The Best Civil War Novels

The Books I Picked & Why

Gone With the Wind

By Margaret Mitchell

Gone With the Wind

Why this book?

This is one of my all time favorites! The book was so popular when it was first published that it was quickly picked up by Hollywood and made into a movie. The film is a classic, even though disclaimers have recently been attached to it. Gone With the Wind won the 1939 Academy Award for best picture, best director, best adapted screenplay, best actress Vivian Leigh, who played Scarlett O’Hara, and best supporting actress, Hattie McDaniel, who was the first African American to win an Oscar.


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Cold Mountain

By Charles Frazier

Cold Mountain

Why this book?

Like Gone With the Wind, this book was also made into an award-winning movie. I find the novel interesting because of the way Charles Frasier wrote it. There are no quotation marks in the book! I’m not sure why he chose to write it like that, but it’s interesting, nevertheless.


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The Widow of the South

By Robert Hicks

The Widow of the South

Why this book?

I really like this book because it tells the poignant tale of Carrie McGavock, who was forced to deal with the Civil War when it appeared in her front yard. This is based on a true story. Carrie was so compassionate that she buried the solders, both northern and southern, on her property. The cemetery at her home, Carnton Plantation, is still there. I had the opportunity to meet the author, Robert Hicks, at a book signing, and visit Carnton Plantation. The home served as a field hospital during the Battle of Franklin, and bloodstains still remain on the wooden floors.


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March

By Geraldine Brooks

March

Why this book?

This book is not as well known, but the author, Geraldine Brooks, did an amazing job in describing the war. She took an interesting spin by writing a side story to the famous novel, Little Women. Interestingly, Little Women was written by Louisa May Alcott, who served as a Union nurse during the Civil War.


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Shiloh

By Shelby Foote

Shiloh

Why this book?

This novel was written by Shelby Foote, who gained notoriety when he appeared on Ken Burns’ documentary series, the Civil War. Mr. Foote is probably better known for his trilogy of the Civil War, which is narrative nonfiction. However, he did write fiction as well, and this book is one example.


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