is becoming scarce. There were more, at least in the sample I looked at, of the delux binding: 3/4 morocco and brown boards.

Didn't go much further down the list, but there were 277 listings (down to a $1 paperback). Booksellers standards of condition apply which roughly translates in descending order as: new, as new, near new, very fine, fine, very good, good, ... fair, poor, and reading copy. As these are from memory, don't take my word for it as I read the specifications required for rating a book at the same site.

The site is very good about policing interractions. I've never gotten a book that wasn't "as described." Give yourself plenty of time to cruise. If you're going to read through 50 selections, it takes some time.

Final recommend. Don't wait too long. That bookseller with the $750 choice either won't have it next week, or he will realize that he can get $1250 for it.
(For a hoot, search for the shoulder-strap edition of Sherman's Memoirs.)
Second mortgages are readily available.

Ole
 

ole

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Gary:

I prefer hard-bound and first edition. (Unless they're totally out of sight, I'm not THAT crazy.) There are roughly 68 feet of CW related books. It is a 30-year assembly of topics that interested me at one time and of books that were too inexpensive to pass up. Then, joining this forum and the continuous reference to must-read added a few.

Chuck buys books for the information he can derive from them. I buy them because I love books. (As a child, I'd read every word on every cereal box every morning. By the time I was 12 I'd gone through 2 sets of encyclopaedias and every book the lending library brought by weekly. Had some of that devotion applied to text books, I might be better off today.) Just this summer I weeded duplicates out of the library. Last winter, I weeded out tax deductibles from my general fiction section.

One winter project is to reorganize my "room" to open up wall space for filing cabinets. But first, I must dispose of decades of accumulated detritus so I can prepare my room for human habitation. That means moving the books (did I mention that I also have 28 feet of fiction and a greater number of feet for history books other than the CW?). When I pass on, my advice to sweetie will be to print out the inventories, take her valuables, and set fire to the house!

I ran a count of the books I've read as opposed to what I have. (Obviously, I've read all the fiction.) But I'm not going to divulge the figure. I didn't count those I've started and lost interest in, and I was comparing my memory with the list, but the percentage is embarras sing to say the least.

But so long as someone I respect says this is a good book, I'm going to try to add it to my library. Maybe next year I can shake the addiction.

Rambling. Sorry.
Ole
 

samgrant

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Not looking to buy - it belonged to my father, now by my mother. I'm next in line for it. Very cool books with the facsimilies of things like the Appomattox terms, etc.

Thanks much for the info.

I imagine there are still many of these out there as it was one of the best selling books of its time, for one, and also folks might be more likely to keep such a thing as an historical artifact.
 
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samgrant

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In the Presence of Mine Enemies -War in the Heart of America, 1859 - 1863.

I'm about 4/5th into this book.

It is an interesting reflection of two 'similar' counties, one North and one South, approx. 140 miles apart, as to the local and personal concerns and issues of the events, politics, and consequent wartime realities of two distinct, but similar (before the war, and after the fighting started) communities. From diaries, letters, and newspapers, etc.
 

gary

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Ole - I just figured out that I have 66 feet of shelves loaded with CW books alone. Too bad we don't live within driving distance. I'd love to see what you have. As for being 1st editions, I don't mind reprints. Like your friend, I'm after the information and not the collectibility.
 

memphis

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One of the best I ever read was fiction, it was called The Black Flower by Howard Bahr. It sucked me right in and was about the Battle of Franklyn. I would also recommend John O. Casler's 4 Years in the Stonewall Brigade and Robertson's book on Stonewall Jackson.

Bill
 
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matthew mckeon

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This isn't a civil war book, but its interesting in view of the attempt on other thread to evaluate historical documents.

"My Detachment" by Tracy Kidder is about his Vietnam service with a rear area radio group tasked with listening in on communist transmissions. It was dull, if exacting work, and perfectly safe: Kidder never saw an enemy and only rarely saw American combat troops.

However during this time, Kidder wrote to friends and a girlfriend back in the States increasingly dramatic stories of experiencing combat, befriending and supporting Vietnamese orphans and finally, taking a Vietnamese mistress. In this memoir, he describes this as a terrible self centeredness, a desire to make himself appear like a hero to his friends.

I was thinking: his letters, which after all are contemporary documents, by the rules of the research game, should be the most reliable eyewitness description of Vietnam: yet Kidder reveals them to be fabrications. How many civil war documents are similarly "enhanced?"
 

matthew mckeon

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Can anyone suggest a good, recent bio of Robert E. Lee?

Any opinion about "Lee Considered" which I haven't read yet?
 

samgrant

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I 'considered' Lee Considered, but opted for Lee the Soldier which techically is not a biography, but is a collection of essays examining various aspects of his campaigns and generalship.

The 'classic' bio is D. S. Freeman's 4 vol. work, Lee, of which a single vol. abridged version is available (Iread that one).

There are probably more books about Lee than any other person of the era, other than Lincoln.

Wait a few weeks and you'll probably get dozens of sugestions.
 
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milhistbuff1

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Unlike some on this board, i do not hold Lee's generalship in very high esteem, a book that provides that perspective is the 1998 R. E. Lee's Civil War by Bevin Alexander. I highly recomend it's refreshing look at Lee's decisions during the war. I've cited it in other threads on the DDMB.
Respectfully,
Matt
 

ole

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Matthew:

Books on Lee tend to split. Some are overly hagiographic and others go out of their way to find fault. I'd lean toward a collection of essays to obtain balance.

Ole
 

RebProf

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RebProf

Out recently:
Confederate Emancipation by Bruce Levine. Oxford University Press
Available Amazon and History Book Club--probably others as well.

This scholarly book is a discussion of the various plans put forward in the Confederacy during the war to end or ameliorate slavery. In part, the book is a reaction to those who have emphasized Black Confederates to the point that there are said to have been thousands of African Americans fighting for the South. However, the book also recognizes the important support the black population gave to the Southern war effort and suggests that one rationale for Confederate Emancipation was a response to this support.

In the end, emancipation failed in the South and the author discusses several reasons why.

This book deals with an important topic but it is not a gripping account of battles and campaigns. It is a good read for those who wish to pursue an important political and social theme from the war years.
 
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