1. The Civil War: A Visual History
From the School Library Journal (06/01/2011):
A stunning, large-format pictorial history. The seven chapters are arranged chronologically, beginning with an overview of slavery in the United States, 1815 to 1860, and ending with a survey of the legacies of the conflict during the period 1865 to 1877. The narrative and illustrations highlight all of the issues surrounding the war, including the first shots fired at Bull Run, the blockade of the South, the question of border states, important battles, soldiers' uniforms and weapons, African Americans' roles, the importance of the railroad, photography, Abraham Lincoln's assassination, and Reconstruction. Chapter introductions are followed by illustrated time lines and by short topical divisions that include biographies, maps, original documents or eyewitness accounts, illustrations, historical photographs, artifacts, and reproductions of paintings. Page layouts and the use of color are superb, and sidebars abound, adding to this extraordinary book. An awesome resource for commemorations of the Civil War sesquicentennial.—"Patricia Ann Owens, Illinois Eastern Community Colleges" Copyright 2011 Reed Business Information
2. The Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James McPherson
"The best one-volume treatment of [the Civil War era] I have ever come across. It may actually be the best ever published.... I was swept away, feeling as if I had never heard the saga before.... Omitting nothing important, whether military, political, or economic, he yet manages to make everything he touches drive the narrative forward. This is historical writing of the highest order."--Hugh Brogan, New York Times Book Review
"The finest single volume on the war and its background."--The Washington Post Book World
"Deftly coordinated, gracefully composed, charitably argued and suspensefully paid out, McPherson's book is just the compass of the tumultuous middle years of the 19th century it was intended to be, and as narrative history it is surpassing. Bright with details and fresh quotations, solid with carefully-arrived-at conclusions, it must surely be, of the 50,000 books written on the Civil War, the finest compression of that national paroxysm ever fitted between two covers."--Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Immediately takes its place as the best one-volume history of the coming of the American Civil War and the war itself. It is a superb narrative history, elegantly written.--The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Matchless.... The book's political and economic discussions are as engrossing as the descriptions of military campaigns and personalities."--Library Journal
"McPherson cements his reputation as one of the finest Civil War historians....Should become a standard general history of the Civil War period--it's one that will stand up for years to come."--Kirkus Reviews
"Robust, glittering history."--Booklist
3. The Civil War in Missouri: A Military History by Louis Gerteis
One of my new favorites. Here is what other historians are saying:
Union and Confederate armies in vivid detail. Although Missouri was
notable for the intensity of its guerrilla warfare, this book
demonstrates that conventional armies largely determined developments in
the state, forming the anchor of Union control in the trans-Mississippi
theater."--James M. McPherson, author of "This Mighty Scourge:
Perspectives on the Civil War"
"Gerteis knows Missouri history in
the Civil War better than anyone else. This book should bring about an
important reconsideration of Missouri's place in Civil War history. That
reconsideration will affect our view not only of the state's history
but of the nature of the whole Civil War."---Mark Neely, author of
"Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation: Constitutional Conflict in the
American Civil War""
With this well-written military history of
the conflict in Missouri, Louis S. Gerteis fills a long-standing void in
state, regional, and national history in relation to the Civil War. He
corrects the popular misconception that in Missouri conventional
fighting gave way almost entirely to guerrilla war after 1861. Missouri
was in fact the scene of the war's third largest number of engagements
(after Virginia and Tennessee), and it was the interplay between
conventional and unconventional war that gave the conflict there its
particularly horrific nature. This is a most welcome addition to Civil
War scholarship."--William Garrett Piston, editor of" A Rough "
4. Wilson's Creek by William Garrett Piston and Richard Hatcher
The definitive history of the Battle of Wilson's Creek (near Springfield, Missouri) in August 1861. This was the largest engagement fought in Missouri, and the second major battle of the Civil War (after First Bull Run or Manassas). Piston is a professor at Missouri State University. Hatcher was the Park Historian at Wilson's Creek, and is now at Fort Sumter.
5. Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War by David Herbert Donald.
I read this at the age of ..., well, as a youngster when it first came out in 1960. A wonderful biography and the winner of the Pulitzer Prize way back then. Some of today's comments are below:
David Herbert Donald, Harvard professor emeritus, traces Sumner's life as the nation careens toward civil war. In a period when senators often exercised more influence than presidents, Senator Charles Sumner was one of the most powerful forces in the American government and remains one of the most controversial figures in American history. His uncompromising moral standards made him a lightning rod in an era fraught with conflict.
Sumner's fight to end slavery made him a hero in the North and stirred outrage in the South. In what has been called the first blow of the Civil War, he was physically attacked by a colleague on the Senate floor. Unwavering and arrogant, Sumner refused to abandon the moral high ground, even if doing so meant the onslaught of the nation's most destructive war. He used his office and influence to transform the United States during the most contentious and violent period in the nation's history.
Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War presents a remarkably different view of our bloodiest war through an insightful reevaluation of the man who stood at its center.
"A truly perceptive study."
"Few books can be recommended wholeheartedly to the specialist and the general reader alike. This one can."
New York Times Book Review
"[Full of] Donald's unparalleled knowledge and provocative interpretations."
James M. McPherson, New York Times Book Review
6. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
The author's classic multiple biography showing how Lincoln was able to bring his political rivals into his government. A book club favorite.
7. Friend and Foe Alike: A Tour Guide to Missouri's Civil War by Gregory Wolk
A fabulous, detailed, turn-by-turn guide to every important event of the Civil War in Missouri. Don't get lost again on those back country roads searching for the site of that obscure battle in which your great-great-great grandpa fought.
From the website: http://civilwartourguide.com/
Missouri is a treasure trove of Civil War history, far from the track beaten by most cultural tourists, yet Missouri witnessed more battles or engagements than any other state with the exception of Virginia and Tennessee. Travelers from the Midwest seeking adventure can spend days exploring the battles, the military campaigns and the personalities that all together make up Missouri’s Civil War. With detailed driving instructions that take the traveler from site to site, Civil War buffs and historians alike will enjoy reading and traveling the pages of this informative and attractive new book.