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 Posted: Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 02:25 am
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Mark
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Folks, what do you think the most important scholarly non-fiction, non-autobiographical books on the ACW are? Not necessarily your favorite books, but the most influential.  I made a list of 10 off the top of my head in no particular order... any thoughts?

1) Battle Cry of Freedom- James McPherson

2) The Life of Johnny Reb/Billy Yank- Bell I. Wiley

3) Embattled Courage- Gerald Linderman

4) Mothers of Invention- Drew Faust

5) Why the South Lost the Civil War- Beringer, Hattaway, Jones, Still

6) How the North Won- Hattaway, Jones

7) The Sable Arm- Dudley Cornish

8) Battle Tactics of the Civil War- Paddy Griffith

9) What they Fought For- James McPherson

10) On the Threshold of Freedom- Thomas Mohr



 Posted: Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 04:36 pm
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javal1
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That's a pretty wide-open question Mark. Maybe it's semantics, but important in what way?

Depending how you define it, there could be multiple answers. Most influential as far as sparking interest in the uninterested? A case could be made for the old American Heritage book that kindled the interest of so many kids. Most influential as an overall narrative? Maybe Shelby Foote's trilogy. In-depth battle book? Coddington perhaps. Etc., etc.

Again, depends what you mean by important/influential.



 Posted: Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 05:07 pm
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susansweet3
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From what others say about how their Civil War interest was sparked I would agree with Javal that the Golden Book of the Civil War is for one generation of people the most important .  Those that were born in the 60's all seem to have had an experience with this book as young people.  I was older so missed the book til just recently when I chose the book in a book give away.  It is an impressive work.

Shelby Foote has influenced many others .  I have yet to read all three volumes although was given a set by my sister in law when I started my Civil War journey. 

My interest in the War was not started though a book  it was a battlefield I discovered on a cross country drive after I retired from teaching.  One in the  Western Theater, Pea Ridge.  I then went on to Wilson's Creek.  Here I discovered the book that really grabbed my attention ,  Actually two books.  I asked the park ranger if these two books were good.  He said they were classics of Civil War writing .

My most important books were Bell Wiley's  John Reb, and Bill Yank.  I refer to these two books many times to answer questions .  They tell me about the common soldier , my main interest in the War. 

I have read many more books since then .  Each book adds to my knowledge of the war.  I have not read many of the great over view books  like Battle Cry of Freedom mainly I have read more detailed books of men , thoughts or campaigns and biographies  . I do agree Embattled Courage is an important book .   I would list books by Symonds, Holtzer and McPherson as important , Cunninghams book on Shiloh to me was important.  It gave me new insights to the battle , one of my favorite places to visit .  I am still a Western Theater person . That is where I found the Civil War and where my heart is . 

Iam sure others who are Eastern Theater would add books on Gettysburg , I have not read many on that battle as I tend to be interested in the less known ones.

Susan



 Posted: Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 05:49 pm
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I figured it would be a pretty open ended question. I guess "what books have changed the way you thought about the War?" would have been a better way to ask it. Hope that clarifies things.
Thanks for the response Susan, "The Life of Billy Yank/Johnny Reb" were some of the first books I read about the Soldiers. I think there are some better ones out there now about the common Soldier, but those two were definetly the ones that influenced my thinking the most.

Mark



 Posted: Wed Feb 3rd, 2010 02:06 pm
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For my generation (a bit older than y'all's) it would be Bruce Catton's books, which turned a dull school book story into a fascinating one!



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 Posted: Wed Feb 3rd, 2010 04:43 pm
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Bruce Catton's Army of the Potomac trilogy were some of the first history books that my Dad and I read together. He was a superb story teller! Thanks for the feedback!

Mark



 Posted: Sat Feb 13th, 2010 05:12 am
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csamillerp
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one of my favorite books, which aint really factual but presents a fun scenerio is Guns of the south by harry turtledove. Awesome book, it explains what would happen if the south had won. Other great books are Bernard Cornwell's starbuck series



 Posted: Tue Feb 16th, 2010 03:20 am
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Johan Steele
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8) Battle Tactics of the Civil War- Paddy Griffith
I think this is a good choice in that it forced many to rethink what they thought they knew about how the war was fought.

Most influential may well be the Catton American Heritage book in that it is the one book so many can point to as sparking an interest inlearning more.



 Posted: Tue Feb 16th, 2010 07:12 pm
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artic bill
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my favorite five books are
1)fields of fury By richard wheeler
2)sword over richmond Bruce catton
3)Witness to Gettysburg Richard wheeler
4) battle cry of freedom James McPherson
5) Johnnie reb I can't remember the author
I have always wanted to ask if James Mcpherson the author is related to the James McPherson that fought in the civil war?

 

Bill Shack  corporal

Grays and blues of montreal

Last edited on Tue Feb 16th, 2010 07:14 pm by artic bill



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