Most Influential Civil War Fiction

JKT

Private
Joined
Mar 31, 2017
Gone with the Wind (still holds up); Red Badge of Courage (phenomenal especially since written by young non veteran author); Killer Angels; and Cold Mountain (great movie too).
 

mofederal

Major
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Location
Southeast Missouri
My Enemy My Brother
The Killer Angels
Woe to Live On
North and South Trilogy
The Damned At Petersburg
The Last Plantation
When This Cruel War is Over
Faded Coat Of Union Blue
Borderland 1,2 and 3.
Cut To The Heart
Marching Through Culpeper
Bold Sons of Erin
I would also like to include: The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford it gives a lot of insight into the mind of James. I know it is postwar.
 

Booklady

Corporal
Joined
Mar 19, 2017
Location
New England
There was a recent thread on listing titles that each poster found personally shaped their understanding of the Civil War. I thought I'd list a few of the fictional treatments of the War I've loved and encourage other posters to do the same. Maybe someone will find something worth reading in our plague year.

Killer Angels Of course.

To Play for a Kingdom. A novel where a platoon of the 14th Brooklyn fights and between battles, plays a series of baseball games with a Confederate unit during the Overland Campaign

Miss Ravenel's Conversion Written a couple of years after the war by former Union officer, its a fascinating account of battle, freedpeople, Confederates, Unionists, heroes, heroines, anti-heros, femme fatales, double dealing and generally a good read. Needs its own mini-series.

Little Women The war is very much way in the background, like a novel set on the homefront in WWII. Still good. Read March and found it too modern in tone.

Uncle Tom's Cabin Tangled Victorian prose and plots to be sure. But very good in places. George, Eliza and her baby must flee the United States to Canada, like East Germans coming over the Berlin Wall in the Cold War, slave catchers at their heels. Tom's battle of will and faith with the evil Simon Legree, a black Christ dying for America's sins

John Brown's Body by Stephen Vincent Benet. Its an epic poem, very much of its mid 20th century time. I read it in the 1970s first and loved it. I reread part of it when I found it in a library booksale.

Red Badge of Courage This needs a new movie treatment.

Here is where I make the confession that will sink me in the estimation of my fellow posters: I haven't read Gone With the Wind. Yet.
I'm three chapters into Play for a Kingdom. I wish he hadn't thrown quite so many characters at us right at the beginning, but he's got me feeling sorry for the second lieutenant anyway. Hopefully all these guys will sort themselves out as the story progresses. Can't wait for the baseball to start.
 

Pete Longstreet

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Location
Hartford, CT
I know it was mentioned previously... But Shiloh by Shelby Foote was phenomenal. I couldn't put it down and read it in 2 days. I usually don't read fiction at all... but I plan on rereading Shiloh.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
There hasn't been a treatment that reaches the level of Tolstoy's War and Peace. The ancient regime, represented by Robert E. Lee gives war to the near barbarian Ulysses S. Grant. Longstreet, Ewell and Sherman, watch it happen. No one has drawn the female characters like Elizabeth Blair Lee that would drive the story.
 

JKT

Private
Joined
Mar 31, 2017
I know it was mentioned previously... But Shiloh by Shelby Foote was phenomenal. I couldn't put it down and read it in 2 days. I usually don't read fiction at all... but I plan on rereading Shiloh.
That’s me..forget fiction! But if ole Shelby Foote could keep me aboard his nearly 3000 page the Civil War, I’ll take your advice about Shiloh. Thanks, a fellow Old Warhorse fan.
 

Dave Hull

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jul 28, 2011
Location
Northern Virginia
While not the typical work of fiction, the backstory and war time events of DC Comics Jonah Hex in the early to mid 70's was fascinating, as an anti hero considered by all sides, North, South and Natives, to be a traitor and blood thirsty killer.
 

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