Civil War fiction books like or dislike or mehh?

unicornforge

First Sergeant
Joined
Feb 14, 2007
Location
Near Gettysburg, PA
There are plenty of interesting and accurate first hand accounts to read. I would just get confused between reality and stuff made up. No I have absolutely no intention of reading any historical fiction.
 

Ceridwen

Cadet
Joined
Nov 17, 2018
Location
Kansas
And don't forget Shiloh: A Novel by Shelby Foote. It tells the story of the battle through the eyes of a number of fictional characters. I remember it as being historically accurate and well written.
I loved this book. I read it about 10 years ago and thought it was great. Somehow in the move I made in 2013 my copy got misplaced.
 

Jagsdomain

Cadet
Joined
Dec 28, 2019
Ture.
But according to Ryan Johnson 1 draft is the best! Lol
Its ture and now I am writing back story for my charotcures so its set
Unfortunately I've been writing long enough that it's finally sunk it - all writing is rewriting. It's painful, frustrating, aggravating - but it always ends up making the original better. You just have to embrace the process and not fight it... too much.
 

Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
I write historical novels about the Civil War (5 so far), and my firm opinion is that Ralph Peters is the best CW writer out there.
I just read Thomas Fleming's Secret Trial of Robert E. Lee and enjoyed it. I can see how he used it to build the arguments he would later use in his A Disease in the Public Mind book that provides his analysis of the causes of the Civil War.

I reviewed it in the link below:

 
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
I wish I could remember the specific title, but about 30 years ago I came across a Civil War novel which immediately got its hooks into me. To begin with it began with a Confederate soldier convalescing in a hospital in AUGUSTA, GA. my home town. Upon his discharge he returns to his home in north central Ga with his new bride. A short time later he returns to the AofT and participates in the Battle of Kennesaw Mt and most of the battles for Atlanta. Great huh?

O, did I forget to mention that his surname was McKeown which happens to be my own name and a somewhat unusual one at that both in spelling and pronunciation. And as if that was not enough of a coincidence following the conclusion to the story there was an appendix 4 or 5 pages long with a list of the names of the members of his regiment who ALL shared the same last name--officers, non coms and enlisted.

I believe the regiment was in fact from Chester SC which is where the McKeown clan migrated from southern Scotland and Northern Ireland to a land grant in the Carolinas from George II. I was told by my grandmother that she had attended family get togethers there in the 30's, 40's, 50's. She said that the phone book had 1 page A-L, 1 page N-Z and about 30 pages in between with nothing but McKeowns.
 

Cavalier

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jul 20, 2019
Back in the 1970s there was a fictional book which concerned a civil war regiment taken, I believe after the 40th New York. I don't recall the title. It had the usual fault of civil war fiction of that time, in my opinion, of describing civil war combat with the author apparently knowing very little about it. The officers and men all ran around like they were all WW ll snipers.

Of course most of the characters reflected opinions more common in the twentieth century.

I did read Killer Angels however.

Sometimes, as they say, the devil is in the details. For the most part I avoid civil war fiction.

John
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
With few exceptions, I can't read fiction or watch movies about the Civil War. I can't close my CW mental file drawer & just enjoy the movie. I just get exasperated. Last summer, I contributed to a seminar where several CW fictional books, including Killer Angles & Red Badge of Courage, were discussed. My contribution was to provide examples where authors had rearranged historical events in their narratives. We watched part of Audey Murphy's Red Badge of Courage movie. I finally had to close my eyes.
 

Rank and File

Corporal
Joined
Mar 25, 2015
Location
California
My biggest objection to fictionalized accounts of the Civil War is with people who believe it is fact. Dig deeper people to get the real story.
 

Joshism

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
With few exceptions, I can't read fiction or watch movies about the Civil War. I can't close my CW mental file drawer & just enjoy the movie. I just get exasperated. Last summer, I contributed to a seminar where several CW fictional books, including Killer Angles & Red Badge of Courage, were discussed. My contribution was to provide examples where authors had rearranged historical events in their narratives. We watched part of Audey Murphy's Red Badge of Courage movie. I finally had to close my eyes.

I think that's true of pretty much all historical fiction, books or especially movies.

Ultimately, fiction is most concerned with telling a good story, whereas nonfiction isn't supposed to let a good story get in the way of the facts.

My biggest objection to fictionalized accounts of the Civil War is with people who believe it is fact. Dig deeper people to get the real story.

Pffft...next thing you're going to tell us is watching "House" doesn't make you a doctor and watching "CSI" doesn't make you a criminologist! :wink:
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I think that's true of pretty much all historical fiction, books or especially movies.

Ultimately, fiction is most concerned with telling a good story, whereas nonfiction isn't supposed to let a good story get in the way of the facts.



Pffft...next thing you're going to tell us is watching "House" doesn't make you a doctor and watching "CSI" doesn't make you a criminologist! :wink:
As Twain, amougst others said, the difference between history & fiction is that fiction has to make sense.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I work as an editor and have to tell my author clients this all the time. :bounce:
For much of my life I was a commercial artist/illustrator. Occasionally somebody who's entire life experience consisted of going to school would ask me to look at their book. Needless to say, they were angling for me to illustrate it for free. The other truism that you have to write about what you know about was never more true.
 

Zella

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 23, 2018
For much of my life I was a commercial artist/illustrator. Occasionally somebody who's entire life experience consisted of going to school would ask me to look at their book. Needless to say, they were angling for me to illustrate it for free. The other truism that you have to write about what you know about was never more true.
I spend a fair amount of my editing days politely pointing out that things don't work like whatever it is that is being described. :giggle:
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I think that's true of pretty much all historical fiction, books or especially movies.

Ultimately, fiction is most concerned with telling a good story, whereas nonfiction isn't supposed to let a good story get in the way of the facts.



Pffft...next thing you're going to tell us is watching "House" doesn't make you a doctor and watching "CSI" doesn't make you a criminologist! :wink:
There was a guy at the seminar who wanted to argue with me about the rearranging that Sharra did in Killer Angles. He had practically memorized it. He was genuinely shocked that the book wasn't a literal history.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I spend a fair amount of my editing days politely pointing out that things don't work like whatever it is that is being described. :giggle:
The hardest thing that I deal with when someone wants me to help them with a Civil War era story is that they don't know enough to understand the background enough to grasp the meaning of what I am telling them. (that is one heck of a sentence.

I have become quite fond of the cryptic style of writing necessary for posting on forums like this one. You will not be surprised that I use a lot of graphics in my posts. Maps can be very illuminating. I really enjoy doing the visual research.
 

Pete Longstreet

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Location
Hartford, CT
I've actually never read a historical fiction book. It's always been nonfiction. My mind is programmed on facts. And I think I'd have a hard time wavering from those facts. I would probably keep comparing the fiction to fact. But I suppose I should give it a try.
 
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