What American Civil War Books Are You Planning On Buying/Reading Next?

R. Evans

Sergeant
Joined
Jan 19, 2013
Location
Salem, Ohio
Forgive me if there is a thread like this around. I did a search and couldn't find anything.:smile:

So here goes. These 3 should be here tomorrow or Saturday. Can't wait to dive in.​
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Peace Society

Corporal
Joined
Jun 25, 2019
Location
Ark Mo line
Currently working through Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson

S. C. Gwynne; Scribner, NY, 2014

Mr. Gwynne was entertaining to listen to when he spoke in Eureka Springs a few years ago. He is a good writer, includes lots of interesting details, and - a first - explanations of each military term, making it easy for the non-military-minded to get a better picture of what is going on.
 

DMH

Cadet
Joined
Jun 3, 2021
Finished Pfanz’s First Day book and can’t speak highly enough of it - it’s thorough and academic but in no way at the expense of readability. That’s perhaps the highest compliment that I can give a book of this nature. He does a masterful job of combining “big picture” military details with the personal anecdotes that make it all human. I also had my copy of Phil Laino’s Gettysburg Campaign Atlas nearby whole reading which was helpful - although, I will say, that the few maps in Pfanz’s book are actually quite good too.

On a personal note, I’m glad that I recently visited Gettysburg before reading this because it made me much more familiar with a lot of the descriptions and able to visualize a lot of what was being described, or even look back at pictures I had taken.

Not sure what I’ll go to next…am considering just moving right into Pfanz’s Second Day book. I also have a pile of other CW (non-Gettysburg) waiting to be read. And, for some reason, have really been interested in World War I lately so I might veer in that direction for a bit.
 

GwilymT

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Location
Pittsburgh
Finished Pfanz’s First Day book and can’t speak highly enough of it - it’s thorough and academic but in no way at the expense of readability. That’s perhaps the highest compliment that I can give a book of this nature. He does a masterful job of combining “big picture” military details with the personal anecdotes that make it all human. I also had my copy of Phil Laino’s Gettysburg Campaign Atlas nearby whole reading which was helpful - although, I will say, that the few maps in Pfanz’s book are actually quite good too.

On a personal note, I’m glad that I recently visited Gettysburg before reading this because it made me much more familiar with a lot of the descriptions and able to visualize a lot of what was being described, or even look back at pictures I had taken.

Not sure what I’ll go to next…am considering just moving right into Pfanz’s Second Day book. I also have a pile of other CW (non-Gettysburg) waiting to be read. And, for some reason, have really been interested in World War I lately so I might veer in that direction for a bit.
Would you recommend reading before a visit?
 

DMH

Cadet
Joined
Jun 3, 2021
Would you recommend reading before a visit?
Yes, I think it could work both ways. As far as understanding Pfanz’s writing/descriptions there is no problem, especially with resources online if you want to try and see a particular site or place in a photo. Also, if you read the book and then visit some of the things you see there could make more sense…for instance, I read certain things in Pfanz that jogged my memory of things that our battlefield guide was saying that I didn’t totally get at the time.

So, in short, I’d say read this at any time!
 

Lubliner

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Yes, I think it could work both ways. As far as understanding Pfanz’s writing/descriptions there is no problem, especially with resources online if you want to try and see a particular site or place in a photo. Also, if you read the book and then visit some of the things you see there could make more sense…for instance, I read certain things in Pfanz that jogged my memory of things that our battlefield guide was saying that I didn’t totally get at the time.

So, in short, I’d say read this at any time!
I am sure it would depend also on how good your memory is. Many battlefields will give much information of what happened there, but without foreknowledge of the battle, it means less. I would read first, visit the battlefield, and then review the book once home. Many will take the book with them as a guide to what they know. It helps piece together parts of the battle that were not envisioned beforehand.
Lubliner.
 

Brenal

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jan 6, 2010
Location
UK
Tom Huntington's Searching for George Gordon Meade arrived in todays post, looking forward to reading it just as soon as I am finished with Thomas Goodrich's War to the Knife. Bleeding Kansas 1854-1861, a really good book which I am re-reading, having first read it about 10 years ago.
 

Pete Longstreet

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Location
Hartford, CT
Just arrived today. Being not too far away from the city now, I look forward to reading it and seeing some of the locations, once the weather cools off a little bit.

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I read it. Excellent read. I couldn't put it down. It really gives a good perspective on the Tullahoma Campaign.
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Member of the Month
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Allan Nivens wrote a vast amount of history, much of it on the Civil War, and also its causes. Has anyone read any of his works, and if so, how are his works; (see list below);
https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/121933.Allan_Nevins
Lubliner.
Some of Nivens' books were required reading at university. His take on American history and on specific Americans is scholarly and exhaustive. He won several Pulitzer prizes for his work but, never one to shrink from controversy, he created the Society of American Historians in a dispute with AHA (apparently Nivens favored a more public-oriented approach to history while criticizing some established historians as "pedants". I haven't read him on the ACW but found his work on the Revolution easy reading and detailed.
 

Lubliner

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Some of Nivens' books were required reading at university. His take on American history and on specific Americans is scholarly and exhaustive. He won several Pulitzer prizes for his work but, never one to shrink from controversy, he created the Society of American Historians in a dispute with AHA (apparently Nivens favored a more public-oriented approach to history while criticizing some established historians as "pedants". I haven't read him on the ACW but found his work on the Revolution easy reading and detailed.
That helps some. I once had three books of his on the Civil War, as a partial set, but they had been so grossly underlined with black magic marker, it made too much distraction to read. Must of been one of those college undergrads!:D
Lubliner.
 

Lincoln56

Corporal
Joined
Jul 24, 2016
Location
Texas
Allan Nivens wrote a vast amount of history, much of it on the Civil War, and also its causes. Has anyone read any of his works, and if so, how are his works; (see list below);
https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/121933.Allan_Nevins
Lubliner.
Think Nevins' 8 volumes are excellent and reflect outstanding scholarship, especially given the time in which he wrote them (1947-1971) when it was more difficult to access the wide range of resources as can be done today. The books were highly regarded and contributed to Nevins' being appointed to head the Civil War Centennial commission from 1961-1966.

Definitely not light reads but comprehensive in scope, well written, and with good pace. Has been quite a while since I read them so can't cite an example of a particular issue and how he describes it versus how some other authors described the same but I do know I value these as a part of my ACW library.

While still available, the offered prices vary considerably. These are in hardcover or paperback for about $3 to $4.00 per volume from Abe Books whereas Amazon wants quite a bit more for theirs ($275.00 for a complete set; $34.00 for an individual book). Ebay has these for slightly higher than Abe but less than Amazon on the few listings I saw.
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Member of the Month
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
That helps some. I once had three books of his on the Civil War, as a partial set, but they had been so grossly underlined with black magic marker, it made too much distraction to read. Must of been one of those college undergrads!:D
Lubliner.
Wasn't me!!!! :sluggish: I believe that there's s special place in H..ll for people who write in books and who paint over wallpaper!
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Member of the Month
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
I love buying a used book where the description is 'light underlining' and when I receive it the appearance is like a CIA redacted document! :D
It is annoying (to say the least). I can't understand why people would pass on a book like this: it isn't as if all people find the same passages enlightening...or enraging.
 
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