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Most Useful Books on the American Civil War

Blythe F. Toussaint "Author of Year of Disunion: A Novel of the Dawn of the American Civil War"
The list author says: "As I wrote Year of Disunion, I found myself turning over and over to certain resources. In recent years, the Internet has also been helpful, but I continue to rely on these books. The first volume was on 1861, so the resources tend toward the beginning of the war. But, now, as I begin Volume II, "Year of Atonement," set in 1862, I'll be adding some new resources that treat some of the new areas I plan to explore including: the war in Charleston, SC; early settlements in Boulder, CO; slaves escaping to Canada and their lives there.

This is just a start . . . they are simply in order of how quickly they came to mind, and how quickly I found them on my bookshelves. I am scanning my bookshelf and see many more . . . I'll keep adding as I use them and/or remember them being useful."
The Civil War Day By Day: An Almanac, 1861-1865 (Da Capo Paperback)
The Civil War Day By Day: An Almanac, 1861-1865 (Da Capo Paperback)
"Always useful as the first place to get the 'big picture.' Not just men and battles, but quite a bit of good stuff on the lives behind these events. Love the granular scale."
Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford History of the United States)
Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford History of the United States)
"Great basic history and extremely solid for both expected and unexpected details. Very well written and often fun to read."
This Mighty Scourge: Perspectives on the Civil War
This Mighty Scourge: Perspectives on the Civil War
"I found myself turning to this one quite often for perspectives and added dimension."
This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War
This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War
"Critical for the times when I had to deal with the all-too-frequent reality of death and dying in 1861 (both on and off the battlefield)."
The Spirit Divided: Memoirs of Civil War Chaplains-The Union
The Spirit Divided: Memoirs of Civil War Chaplains-The Union
"Critical for capturing the reality of my chaplain characters."
The Spirit Divided: Memoirs of Civil War Chaplains--The Confederacy
The Spirit Divided: Memoirs of Civil War Chaplains--The Confederacy
"And this as well, to make sure to get both sides."
The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861
The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861
"Invaluable for background and setting the stage."
The Blue and the Gray: Volume 1: From the Nomination of Lincoln to the Eve of Gettysburg (Classic History of the Civil War , Vol 1)
The Blue and the Gray: Volume 1: From the Nomination of Lincoln to the Eve of Gettysburg (Classic History of the Civil War , Vol 1)
"Sometimes feels dated, but still an invaluable resources for the basic facts and the details that surround them."
Victorian America: Transformations in Everyday Life
Victorian America: Transformations in Everyday Life
"Invaluable for lifestyle details"
The Plantation Mistress: Woman's World in the Old South
The Plantation Mistress: Woman's World in the Old South
"Very useful for creating Southern women's points of view and outlining the realities of life in a slave-holding household."
Black Southerners, 1619-1869 (New Perspectives on the South)
Black Southerners, 1619-1869 (New Perspectives on the South)
"Extremely useful for the slave perspective and points of views."
They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the Civil War
They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the Civil War
"Great for a character who was passing as a man to fight in the war."
The Mysterious Private Thompson: The Double Life of Sarah Emma Edmonds, Civil War Soldier
The Mysterious Private Thompson: The Double Life of Sarah Emma Edmonds, Civil War Soldier
"I used Sara Edmonds as a loose model for a critical character.  I absolutely recommend this book as an overview of her life."
The Outer Banks of North Carolina, 1584-1958
The Outer Banks of North Carolina, 1584-1958
"Very useful resource for outline of Outer Banks history and geography."
A Woman Doctor's Civil War: Esther Hill Hawks' Diary (Women's Diaries and Letters of the Nineteenth-Century South)
A Woman Doctor's Civil War: Esther Hill Hawks' Diary (Women's Diaries and Letters of the Nineteenth-Century South)
"Important for details of medical activities and social realities of gender roles among the medical staff"
Women on the Civil War Battlefront (Modern War Studies)
Women on the Civil War Battlefront (Modern War Studies)
"Useful for expanding possibilities of how the war impacted woman and what roles they could perform"
From Midnight to Dawn: The Last Tracks of the Underground Railroad
From Midnight to Dawn: The Last Tracks of the Underground Railroad
"This is an extremely useful and very well written and put together study of one of the less-frequently-examined aspects of the struggle from slavery to freedom and the Underground Railroad."
South Carolina's Civil War: A Narrative History
South Carolina's Civil War: A Narrative History
"This is a fine and well presented overview of the role of SC in the Civil War, and the impact of the war on South Carolina."
One list item is no longer in our catalog.