The Best Books On Civil War Soldiers And Home Life Experiences

The Books I Picked & Why

Service with the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers

By Rufus R. Dawes

Service with the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers

Why this book?

This memoir has long been considered a classic, referenced by scores of Civil War authors over many decades. The editor of the 1961 edition, historian and author Alan T. Nolan, noted the following: “Its excellence is the product of three factors: the character and abilities of the author; the historical techniques and the materials which he used, and the events in which he and his regiment participated. These factors – author, technique and events – combine to make the book a superb document of its kind.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 1: Fort Sumter to Perryville

By Shelby Foote

The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 1: Fort Sumter to Perryville

Why this book?

This sweeping, multi-volume history is a thoroughly researched and readable recording of the Civil War. Written as a narrative, Foote uses his informal writing style to tell the complete history from the perspective of the participants – both north and south – while involving every aspect - the military, political, diplomatic, and home fronts. In my opinion, it is the best overall account of the conflict.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Co. Aytch: Maury Grays, First Tennessee Regiment Or, a Side Show of the Big Show

By Sam R. Watkins

Co. Aytch: Maury Grays, First Tennessee Regiment Or, a Side Show of the Big Show

Why this book?

“High Private” Sam Watkins wrote his memoir from memory eighteen years after the war. His account of life and death as a rebel soldier is gripping, shocking, and tragic, yet often humorous. He dutifully followed orders, was dedicated to his cause, saw many friends killed close by, and killed enemy soldiers close up – young men in a different uniform much like himself. His attitude and prejudices reflect those of the average Confederate enlisted man. The reader experiences in intimate detail the often-desperate life of the common soldier.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Killer Angels: The Classic Novel of the Civil War

By Michael Shaara

The Killer Angels: The Classic Novel of the Civil War

Why this book?

This historical fiction work won a Pulitzer Prize and caught the interest of the average reader, thus promoting Civil War history more effectively than many other scholarly works. The author uses the three-day battle of Gettysburg to relate the causes of the war and the motivations that led old friends to face each other on the battlefield. Each day is told from the perspectives of Robert E. Lee and James Longstreet for the Confederacy, and Joshua Chamberlain and John Buford for the Union. It is filled with the author’s sense of emotion-laden decisions made by these officers as they went into battle.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Iron Brigade: A Military History

By Alan T. Nolan

The Iron Brigade: A Military History

Why this book?

Named one of the “Top 100 Civil War Books” by the Centennial Commission, this records the history of the most famous Union unit of the war. Nolan uses many first-person accounts to ensure accuracy; Service with The Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers being predominant. This book first inspired my interest in studying the Civil War, and sparked my special admiration for Rufus Dawes, eventually leading to the creation of my own book, To My Best Girl – Courage, Honor and Love in the Civil War: The Inspiring Life Stories of Rufus Dawes and Mary Gates.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Closely Related Book Lists

Random Book Lists