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American Civil War Books.

Discussion in 'Military History' started by wtid45, Jun 12, 2009.

  1. R. Evans

    R. Evans Member

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    Try Shelby Foote's Civil War trilogy. Thick, informative and they read like novels, which they should as Foote was a novelist. Still they are great starter books.

    Stephen Sears' Gettysburg is very well-written one volume account of the war's most famous battle.

    Steven E. Woodworth's Nothing But Victory is an excellent account of the Union Army Of The Tennesse from it's inception to the end of the war.

    Jeffrey D. Wert's Longstreet biography gives a very good portrait of the South's most controversial general.

    Just a few to get started. There's so many out there. Good luck!:)
     
  2. Nosey

    Nosey Member

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    The Bernard Cornwell books Rebel, Copperhead, Battle flag, The Bloody Ground.
    Are a very good Read, fiction but very accurate in its info. and the battle discriptions are very good.
    If you want non fiction the "Time - Life" The civil War are excellent if you can get them
    Good luck Mate
     
  3. wtid45

    wtid45 Ace

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    Apple valley, R Evans thanks for the recommendations.Nosey I have read the Bernard Cornwell, books and really enjoyed them and as you say while fiction there still, as are most of Cornwells historical novels are very well written.
     
  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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  5. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    It really depends on what you are looking for concerning the Civil War. The contributing events leading up to the war is one big segment of US history, and is vast and very complex which takes a lot of independent study. At LSU where I got my history degree, there was a separate course of study (one complete semester) covering just the events leading up to the war. The war itself lasted four years, and is quite riveting in progression to read about. Heck, the pre-WW2 German General Staff studied the exploits of General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862, along with other events in military history to develop their "blitzkreig" tactics. And then the failure of the post-war Reconstruction is a course of study all to itself as well. No one book will cover it all for you, but much of what's been recommended so far will give you a good selection to start with. Just don't take the short cut and watch "Gone With the Wind."
     
  6. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Ya'll realize that the correct name is "The War of Yankee Aggression", don't ya'll?
     
  7. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Wait, I always thought it was the "War of Southern Secession".
     
  8. Hufflepuff

    Hufflepuff Semi-Frightening Mountain Goat

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    One name I heard when I was down south was "The Second American revolution." :D

    Two amazing historical fiction books regarding the war are "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara and "Soldier's Heart" by Gary Paulsen. Shaara's book is a great study of the Battle of Gettysburg with some fictional characters but overall it's a fantastic read. Gary Paulsen's book is a great read if you're looking to read about what combat was like: graphic, sickening, brutal. Both are fantastic reads, highly reccomended.

    PS: "Soldier's Heart" is not a love story, as the title might have suggested; the title of the book was the Civil War term for combat fatigue.
     
  9. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    "Killer Angels" was the source for Ted Turner's eight hour movie "Gettysburg". One of the spooky bit in that show was when "Bobby Lee" rode out in full costume for the first time and about a thousand re-enactors went nuts. I could see Sheen start to get a little nervous at the display of emotion those guys were pumping out.
     
  10. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Actually it was 4 hours and 41 minutes long, including the 10 minute intermission. Yeah, I read about that "Bobby Lee" scene in imdb. It was kind of an impromptu situation. A lot of re-enactors that participated in the Pickett's Charge scene were at "thank you" celebration organized by promoters and supporting cast members for Sheen. The troops were chanting "Sheen, Sheen, Sheen," and of course Martin Sheen was taken back with the response. The situation was being filmed, and when the director saw it, he had "Lee, Lee, Lee" dubbed over the Sheens and put it in the movie, just after the Pickett's Charge scene.
     
  11. Hufflepuff

    Hufflepuff Semi-Frightening Mountain Goat

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    That was a very powerful scene. I never knew that it wasn't even planned! Thanks for the info!
     
  12. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    It seemed like 8 hours.
     
  13. MarkO

    MarkO Member

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    I've seriously read dozens and dozens of books about the Civil War. There are so many of them covering so many different aspects that I would need more specifics about what you're looking for to give you an intelligent response...BUT...if you're looking for a FANTASTIC 1st hand account, written by a soldier, there are none better than "Company Aytch, A Side Show to the Big Show" by Samuel Watkins. To me, it's head and shoulders above anything else out there....the common soldier's point of view. Hope this helps Sir.
     
  14. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Yes, it did to me too....

    It was much better and longer than "Gods and Generals" though.
     
  15. Hufflepuff

    Hufflepuff Semi-Frightening Mountain Goat

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    Yes, that is true. There is so much ficiton is Gods and Generals its not even funny...

    But Gettysburg is an excellent movie and I love it. Some minor details are off, but I still love it. It's the one film that really sparked my interest in the American Civil War as a 4th grader.
     
  16. revbucky

    revbucky Member

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    There's Shelby Foote's multi-volume collection The Civil War--A Narrative. Foote's work is probably the most complete and readable history in print.

    Then there are the historical novels by Michael Shaara (The Killer Angels) and Jeff Shaara (God's and Generals and To Last Full Measure).
     
  17. revbucky

    revbucky Member

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    And don't forget Ken Burns' PBS video series The Civil War. This is an excellent overview of the war. A "must see" for every enthusiast. Your public library probably carries it.
     
  18. Phantom of the Ruhr

    Phantom of the Ruhr Member

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    I know it's not a book, but National Geographic's July 2002 issue featured a great article on the salvage of the H.L. Hunley.

    I also enjoyed Antony Shaw's "The Civil War Catalog."
     
  19. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I sat through G&G for the Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain scenes. Jackson was just a religious whacko in my book.
     
  20. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    There was a third movie in the works, tentatively titled "The Last Full Measure" that covered the last campaigns of the war leading up to Appomattox. "Gods and Generals" fared so poorly at the box office, so they shelved the project indefinitely.

    Jackson was very "eccentric" to put nicely, and extremely religious even for that day and time. Had strange ideas about things too. For one, he felt that blood circulation would be improved if he held one arm up over his head. He would sit on his horse with his arm extended for long periods of time, and go on behind the lines patrols at night with his staff in order to get a better layout of the situation. He also referred to the Yankees as "the Philistines", and in some of conversations he stated that he and his people went out and "slew the Philistines instead of his forces inflicting casualties upon the enemy.

    Never underestimate the stimulation of eccentricity.
     

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