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Topic: Looking for Recommendations for Civil War Books

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Date Posted: 9/29/2018 9:54 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
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I just finished reading Our Man in Charleston: Britain's Secret Agent in the Civil War South by Christopher Dickey. If you have ever wondered what kept the British from officially recognizing the Confederacy, this book will provide the answer. The Confederacy tried every trick in the book to get France and Britain to provide official recognition of it as a nation, but was never able to do so. France wanted to, but would not do so unless Britain took the lead. Why the British didn't is pretty much explained in this book, along with numerous other political and economic analyses many history books of this period do not cover.

At its heart was a small time British counsel, Robert Bunch, who played both sides: pretending to support southern slave views in Charleston, while providing the British Foreign Office with all the information it needed to deny official recognition of the Confederacy. He did so at the risk of his life and that of his family. He did it so well, Union Secretary of State Seward did everything in his power to destroy Bunch and his career, unaware that Bunch was one of the Union government's best allies in the international political war between the Union and the Confederacy.

 



Last Edited on: 6/11/19 5:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 2/11/2019 2:38 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
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The Long Surrender by Burke Davis. a page turner. very good history. book opens with the fall of Richmond in April 1865. follows Jefferson Davis from this point until his death. Mostly about his movements through the south until his capture, then imprisonment, and later life after.

Date Posted: 3/19/2019 1:07 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 5,419
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My personal opinion is any Civil War history book by Dr. James McPherson, the "Dean of Civil War History,"  is a "must read."  Others may disagree.



Last Edited on: 1/22/20 7:41 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 6/11/2019 1:32 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
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If you ever wondered how the mythology of the "Lost Cause" emerged and became a bulwalk of Southern reasoning, then you need to read The Making of a Confederate by William Barney. The 245 pages of the book sound like it might be a long read, but the hardback is only seven inches high and five inches wide. My copy now has a place on my Civil War bookshelf.



Last Edited on: 6/11/19 1:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/3/2019 10:38 AM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
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I just finished reading Chattanooga---A Death Grip on the Confederacy by James Lee McDonough. The books presents the best, and very readable, description of the campaign and the individual battles which led to the final assault---without orders---of the Army of the Cumberland up the steep slope of Missionary Ridge, resulting in one of the few times a Confederate army fled the field of battle in a rout.

Such an unusual movement by an entire Union army led to various legends we see repeated in numerous books. The author describes what really happened and why the Confederates were not able to repluse the assault. If you are interested in the Civil War in the West, you need to read this book.



Last Edited on: 7/3/19 10:42 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 8/9/2019 5:39 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 5,419
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So, what do you do when you lose a war and you know many of the people on the other side are really looking forward to punishing you? The only man who could have prevented this is dead, killed by an idiot who acted without your knowledge. Basically, you run!

Flight Into Oblivion describes, in interesting detail, the actions of the major players of the Confederate goverment from the evacation of Richmond to months after the war was over.



Last Edited on: 8/17/19 10:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/15/2019 5:42 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
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As I state in my review of One War at a Time by Dean Mahin, if you are interested in the Civil War beyond the battlefield, then this book is a must read about Lincoln's handling of interational diplomacy.

Date Posted: 12/1/2019 9:39 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 5,419
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Okay, here is another good read about a part of Civil War history you won't find in many other books.  It's about the development of the telegraph and President Lincoln's use of it.

Mr Lincoln's T-Mails : How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War



Last Edited on: 12/1/19 9:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 1/19/2020 5:07 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 5,419
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Just finished another one. This one is about the late-1864 March to the Sea by two Union armies under Sherman.  If anything proved to the Confederacy that the War was lost, this was it. After this event, only the Confederate soldiers still had hope. The civilians had none. Desertions in the Confederate armies increased as their familes, no longer supporting the war, wrote letters to their men telling them to come home. As usual, see my review on the book's page.

Southern Storm : Sherman's March to the Sea.

Date Posted: 2/14/2020 4:51 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 5,419
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I just finished reading The Civil War Infantryman : In Camp, on the March, and in Battle. In some ways I found it repetitive of all the books I've read on this period. However, I also realized it condensed into one book much of the knowledge I've gained by reading hundreds of Civil War books. While it will never replace all those hundreds for me, for many others who aren't fascinated by this period and who aren't willing to read those books, it is a great exposure to the men who fought in that war.



Last Edited on: 2/14/20 4:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 6/21/2020 11:31 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 5,419
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So, it's been several months since I've recommended a book. As I, like many of you, have been house-bound, I've read a bunch of Civil War books in this time. Here's one I especially enjoyed. As I state in my reivew, the 423 pages of text teach you more about the end of the war than several dozen other Civil war books do. Plus, it is an enjoyable read. The author does jump around some, but then a lot was happening in this short period. Plus, he doesn't wax long over events covered better in detail in other books.  For example, he doesn't spend a lot of time covering Lincoln's assassination.

Out of the Storm : The End of the Ciivl War, April-June 1865

Date Posted: 8/16/2020 10:23 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 5,419
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I just finished The New York City Draft Riots by Berstein and wanted to warn anyone who might come across a copy of this book. You will probaby not like it. I certainly didn't.  See my review.



Last Edited on: 8/16/20 10:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
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