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 Posted: Fri Jun 12th, 2009 04:09 pm
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bschulte
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Note: What I mean by "Someone Else (Like Me)?" is that you like an author other than the ones I listed, NOT that I'm an "author", which I most certainly am not!

This may have come up in the past but I cannot find a similar thread via the Search, so I'll start one here.

So, Who is your favorite Civil War Author?

Why?

I'll start this one off. Though there are literally thousands of people to choose from, I'm going to go with Joseph Harsh, author of Confederate Tide Rising: Robert E. Lee and the Making of Southern Strategy, 1861-1862, Taken at the Flood: Robert E. Lee and Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862, and Sounding the Shallows: A Confederate Companion for the Maryland Campaign of 1862. Harsh refuses to use hindsight in describing the operations of Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia from the seven Days through the end of the Maryland Campaign. Instead, he looks at what Robert E. Lee knew at a given moment and then presents alternatives Lee could have chosen. It makes for a very "you are there" feel. In addition, Harsh is EXTREMELY detailed. Sounding the Shallows is essentially a massive Confederate-focused appendix to Taken at the Flood. I hope he feels well enough to eventually complete a "Northern companion" to the campaign as well at some point.

After Harsh, some of my other favorites are, in no particular order:

-Peter Cozzens
-Gordon Rhea
-Shelby Foote
-A. Wilson Greene
-Eric Wittenberg

Who are yours?

Last edited on Fri Jun 12th, 2009 04:11 pm by bschulte



 Posted: Fri Jun 12th, 2009 04:33 pm
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barrydancer
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As a Longstreet man, I'm partial to William Garrett Piston.  I also like, in no particular order:

Tom Connelly, Porter Alexander (excellent memoirs), Eric Foner, Barbara Fields, though the latter two are more period authors than the CW specifically.



 Posted: Fri Jun 12th, 2009 05:03 pm
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javal1
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I'll throw two out that are rarely mentioned, not too prolific, but who I really enjoy:

Tom Desjardin and Tim Smith



 Posted: Fri Jun 12th, 2009 05:05 pm
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bschulte
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javal1 wrote: I'll throw two out that are rarely mentioned, not too prolific, but who I really enjoy:

Tom Desjardin and Tim Smith

I definitely enjoy Tim Smith's work.  His book on Champion Hill was excellent!



 Posted: Fri Jun 12th, 2009 05:31 pm
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Mark
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Great topic!  It is hard to pick just one author, so I cheated and picked a couple.  First off, I enjoy reading Peter Cozzens’s battle histories immensely.  His writing style is fantastic and he documents his sources very well, though I wish he would have better maps in his books.  Noah Andre Tredeau is also an excellent military historian, but he branches out into some social aspects as well.  He wrote a brilliant book on the USCT titled “Like Men of War,” which is (in my opinion) one of the most underrated American Civil War books of all time.  That book tied together nice battle narratives with a pretty good analysis of the social aspects of the War.  Drew G. Faust also makes my list.  Her social histories of the war are some of the best academic history out there and her style is a nice blend between readability and academic prose.  I look forward to hearing what others have to say about this topic!

-Mark



 Posted: Fri Jun 12th, 2009 05:47 pm
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bschulte
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Mark wrote: Great topic!  It is hard to pick just one author, so I cheated and picked a couple.  First off, I enjoy reading Peter Cozzens’s battle histories immensely.  His writing style is fantastic and he documents his sources very well, though I wish he would have better maps in his books.  Noah Andre Tredeau is also an excellent military historian, but he branches out into some social aspects as well.  He wrote a brilliant book on the USCT titled “Like Men of War,” which is (in my opinion) one of the most underrated American Civil War books of all time.  That book tied together nice battle narratives with a pretty good analysis of the social aspects of the War.  Drew G. Faust also makes my list.  Her social histories of the war are some of the best academic history out there and her style is a nice blend between readability and academic prose.  I look forward to hearing what others have to say about this topic!

-Mark

Mark,

I just finished Trudeau's Southern Storm, and though it was a bit of a slow read, I gave it positive marks overall.  Have you read his book on the Petersburg Campaign?  It think that is my favorite Trudeau book up to this point.



 Posted: Fri Jun 12th, 2009 06:10 pm
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Mark
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Brett, yes I have read "The Last Citidel," and I think it is one of his best ones. Have Southern Storm on my shelf now, but haven't gotten a chance to read it yet. It might be slow just because the march through GA was not terribly exciting (in a strictly military sense). Regards!
-Mark



 Posted: Fri Jun 12th, 2009 06:30 pm
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bschulte
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Mark wrote: Brett, yes I have read "The Last Citidel," and I think it is one of his best ones. Have Southern Storm on my shelf now, but haven't gotten a chance to read it yet. It might be slow just because the march through GA was not terribly exciting (in a strictly military sense). Regards!
-Mark

Mark,

I think you nailed it.  There were only a few minor actions during the March, so the daily descriptions of destroying railroads, burning government buildings, taking food, etc. get a bit repetitive after awhile.



 Posted: Fri Jun 12th, 2009 06:52 pm
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ashbel
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Bruce Catton and Shelby Foote top my list.

For pure writing style and clarity there is none better than Jack Waugh.



 Posted: Fri Jun 12th, 2009 07:33 pm
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fedreb
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Stephen Sears, Shelby Foote, Wiley Sword, Bruce Catton, for me, all great authors.
John J Hennessy, I can only find the one by him ( Return to Bull Run) but it is a cracking read. Does anyone know if he has written any more Civil War books?



 Posted: Fri Jun 12th, 2009 08:12 pm
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bschulte
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fedreb wrote: Stephen Sears, Shelby Foote, Wiley Sword, Bruce Catton, for me, all great authors.
John J Hennessy, I can only find the one by him ( Return to Bull Run) but it is a cracking read. Does anyone know if he has written any more Civil War books?

fedreb,

He also wrote the Second Manassas Battlefield Map Study in the Virginia Civil War Battles and Leaders series.  HIGHLY recommended, but if you're buying used make sure you get the roll of maps too!



 Posted: Fri Jun 12th, 2009 08:57 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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I like:

Larry J. Daniels "Cannoneers In Grey" and "Shiloh"

Shelby Foote, anything he writes. I love hearing him speak, and think it a loss that he is no longer with us. I thought he did his research very well and presented it very well.



 Posted: Fri Jun 12th, 2009 09:20 pm
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fedreb
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bschulte,

Thanks for that, I'll have a search for it

fedreb



 Posted: Fri Jun 12th, 2009 10:12 pm
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TimK
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Does Michael Shaara count? If I had never read "The Killer Angels", I'm not sure how many other CW books I would have read.



 Posted: Sat Jun 13th, 2009 02:07 am
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CleburneFan
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In no particular order:

Steven Sears, Eric J. Wittenberg and John Petruzzi, Wiley Sword, Steven E. Woodworth, O. Edward Cunningham, Noah Andre Trudeau, Jeffrey D Wert, Russell S Bonds, Kent Masterson Brown, Kenneth W Noe.

There are others I am forgetting for certain. Maybe I'll come back later and add to this.

 



 Posted: Sat Jun 13th, 2009 03:44 am
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susansweet3
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Russell Bond Jeffrey Wert, Craig Symonds O. Edward Cunningham and Eric Jacobson, Catherine Clinton . Like CleburneFa no particular order. I have enjoyed reading these authors as they all tell a good story as well as present the facts.



 Posted: Sat Jun 13th, 2009 03:08 pm
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Old North State
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Bruce Catton. But I'll add James McDonough -- especially his "Shiloh" and "Nashville."



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 Posted: Sat Jun 13th, 2009 11:58 pm
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CleburneFan
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One way I define a favorite Civil War writer is one whose work is so compelling that I would instantly read any book of theirs that I come across. For example, I currently have two books on pre-order at Amazon.com. One is Eric J Wittenberg's new book on Dahlgren and the other is Russell Bonds's book on the Battle of Atlanta. Neither book is available yet, but I wanted to be sure to get them as soon as they come out.



 Posted: Sun Jun 14th, 2009 12:53 am
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ole
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Aware of only that one fedreb, although he did put together a small book on 1st Bull Run for the Virginia Civil War Battles and Leaders Series.

Ole



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