Beginners American Civil War recomendations?
Join LibraryThing to post.
This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.
Where should I start?
I prefer stories about real people over long drawn out pages on battle plans and troop movements.
Im a big James McPherson fan. So I recommend checking out Tried by War it is a discussion of Lincoln as the first war-time president and does a fantastic job discussing the failures of Mcclelland and the greatness of Grant. Let me know what you think. But I am interested in what others have to say
A good place to start would be Bruce Catton's The Army of the Potomac trilogy. There are 3 books in this series
Mr. Lincoln's Army
A Stillness at Appomattox
These are written from the Union point of view. Catton also has books written from the confederate POV,but these 3 Union books are well-written, basic, & explain what is going on in a way even students can understand. He writes like he is telling a story & writes about real people & what happened to them.
I second The Killer Angels, that was my first Civil War book and opened up a whole new world for me.
While not exactly a good first book, I think that Upon the Altar of a Nation: A Moral History of the Civil War by Harry S. Stout is very readable, and covers material that is not in the usual military histories.
For a beginner, I would recommend 'Storm Over the Land' by Carl Sandburg. The writing is the best of all Civil War books.
The best Civil War story about people instead of battles is Gone with the Wind. I've read Killer Angels also and its OK too, but not nearly as interesting as Gone with the Wind. I don't recommend Bruce Catton's trilogy if you're hoping to avoid battle plans and troop movements. His trilogy is more military history rather than historical fiction.
I think that Shelby Foote does a good job balancing the basics of each battle ("the 42nd regiment occupied such and such a hill") and the actual experience of soldiering. And as someone who frequently finds military books confusing, he has the ability to make everything clear. You also might consider Civil War memoirs such as Hard Tack and Coffee. There isn't much about fighting in there but lots of info on how common soldiers lived.
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.