You’re looking for the Best Civil War Books 2021? The Civil War has been cemented in history since the most bizarre war fought on American land. For four decades, the Union soldiers of the North fought the Confederates of the South, expecting to overthrow the establishment of slavery. This resulted in the reduction of over 600,000 lives and, in the end, the assassination of President Lincoln in 1865.
Many Civil War novels have been written because the first shot rang out in 1861. Though no single publication can try to pay for the unlimited tragedies or significant events over those four decades, the following functions add valuable new views to the storyline. This listing will meet any Civil War history enthusiast, from fictionalized reports and combat retellings to soldiers’ eye-opening diaries.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top Rated Best Civil War Books To Read
- 1.1 Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant by Ulysses S. Grant
- 1.2 The Confederacy’s Last Hurrah by Wiley Sword
- 1.3 Mr. Lincoln’s Army by Bruce Catton
- 1.4 The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner
- 1.5 Battle Cry of Freedom by James. M. McPherson
- 1.6 The Civil War: A Narrative by Shelby Foote
- 1.7 Memoirs by Ulysses S. Grant
- 1.8 This Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust
- 1.9 Sherman’s March by Burke Davis
- 1.10 The Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War by Howard Bahr
- 1.11 Mothers of Invention by Drew Gilpin Faust
- 1.12 Forged in Battle by Joseph T. Glatthaar
- 1.13 Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom by William Craft
- 1.14 Lincoln Reconsidered by David Herbert Donald
- 1.15 Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory by David W. Blight
- 1.16 The March by E.L. Doctorow
- 1.17 The Lost Cause by Edward Pollard
- 1.18 The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
- 1.19 Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
- 1.20 Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
- 1.21 Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz
- 1.22 The Impending Crisis: America Before the Civil War, 1848-1861 by David Morris Potter
- 1.23 The Life of Johnny Reb by Bell Irvin Wiley
- 1.24 Upon the Altar of the Nation by Harry S. Stout
- 1.25 The Destructive War by Charles Royster
- 1.26 South into Freedom by Alice Baumgartner
- 2 Conclusion
Top Rated Best Civil War Books To Read
Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant by Ulysses S. Grant
Completed only days before his departure hailed from Mark Twain as “the most impressive work of its kind since the Commentaries of Julius Caesar,” that is the now-legendary autobiography of ULYSSES SIMPSON GRANT (1822-1885), 18th president of the USA and the Union general who headed the North to victory in the Civil War.
Although Grant opens with stories of his boyhood, his schooling at West Point, and his early military career in the Mexican-American warfare of the 1840s, it’s Grant’s romantic observations about the behavior of the Civil War, which comprise the majority of the job, which have done this necessary reading for background students, military strategists, and Civil War buffs alike.
This unabridged version features all of the substance that was initially printed in two volumes in 1885 and 1886, such as maps, illustrations, along with the text of Grant’s July 1865 report to Washington on the condition of the armies under his control.
The Confederacy’s Last Hurrah by Wiley Sword
After the collapse of Atlanta, rebel commander John Bell Hood rallied his demoralized troops and hauled them off Tennessee, desperately hoping to draw Sherman after he forestalls the Confederacy’s defeat. However, Sherman refused to be enticed and started his infamous “March to the Sea,” while Hood charged headlong into tragedy.
In this compelling, remarkable report of a fatal and final invasion from the Confederate Army of Tennessee, Wile Sword illuminates the missed chances, senseless bloody assaults, inadequate control decisions, and stubborn pride which led to 23,500 Confederate losses–such as 7,00 casualties in 1 struggle – and the pulverization of the South’s second-biggest military.
Sword follows Hood and his army as they allow an early benefit and potential victory slip away at Spring Hill, then participate in an ill-fated frontal assault on Franklin, frequently known as the “Gettysburg of the West.” Despite this tragedy, Hood will not return and presses the Nashville and a two-day bloodbath that unhinges what’s left of his battered troops-that the worst defeat suffered by any military throughout the war.
Telling the story from both the Confederate and the Union viewpoints, Sword pursues personalities in addition to conflicts and troop strategy. He describes Hood as a bold yet reckless pioneer – “a fool with a permit to kill his guys” – whose valiant but quickly dwindling troops were no match to the systematic General George G. Thomas and his more generous ready – and entrenched- Union military.
However, Hood wasn’t wholly to blame for Confederate failures, states Sword, who reveals the way decision making and activities – both good and poor, logical and disorderly – by key players on both sides helped determine the battles’ results. This is one of the greatest nonfiction civil war books for reading.
Mr. Lincoln’s Army by Bruce Catton
The Pulitzer Prize-winning Army of the Potomac Trilogy begins with the riveting volume Mr. Lincoln’s Army. Rooted in the first battles of the Civil War, Catton’s work chronicles charismatic George McClellan’s journey as he leads the production of the Union’s Army of the Potomac.
McClellan’s selfish ambition clashed with President Lincoln’s hopes to get its war at every turn. Throughout McClellan’s direction through a bloody stalemate and his final removal from control, Catton brings to life a vibrant and mythical object of history, which can be afterward continued in the trilogy’s following volumes, Glory Road and A Stillness at Appomattox.
The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner
Selected as a Notable Book of the Year from the New York Times Book Review, this milestone work provides us a definitive account of Lincoln’s lifelong involvement with the country’s crucial issue: American slavery. A master historian, Eric Foner, brings Lincoln and the broader history of this interval into perfect equilibrium.
We view Lincoln, a pragmatic politician grounded in principle, deftly navigating the energetic politics of antislavery, secession, and civil warfare. Lincoln’s greatness stems out of his capacity for political and ethical expansion.
Battle Cry of Freedom by James. M. McPherson
This Pulitzer Prize-winning publication charts the interval involving the 1846 outbreak of this Mexican-American War into Robert E. Lee’s surrender in 1865. Writer James McPherson assesses the political, economic, and societal aspects that resulted in the Civil War, exceptionally how modest, violent outbursts evolved to America’s deadliest war.
Both sides felt they were fighting for liberty – although their definitions of liberty differed significantly. With in-depth diagnoses of almost every significant occasion, Battle Cry of Freedom is a crucial addition to any history buff’s collection.
The Civil War: A Narrative by Shelby Foote
From Foote’s three-volume show’s first publication, the writer opens with Jefferson Davis’ resignation in the U.S. Senate. The Democratic politician has been destined for a second, more considerable function: the Confederate States’ first presidency.
So starts an extensively researched account of these events-war-which followed, which culminates in the Union’s success four decades later. Maps are a welcome addition to the story, providing helpful graphics of important battle sites and travel channels.
Memoirs by Ulysses S. Grant
Following Lincoln and Jefferson, Grant was probably the best prose stylist ever to occupy the White House of all people. Several things made Grant a fantastic general made him a fantastic writer, too, especially his capacity to balance the big picture with heaps of information. His descriptions of conflicts proceed almost immediately by minute sometimes. However, he becomes mired in minutiae, and the narrative proceeds with an almost martial pace.
If Grant lacks Lincoln’s rhetorical genius, then he makes up for this as an always uncomplicated stylist that prizes clarity overall.
This Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust
The Civil War remade lots of approaches but not one so much as the belief on departure. Carnage and slaughter on a grand scale floor down prevailing ideas of the fantastic passing and undercut belief in divine providence.
Several new methods of considering death emerged from the war, but none more sweeping than the army’s expectations – its duty to identify, conserve, and honor the deceased. This is one of these revolutionary histories which explains a critical bit of yesteryear previously disregarded.
Sherman’s March by Burke Davis
New York Times bestselling writer Burke Davis pieces collectively numerous eyewitness accounts to place readers in the middle of the infamous “March to the Sea” General William T. Sherman set out to attract the Southern armies of Georgia for their knees, and, together with 65,000 Federal troops supporting him, he did just that. After annihilating Atlanta’s town, Sherman proceeded to catch Savannah and crush Georgia and the Carolinas in the hands of his hands as he rode to Virginia.
The Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War by Howard Bahr
The Dark Flower is the gripping Story of a young Confederate rifleman called Bushrod Carter. When Bushrod is injured, he’s taken into a makeshift clinic where he comes under Anna’s care, who’s lost two possible romances to fight. Bushrod and Anna’s effort to forge a bond at the center of pathos and terror is a potent reminder that the war that split America won’t vanish softly into pages of background. It’s among the best civil war fiction books for reading.
Mothers of Invention by Drew Gilpin Faust
When Confederate men marched off to combat, southern girls fought with all the new responsibilities of leading plantations and farms, providing for households, and supervising increasingly restive slaves.
Drew Faust delivers a clear picture of the greater than half-million girls who belonged to the Confederacy’s slaveholding households through this period of intense crisis when each portion of those women’s lives became uncertain and bemused.
Forged in Battle by Joseph T. Glatthaar
Sixteen months after the beginning of the American Civil War, the Federal authorities, which significantly simplified the length and labor demands of this war, started to recruit black soldiers. This radical policy gave 180,000 free blacks and former slaves the chance to prove themselves to the battle as part of their United States Colored Troops. From the conclusion of the war, 37,000 within their positions had given their lives for the reason for liberty.
In Forged in War, initially published in 1990, award-winning historian Joseph T. Glatthaar re-creates the occasions which gave these troops and their 7,000 white officers exude pride in their contributions to the Union success and expectation of equality in the years ahead.
Regrettably, as Glatthaar poignantly shows, the memory of the United States Colored Troops’ epic sacrifices shortly disappeared behind the bias that could irritate the armed forces for a different century.
Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom by William Craft
In 1848 William and Ellen Craft made among the boldest and remarkable escapes from the USA’s history of slavery. With fair-skinned Ellen at the guise of a white man planter and William posing as her slave, the Crafts traveled by railroad and boat – in plain sight and comparative luxury-out of bondage in Macon, Georgia, to liberty in Philadelphia, then Boston, and finally England.
This variant of the thrilling narrative is newly typeset in the first 1860 text. Eleven annotated supplementary readings, drawn from various contemporary sources, help place the Crafts’ narrative within the intricate cultural currents of transatlantic abolitionism.
Lincoln Reconsidered by David Herbert Donald
The Civil War could have been an impossible accomplishment with no sixteenth President of the USA, Abraham Lincoln. In a set of twelve experiments rife with witticisms and eloquence, historical writer David Herbert Donald requires an analytical look at the prestigious President Lincoln.
Lovingly cultivating a feeling of Lincoln’s sharp legal mind and demanding demeanor, Donald not only requires new views of Lincoln’s revolutionary politics but drops to the symbolism Honest Abe has begun to inherit also.
Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory by David W. Blight
No historical event has left too profound an imprint on America’s collective memory since the Civil War. From the war’s wake, Americans needed to adopt and throw a traumatic past. David Blight investigates the dangerous path of remembering and forgetting, also shows its tragic prices to race relations and America’s national reunion.
In 1865, faced with a ravaged landscape along with a ripped America, both the North and South started a slow and painful process of reconciliation. The ensuing decades have seen the victory of a reunion civilization, which downplayed sectional division and highlighted the heroics of a struggle between noble men of the Blue and the Gray.
Virtually lost in national culture were the moral crusades over captivity that triggered the war, the existence and participation of African Americans during the war, and the promise of emancipation that arose from the war.
Race and Reunion is a record of how the motto of white America was brought through the rising segregation of white and black memory of the Civil War. Blight delves deeply into the changing significance of sacrifice and death, Reconstruction, the romanticized South of literature, soldiers’ reminiscences of conflict, the Lost Cause concept, and the ritual of Memorial Day.
He resurrects the assortment of African-American memories and voices of this war and the attempts to carry on the emancipationist heritage in the middle of a civilization built on its refusal.
Blight’s sweeping story of tragedy and success, romance and precision, is a compelling narrative of the politics of memory, of the way the country healed from civil warfare without oversight. From the early twentieth century, race and reunion problems were secured in mutual reliance, a debilitating legacy that continues to haunt us now.
The March by E.L. Doctorow
In 1864, Union general William Tecumseh Sherman marched his sixty thousand troops through Georgia to the sea, then up to the Carolinas. The army fought off Confederate forces, demolished towns, and gathered a borne-along population of freed blacks and white refugees until all that remained was the dangerous transient life of the dispossessed and the victorious.
In E. L. Doctorow’s hands, the excellent parade becomes a floating world, a nomadic consciousness, and an unforgettable reading experience with remarkable relevance to our times.
The Lost Cause by Edward Pollard
Among the main functions written about the Civil War came from somebody who did not struggle. In 1867, Edward Pollard, an editor for a Richmond paper, printed The Lost Cause, championing his eponymous publication as a “New Southern background” of this war. Pollard’s work poignantly represented the ideas of unrepentant rebels clinging to his or their ideology.
Pollard explicitly clarified the motivation behind what he termed the “Lost Cause.” Even though the South had lost the Civil War, he also contended that the South could wage and win the “war of ideas” Conceding the South’s loss supposed “recovery of the marriage along with the excision of captivity,” Pollard was defiant, writing that “the war didn’t pick Negro equality.”
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book recreates the bloodiest conflict in American history: Gettysburg. Within the four days of fighting, millions of men expired – guys with families, guys with futures, guys who have achieved amazing things for the country. Shaara supposes who these guys, whether Southern or Northern, may happen to be.
Told through numerous historical characters’ viewpoints, the narrative starts with an extremely confident Robert E. Lee as he and his troops travel to Pennsylvania. But rather than finding the success, they pictured, Lee and his fellow Confederates are demoralized from the struggle – and lots of knows they are not likely to win against the war or perhaps see its ending.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
If you’d access the Turner Classic Movie channel, then you have probably heard of the movie version of Gone with the Wind. However, before Vivien Leigh surfaced as Scarlett O’Hara, Margaret Mitchell’s epic book delivers a more thorough look at Georgia during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras.
Of course, in the middle is Scarlett-a Southern belle and the daughter of a wealthy planter-that is forced to change her spoiled ways once warfare divides the nation. Although her enduring relationship with Rhett Butler is considered among the best love stories of all time, the publication is also among the most remarkable portraits of war’s consequences on a location and its people.
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Goodwin portrays Lincoln by imitating the guys who collaborated with him to the presidency, guys he subsequently attracted to his cabinet (keep your enemies close, etc.) to assist him in prosecuting the war. Each guy saw Lincoln from a different standpoint.
Still, the amount of the viewpoints gives a marvelously curved look in a guy who has been as challenging to define as anybody that has ever occupied the oval office.
Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz
When prize-winning war correspondent Tony Horwitz leaves Bosnia’s battlefields and the Middle East for a peaceful corner of the Blue Ridge Mountains, he thinks he’s put war zones behind him. But awakened one morning by the crackle of musket fire, Horwitz starts filing front-line dispatches again, this time from a war close to home and also to his heart.
Propelled by his boyhood passion for the Civil War, Horwitz embarks on a search for places and people still held in thrall by America’s most significant conflict. The outcome is a venture into the unvanquished South’s soul, where the ghosts of the Lost Cause are resurrected through ritual and remembrance.
In Virginia, Horwitz joins a band of hardcore’ reenactors that crash-diet to attain the hollow-eyed look of starved Confederates; at Kentucky, he witnesses Klan rallies and calls for race war sparked by the killing of a white man who brandishes a rebel flag.
In Andersonville, he finds that the prison’s commander, executed as a war criminal, is now exalted as a martyr and hero; and also at the book’s climax, Horwitz takes a marathon trek from Antietam to Gettysburg to Appomattox in the company of Robert Lee Hodge. This eccentric pilgrim dubs their odyssey as the civil Wargasm.
Written with Horwitz’s signature blend of humor, history, and hard-nosed journalism, Confederates in the Attic brings alive old battlefields and new ones ‘classrooms, courts, country bars’ where the past and the present collide, often in explosive ways. Poignant and picaresque, haunting and hilarious, it speaks to anyone who’s ever felt drawn to the mythic South and the dark romance of the Civil War.
The Impending Crisis: America Before the Civil War, 1848-1861 by David Morris Potter
In a new edition for its 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, David Potter’s Pulitzer Prize-winning history of antebellum America Provides an indispensable evaluation of the causes of the war between the countries.
The Journal of Southern History calls Potter’s sequential account “contemporary scholarship’s most extensive report of the arrival of the Civil War,” along with the New York Times Book Review hails it as “profound and first… History from the grand tradition.
The Life of Johnny Reb by Bell Irvin Wiley
Wiley provides an infrequent, however, complete portrait of the ordinary soldier of the Confederacy during the Civil War through extensive analysis of letters, newspaper reports, official documents, along with excerpts from diary entries.
Upon the Altar of the Nation by Harry S. Stout
A profound and timely evaluation of the ethical underpinnings of the War Between the States The Civil War wasn’t just a war of armies but also a war of ideas, but where Union and Confederacy equally recognized itself as a moral state with God on its side.
Within this landmark book, Harry S. Stout steps through the gap between these claims and the war’s actual behavior. Ranging from the front into the trenches and drawing on an abundance of contemporary records, Stout investigates the deadly mixture of propaganda and ideology which came to warrant slaughter off and on the battlefield. When our nation is once more in war, Upon the Altar of the country is a profoundly necessary publication.
The Destructive War by Charles Royster
By the moment that the Civil War started, partisans on either side were calling for success and extermination. And the two sides found leaders who’d oblige. In this vibrant and fearfully persuasive publication, Charles Royster appears at William Tecumseh Sherman and Stonewall Jackson, the guys who came to Celebrate the apocalyptic pursuits of North and South re-creates their personalities, their plans, and the feelings they motivated in their countrymen.
At once, an incisive dual biography, hypnotically engrossing military background, and also a cautionary examination of the American penchant for patriotic bloodshed, The Destructive War is a work of tremendous power.
South into Freedom by Alice Baumgartner
A surprising and brilliant account of the arrival of the American Civil War, revealing the Vital part of slaves who escaped into Mexico
The Underground Railroad to the North promised salvation to a Lot of American slaves before the Civil War. But tens of thousands of people in the south-central United States escaped captivity not by going north but by crossing the southern border into Mexico, where slavery was abolished in 1837.
In “South into Freedom,” historian Alice L. Baumgartner tells the story of why Mexico abolished slavery and the way its increasingly radical antislavery policies fueled the sectional crisis in the USA. Southerners expected that annexing Texas and invading Mexico in the 1840s would prevent runaways and protected captivity’s future.
Instead, the seizure of Alta California and Nuevo México upset the fragile political balance between slave and free states. This is a revelatory and fundamental new outlook on antebellum America and the reasons for the Civil War.
Have you read some of those best books about the civil war that we’ve covered? Did you like them? Alternately, have you got some suggestions for books which people can include? Penn Book‘s eager to hear your view, so do feel free to talk about your ideas with us in the comments.
Last update on 2021-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API