Best Civil War Books

Everyone is well aware of the American Civil War that took place from 1861 to 1865. It was a deadly war over some sectional issues between northern and southern America. The major issues were inclusive of the subject of slavery as well as the central government’s power.

The civil war was not just a big national event but had a humongous impact on human history. Approximately, 7.5 lakhs people died in the civil war due to military activity. This number was 2 1/2% of the total population at that time. As you can see, it was a major loss to mankind. Such a scenario questioned the government policies as well as the social structure of 19th century America.

The history related to this incident is so vast that every text is incapable of explaining it.

But, there are several resources that will give you a deep understanding of this horrendous incident. In this article, we have entailed the 10 best civil war books available.

Let’s begin!

10 Best Civil War Books

1. Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory

Race & Reunion – The Civil War in American Memory

Author: David W Blight
Last Published: 2002
Publisher: Harvard University Press


Race and Reunion is one of the most spectacular books ever compiled on the subject of civil war. It has earned several accolades such as the Bancroft prize, Merle Curti award, Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize, Frederick Douglass prize, and many more.

Civil war has left a big impression on world history. All the incidents and the traumatizing aspects related to this war have been very well curated in this work. In 1865, America was completely ravaged. The aftermath of the war resulted at the beginning of reconciliation between the north and the south. Several African Americans participated in the war.

Various happenings have been clearly mentioned such as:

  • The idea of the Lost Cause
  • Reconstruction
  • Reminiscences of battle by soldiers
  • Rituals of Memorial Day

Blight has beautifully narrated the tragedy, realism, romance, and triumph of the civil war. Overall, it is an interesting tale that depicts how a country got over the civil war without any justice. After the war, problems such as race and reunion still persisted and haunts to date.

To understand more about this unforgettable incident, purchase your copy now!

You can buy this book here.

2. The Fiery Trial

The Fiery Trial – Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery

Author: Eric Foner
Last Published: 2012
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company


It is a masterpiece written by Eric Foner. Counted as one of the most awarded books of the civil war. The Fiery Trial was also selected as a notable book of the year by The New York Times book review. An elaborative description regarding Lincoln’s lifelong involvement with the critical issue of American slavery is presented. The writer has opted for an easy-to-understand writing style with impressive examples.

The book contains deep thoughts and views of Lincoln regarding slavery as well as his attitude towards this prejudice. A very common belief was that Lincoln was an abolitionist, which the book counters completely. Moreover, the writer has vividly described him as a man of growth and a fearless person who believed in his principles.

The depiction of slavery and its role in the civil war along with Lincoln’s thoughts have been portrayed in a remarkable way in the book. This compilation is extremely popular and a must-read if you are interested in civil war history.

The research is incredible and contains tonnes of information and helps you to understand the unique history that has made America what it is today!

Do purchase your copy to know more!

You can buy this book here.

3. Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South

Confederate Reckoning Power and Politics in the Civil War South

Author: Stephanie McCurry
Last Published: 2018
Publisher: Tantor Audio


Stephanie has compiled this book in a very different sense that tells you about the Confederate experience. A lot of important topics are included in the tale of the confederate states of America such as the pro-slavery antidemocratic nation by the white southern slaveholders and much more. The book talks about the southern statesmen who had established the slavery regimes in detail.

The civil wartime resulted in a shortage of labor, food, and soldiers and created domestic havoc for thousands of people. Both the slaves and women became strong sections of society who protested against the government and its tax and welfare policies. They struggled hard to achieve freedom and liberty from that suppression. This incident of suppressing its own population hit the confederate states of America hard, and it faced a lot of protests.

Later on, the government was forced to take care of its population and address their grievances. This book overall entails a great political battle wherein the suppressed parts of the society transformed the future of confederacy and the result of the Civil War.

If you hold any interest to know more about this great historical event, then you must purchase your copy now!

You can buy this book here.

4. Absalom, Absalom

Absalom, Absalom

Author: William Faulkner
Last Published: 1966
Publisher: Mc-Graw-Hill Education


This is a remarkable classic book that will fascinate you. William has been an ambitious contributor to American literature.

The beginning of this book may seem heavy and confusing but the more you read, the more you get captivated. Slowly and gradually the topics and the incidents mold in a way to form a meaningful story. All the happenings associated with the civil war are described intricately.

The work of the writer is phenomenal and very well researched. This book is surely a little complicated but is a powerhouse of information. It starts from a bold description where the founder of the great plantation appears and seizes the hundred square miles of land to build his mansion. This story describes the destruction of civil war and the rough inception of the new South.

The narrative by the writer describes the glorious imagination with a powerful prose style.

To read and explore more about the same, you must buy your copy now!

You can buy this book here.

5. The Annotated Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant

The Annotated Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant

Author: Ulysses S. Grant, Elizabeth D. Samet
Last Published: 2019
Publisher: Liveright


This book is one of the most ambitious editions written by Ulysses and Elizabeth. Originally it was published in 1885 by Mark Twain and 33 years later, it is re-written and decorated.

This edition was released on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Grant’s 1868 presidential election.

Both the historical and cultural aspects during the civil war era have been intricately depicted in the book. Moreover, the literary authority of the authors is remarkable.

This book is richly annotated and contains a rich collection of the incidents of civil war. The concept of lost cause has been explained in a groundbreaking way that shows the legacy of civil war.

Additionally, the transformation of Grant from being a tanner’s son to a decorated military leader is explained insightfully. Overall, it is a brilliant and illuminating text at its finest. If you are interested, then this is a highly enlightening text with paintings, photographs, and maps.

There is a good collection of impressive quotes as well. To explore and understand more about the historic event along with some interesting incidents, purchase your copy now!

You can buy this book here.

6. The Republic of Suffering

This Republic of Suffering Death and the American Civil War (Vintage Civil War Library)

Author: Drew Gilpin Faust
Last Published: 2009
Publisher: Vintage


In the American Civil War, lakhs of soldiers lost their lives. The book describes how such large-scale deaths transformed individual lives as well as the entire nation. It impacted mental health majorly. Lakhs of families bore the brunt of such a massive scaled horrendous incident.

The book contains thoughts and statements by various families, generals, surgeons, nurses, statesmen depicting their horrifying experiences related to the war. It shows the pain they went through during such a tough time. There is a proper explanation regarding the social and political implications of the war and the deaths.

The violent rhetoric description of the civil war by the writer explains how people dealt with it. The massive death toll faced by America resulted in the transformation of society completely. In addition, there was a major change regarding the behavior and perceptions of people after seeing the death rate.

Overall, it is a harrowing but fascinating read and provides a new dimension to the basic understanding of the civil war.

To unravel more about the incident, purchase your copy now!

You can buy this book here.

7. Battle Cry of Freedom

Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford History of the United States)

Author: James M. McPherson
Last Published: 2005
Publisher: OUP USA


Battle Cry of freedom is a proud Pulitzer prize winner. This is a remarkable edition that defines the history of civil war profoundly. The style of writing opted by the writer is fast-paced yet friendly. It is filled with the description of battles, strategic maneuvring, various personalities, and politics. A lot of incidents are described with a dramatic and analytical touch.

The writer has vividly written his views on slavery, the beginning of the Republican party, internal dissent, causes of secession, and much more. There are chapters that define the deep beliefs and sentiments of the conflict between northern and southern areas.

The writing has brought the feeling of utter division into life due to the Civil War along of the healing process. A detailed description before the war is mentioned so as to provide a better understanding with the background. The informative chapters of the book talk about key causes that resulted in the civil war. It is written in the clearest and concise way.

Along with the explanation, there are engaging pictures and maps that help to deliver a better understanding of the topic geographically.

To gain a detailed outlook regarding the political, social, military history of the American Civil War, purchase your copy now!

You can buy this book here.

8. Personal Memoirs of U.S Grant

Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant

Author: Ulysses S Grant
Last Published: 2006
Publisher: Cosimo Classics


Mark Twain stated this book as ‘the most remarkable work of its kind since the commentaries of Julius Caesar’. Ulysses completed this book days before his demise. It is undoubtedly a legendary autobiography of the Union General and the 18th president of the United States. The chapters, in the beginning, describe his childhood, education, and his military career.

The meticulous observations made by Grant on the subject of civil war make this work a foundation of understanding the civil war. It is a fundamental book for various military strategists and history students to gain an insight into the incident.

Interestingly, the depiction of the incidents helps to understand the values and the thinking of people who survived in these events. Ulysses was a confident and humble personality who contributed his skills to the union. He gives an elaborate account of the political leadership in the US and how it changed the course of politics today.

Overall, it is a remarkable memory of the American civil war and the reconciliation aftermath. You must purchase a copy now to explore more about the incident through the experiences of the President of the United States.

You can buy this book here.

9. Mary Chestnut’s Civil War

Mary Chesnut's Civil War

Author: Mary Chestnut, C. Vann Woodward
Last Published: 1981
Publisher: Yale University Press


This incredible book is the winner of the 1982 Pulitzer Prize. Mary Chestnut has remarkably written about the incidents pertaining to the civil war. She was married to a prestigious member of the confederate government. The habit of writing the incidents in her journal resulted in this beautiful compilation. There are plenty of events such as war, politics, the complex societal norms written in the book.

She was horrified due to the concept of slavery and termed herself as an abolitionist.

The journal consists of many incidents of the civil war in the most uncorrupted manner describing the historical event. The book is comprehensive and ought to be a challenging read for some.

Mary was a smart and socially well-connected individual and hence filled her diary with some valuable insights. To unravel this magnificent book, you must purchase your copy now!

You can buy this book here.

10. Robert E. Lee: A Biography

Robert E. Lee A Life

Author: Allen C. Guelzo
Last Published: 2021
Publisher: Knopf


It is an incredible biography of the General that describes his life back in Virginia high Society to his career in the US Army. His leadership in the civil war was remarkable and much applauded. The biography is very well written with a highly capturing writing style.

It is a meticulously researched book that writes the historical context intricately. The General was dominant who faced enemies in the field and showed timidity with the government leaders.

Overall, it is a sentimental biography that describes intellectual responsibility that is owed to the past by the present.

To be a part of this masterpiece, you must purchase your copy now!

You can buy this book here.


History has witnessed numerous wars and important events in its account. However, there are some incidents that are unforgettable and the most horrendous. The American Civil War was one such war that left an impact on a major way in the life of millions of people.

It changed various aspects of American life such as social, political, behavioral, and much more. If you are interested to understand such an important historical event, then you must widen your knowledge base by reading about it.

It further helps to create an understanding of how our history has shaped our present lives.

In this article, we curated a list of the 10 best Civil War books available. We hope that the information assists you in sorting out your ambiguities and helps you in making an informed decision.

Keep reading, keep learning!

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