Wes Mayhle's US Civil War Library (pt.1)
(listed by author alphabetically)
The Civil War: Chronicle of America's Wars by James R. Arnold
Amazon link - Description:The Civil War (1861-1865) is the bloodiest conflict the U.S. has ever faced. Battles raged between the Union (the North) and the Confederate States of America (the South) over slavery and states¿ rights. After four long years of war and the loss of more than 620,000 lives, the North prevailed and the U.S. remained intact. This book leads readers through the complex issues that divided North and South and introduces the mighty generals, major battles, weaponry, medical techniques, and other details of the war that brought an end to slavery and shaped a nation. Full-color illustrations.
Last Flag Down: The Epic Journey of the Last Confederate Warship by John Baldwin (Author), Ron Powers (Author)
Amazon link - Description: As the Confederacy felt itself slipping beneath the Union juggernaut in late 1864, the South launched a desperate counteroffensive to shatter the U.S. economy and force a standoff. Its secret weapon? A state-of-the-art raiding ship whose mission was to prowl the world’s oceans and sink the U.S. merchant fleet. The raider’s name was Shenandoah, and her executive officer was Conway Whittle, a twenty-four-year-old warrior who might have stepped from the pages of Arthurian legend. Whittle would share command with a dark and brooding veteran of the seas, Capt. James Waddell, and together with a crew of strays, misfits, and strangers, they would spend nearly a year sailing two-thirds of the way around the globe, destroying dozens of Union ships and taking more than a thousand prisoners, all while continually dodging the enemy.Then, in August of 1865, a British ship revealed the shocking truth to the men of Shenandoah: The war had been over for months, and they were now being hunted as pirates. What ensued was an incredible 15,000-mile journey to the one place the crew hoped to find sanctuary, only to discover that their fate would depend on how they answered a single question. Wondrously evocative and filled with drama and poignancy, Last Flag Down is a riveting story of courage, nobility, and rare comradeship forged in the quest to achieve the impossible.
The Battle of Bull Run: July 21, 1861 by Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
Amazon link - Description: The Confederate commanding General's firsthand account and personal description of this early and significant battle of the War Between the States. It also includes a section designated "Subsequent Relations of Mr. [Jefferson] Davis and the Writer." Here one meets with many soon-to-become-famous names of Federal and Confederate personalities. Beauregard's personal philosophy regarding Confederate military and political strategies which he had advised and believed should have been used to ensure victory for the Southern cause are also discussed.
Deeds of Valor: How America's Civil War Heroes Won the Congressional Medal of Honor by W. F. Beyer (Author, Editor), O. F. Keydel (Editor), Oscar F. Keydel (Editor)
Amazon link - Description: Personal reminiscences and records of Civil War soldiers who were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Testament: A Soldier's Story of the Civil War by Benson Bobrick
Amazon link - Description: Not since Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage have the trials and tribulations of a private soldier of the Civil War been told with such beguiling force. The Red Badge of Courage, however, was fiction. This story is true. In Testament, Benson Bobrick draws upon an extraordinarily rich but hitherto untapped archive of material to create a continuous narrative of how that war was fought and lived. Here is virtually the whole theater of conflict in the West, from its beginnings in Missouri, through Kentucky and Tennessee, to the siege of Atlanta under Sherman, as experienced by Bobrick's great-grandfather, Benjamin W. ("Webb") Baker, an articulate young Illinois recruit. Born and raised not far from the Lincoln homestead in Coles County, Webb had stood in the audience of one of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, become a staunch Unionist, and answered one of Abraham Lincoln's first calls for volunteers. The ninety-odd letters on which his story is based are fully equal to the best letters the war produced, especially by a common soldier; but their wry intelligence, fortitude, and patriotic fervor also set them apart with a singular and still-undying voice. In the end, that voice blends with the author's own, as the book becomes a poignant tribute to his great-grandfather's life -- and to all the common soldiers of the nation's bloodiest war.
Chickamauga and Chattanooga: The Battles That Doomed the Confederacy Paperback by John Bowers
Amazon link - Description: John Bowers, the man who brought one of the Confederacy's most capable and eccentric commanders to life in Stonewall Jackson, now tells the riveting story of two brutal months in the life of a young nation at war with itself.From the opening volleys at Chickamauga Creek to the final, shocking outcome several miles north at Chattanooga, Bowers brilliantly recreates the fire and fury of the decisive battles of America's Civil War.More than a dramatic account of stunning master strokes and fatal missed opportunities, it is also the unforgettable story of real people: Grant, Longstreet, Sherman, the fiery gambler Nathan Bedford Forrest, George H. Thomas, the tormented Union officer despised and disowned by his Virginia family, and the tragic, tenacious General Braxton Bragg, who, through incompetence, miscalculation, and blind folly, almost single-handedly doomed the Confederate cause.
Morgan's Raiders by Dee Brown
Amazon link - Description: In 1861, Morgan's Raiders rode into the Civil War and within months attained almost legendary fame. Officially organized as the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry, C.S.A., they called themselves the "Alligator Horses" and were the farthest ranging unit in the war--riding, skirmishing and fighting full-scale battles in ten states. Riding the finest horses in the country, Morgan's men were heroes in the South and outlaws in the North. Captured or imprisoned, they usually escaped--and promptly returned to raiding, recruiting and "borrowing" horses and supplies. But in 1865, Morgan's Raiders were a shattered regiment of foot soldiers, making their last formation to escort Jefferson Davis on his flight southward from Richmond. Morgan's Raiders is the story of the men who made the legend: cavalier John Morgan himself; Ellsworth, the reckless telegrapher; Quirk, the scout; Basil Duke, one of the hardiest of all the "alligator horses." There was also St. Leger Grenfell, a mysterious Englishman who explained simply: "If England is not at war, I go elsewhere to find one."
Lost Triumph: Lee's Real Plan at Gettysburg--and Why It Failed by Tom Carhart
Amazon link - Description: This is a fresh and fascinating new look at one of the most pivotal moments in American history: the Battle of Gettysburg, when Union forces repelled the brilliant Robert E. Lee, who had already thrashed a long line of Federal opponents—just as he was poised at the back door of the nation’s capital. Conventional wisdom holds that Lee made one profoundly wrong decision on the last day of the battle—launching “Pickett’s Charge” uphill across an open field against the heart of the Union defense. But why would he have employed only a fifth of his forces at such a crucial moment? Now, Tom Carhart offers a bold thesis—that Lee’s heretofore unknown strategy at Gettysburg was to combine Pickett’s frontal attack with a daring rear assault by the great Jeb Stuart to break the Union Army in half. Only in the battle’s final hours was Stuart stopped by a force half the size of his own, led by a young, unproven general—George Armstrong Custer—who helped turn the tide of the war. Destined to be controversial, Lost Triumph is a provocative reassessment of this monumental battle and a vivid, indispensable contribution to Civil War literature.
Patriotic Treason: John Brown and the Soul of America by Evan Carton
Amazon link - Description: With a combination of scrupulous original research, new perspective, and a sensitive historical imagination, Patriotic Treason vividly recreates the world in which John Brown and his compatriots lived as well as the biography of John Brown and the history of the events leading up to the Civil War. Evan Carton narrates the dramatic life of the first U.S. citizen committed to absolute racial equality. In defiance of the culture around him, Brown lived, worked, ate, and fought alongside African Americans. Inspired by the Declaration of Independence and the Golden Rule, he collaborated with black leaders such as Frederick Douglass, Martin Delany, and Harriet Tubman to overthrow slavery. Carton captures the complex, tragic, and provocative story of Brown the committed abolitionist, Brown the tender yet demanding and often absent father and husband, and Brown the radical American patriot who attacked the American state in the name of American principles. Carton’s fresh archival research, his attention to overlooked family letters, and his reinterpretation of documents and events reveal a missing link in American history. A wrenching family saga, Patriotic Treason positions Brown at the heart of our most profound and enduring national debates on patriotism, treason, religion, and race relations.
MR. LINCOLN ARMY: The Army of the Potomac Vol. 1 by Bruce Catton
Amazon link - Description: The Army of the Potomac Trilogy recounts the bitter struggle between the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Virginia, and this first volume chronicles the early years under the command of General McClellan.
A Stillness at Appomattox: Army of the Potomac Vol. 3 by Bruce Catton
Amazon link - Description: When first published in 1953, Bruce Catton, our foremost Civil War historian was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for excellence in nonfiction. This final volume of The Army of the Potomac trilogy relates the final year of the Civil War.
The Coming Fury (American Civil War Trilogy, Vol. 1) by Bruce Catton
Amazon link - Description: A thrilling, page-turning piece of writing that describes the forces conspiring to tear apart the United States--with the disintegrating political processes and rising tempers finally erupting at Bull Run.
Terrible Swift Sword (American Civil War Trilogy, Vol. 2) by Bruce Catton
Amazon link - Description: The second episode in this award-winning trilogy impressively shows how the Union and Confederacy, slowly and inexorably, reconciled themselves to an all-out war--an epic struggle for freedom.
Never Call Retreat (American Civil War Trilogy, Vol. 3) by Bruce Catton
Amazon link - Description: The final work in this series begins in December of 1862. Four months before, the Union Army tasted long-awaited victory at the bloody battle of Antietam. Grant continued on towards Vicksburg, Mississippi. The grim battles that lay ahead would be costly: the Vicksburg campaign, Chattanooga, the Battle of the Wilderness, the Battle of Atlanta and the March to the Sea, the siege of Petersburg. There would be two and a half more years of war before Lee's surrender at Appomattox, followed by Lincoln's death just six days later.
The Civil War Archive: The History of the Civil War in Documents by Henry Steele Commager (Editor), Erik Bruun (Editor)
Amazon link - Description: The Civil War Archive presents the full story of the war between the states in documents direct from the minds, pens and hearts of the men and women who experienced it.
Hundreds of papers, letters, memoirs -- culled from family records, private correspondences, public archives and a variety of other sources -- trace the war from the nomination of Abraham Lincoln, through violent battles at Bull Run, to the surrender of Lee at Appomattox, Reconstruction and beyond. Messages from lonely mothers at home, stories from soldiers on the front lines, lyrics to rousing battle hymns, confidential communications among officers - these primary documents render history in its rawest form and depict the war's impact on every spectrum of American society.
Expanding upon Henry Steele Commager's critically-acclaimed two-volume The Blue and the Gray, editor Erik Bruun brings to light new material that presents the Civil War through a contemporary lens, taking into account previously under-represented perspectives of blacks in the Civil War and including new sections on the war's aftermath and Reconstruction.
Entries are arranged chronologically, allowing The Civil War Archive to be read as a start-to-finish narrative of the war and its aftermath. In addition, each document is indexed by author and title, so history buffs can reference each piece by source or subject.
Abraham Lincoln: In His Own Words [Audible Audio Edition] by The Great Courses (Author), David Zarefsky (Author), Professor David Zarefsky (Narrator)
Amazon link - Description: Abraham Lincoln was one of America's greatest public orators. The cadence, argument and power he brought to his speeches, like those of the Gettysburg address almost every American learns in school, still stir the hearts of not only Americans, but countless millions around the world. This series of 24 lectures examines Lincoln's rhetoric - the public messages in which he evolved his views on slavery and the preservation of the Union and by which he sought to persuade others.
The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War by H. W. Crocker III
Amazon link - Description: Think you know the Civil War? You don't know the full story until you read The Politically Incorrect GuideTM to the Civil War. Bestselling author and former Conservative Book Club editor H. W. Crocker III offers a quick and lively study of America's own Iliad--the Civil War.
The Long Surrender by Burke Davis
Amazon link - Description: A panoramic history of the collapse of the Confederacy.
Don't Know Much About the Civil War: Everything You Need to Know About America's Greatest Conflict but Never Learned by Kenneth C. Davis
Amazon link - Description: This fresh look at America's greatest conflict will dispel all those misconceptions you acquired by watching "Gone With the Wind". Davis has a genius for bringing history to life, sorting out the players, the politics and the key events -- Harpers Ferry, Shiloh, Gettysburg, Emancipation, Reconstruction -- in a way that will enlighten even the most dedicated back-of-the-class napper. A brilliant crash course, this book vividly brings to life the people -- from Dred Scott to Abraham Lincoln -- and the everyday details that make up History with a capital H
Civil War Album: A Complete Photographic History: Fort Sumter to Appomattox by William C. Davis (Editor), Bell Irvin Wiley (Editor)
Amazon link - Description: Monumental album offers nearly 4000 rare photographs from the war era. Brings to life not only the battles, bunkers, soldiers, and parades, but also the farms, cities, and towns as they appeared at the time. This singular volume is enhanced with numerous essays by our country's finest Civil War historians, who provide an overview of each battle, and describe each image. 4000 illustrations. Size 9 x 12 inches.
The Orphan Brigade: The Kentucky Confederates Who Couldn't Go Home by William C. Davis
Amazon link - Description: This is the story of the brigade (in the Civil War, from 5000 to 2000 men or so depending on the stage of the war) of Kentuckians who fought for the Confederacy. Kentucky being occupied relatively early in the war, they fought on far from home through the war. Davis does well at covering the breadth of experience of soldiers: the life of the private in the ranks, as well as of the senior officer, is well researched. He captures the unique cultural distinctions of Kentucky quite nicely: masters at obtaining bourbon, an informal approach, raw courage, and love of horses. The bungling of generals is not soft-pedaled, which is just as well considering how much the Orphans suffered from it. Worth adding to any Civil War library, but of particular interest to Kentuckian history buffs.
From the Alec Thomas Archives: Gone for a Soldier- The Civil War Memoirs of Private Alfred Bellard by David Herbert Donald (Author), Alfred Bellard (Editor)
Amazon link - Description: This memoir of the Civil War is written by a private soldier who was both an adept primitive artist and a natural writer. The document is illustrated with drawings by the author and was found in a Pennsylvania attic in 1963, along with a companion volume of letters written by the same man. At the age of 15 he enlisted in the Fifth New Jersey Infantry, saw action in many of the important Virginian campaigns with the Army of the Potomac and was wounded at Chancellorsville.
Lee's Endangered Left: The Civil War in Western Virginia, Spring of 1864 by Richard R. Duncan
Amazon link - Description: In the spring of 1864, Ulysses S. Grant as general-in-chief of the Union armies devised a plan of concerted action to bring down the Confederacy. As part of that strategy, Grant aimed to destroy General Robert E. Lee’s supply source for his Army of Northern Virginia in western Virginia and to use military activity there as an extended turning movement to threaten Lee from the west. In this outstanding study, Richard R. Duncan offers a riveting overview of these military operations we well as their impact on the civilian population, shedding light on an often overlooked chapter of the Civil War in Virginia.
The West Point Atlas of War: The Civil War by Vincent J. Esposito (Editor)
Amazon link - Description: The Civil War is considered a classic of military history. The original volumes were prepared by distinguished members of the Department of Military Art and Engineering at the U.S. Military Academy and used as instructional tools for the cadets. This mammoth and invaluable work was created under the direction of Brigadier General Vincent J. Esposito, a faculty member at West Point for more than twenty years. His highly respected endeavor allows readers to easily follow the entire course of a campaign or battle in detail while gaining a greater understanding of the Civil War.