100 books like A Savage War

By Williamson Murray, Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh,

Here are 100 books that A Savage War fans have personally recommended if you like A Savage War. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Memoirs of Service Afloat During the War Between the States

Dwight Sturtevant Hughes Author Of Unlike Anything That Ever Floated: The Monitor and Virginia and the Battle of Hampton Roads, March 8-9, 1862

From my list on the naval history of the American Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lover of the sea, ships, seamen, and their histories, particularly of navies in the Civil War. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy (1967) with a history major, I served twenty years as a surface warfare officer (ship driver) on most oceans in ships ranging from destroyer to aircraft carrier and with river forces in Vietnam. I earned an M.A. in Political Science and an M.S. in Information Systems Management. Now as a historian, author, and speaker, I’m committed to communicating our naval heritage in an educational and entertaining manner for old hands and new generations. Writing about ships is the next best thing to driving them.

Dwight's book list on the naval history of the American Civil War

Dwight Sturtevant Hughes Why did Dwight love this book?

Former Confederate Admiral Raphael Semmes, commander of infamous Rebel commerce raiders Sumter and Alabama, presents a picturesque portrait of nineteenth-century war at sea and foreign lands with salty terminology well calibrated for landlubbers. He composes not only as a preeminent seaman, but as an accomplished international lawyer and superb narrator. He also is an unapologetic, unreconstructed Rebel. Semmes interprets his ships and men as personifying the conflict—its causes, progression, and outcome—discoursing over seamanship, meteorology, oceanography, geography, naval technology, strategy, diplomacy, international law, and constitutional theory. I found Memoirs of Service Afloat to be an erudite, compelling portrait of the Confederate mind well worth studying for its own sake as well as a great sea story. It ranks among the best Civil War memoirs.

By Raphael Semmes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Memoirs of Service Afloat During the War Between the States as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A number of publications have appeared, first and last, concerning the author and his career, as was naturally to have been expected. The Alabama was the first steamship in the history of the world—the defective little Sumterexcepted—that was let loose against the commerce of a great commercial people. The destruction which she caused was enormous. She not only alarmed the enemy, but she alarmed all the other nations of the earth which had commerce afloat, as they could not be sure that a similar scourge, at some future time, might not be let loose against themselves. The Alabama, in consequence,…


Book cover of The Civil War at Sea

Dwight Sturtevant Hughes Author Of Unlike Anything That Ever Floated: The Monitor and Virginia and the Battle of Hampton Roads, March 8-9, 1862

From my list on the naval history of the American Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lover of the sea, ships, seamen, and their histories, particularly of navies in the Civil War. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy (1967) with a history major, I served twenty years as a surface warfare officer (ship driver) on most oceans in ships ranging from destroyer to aircraft carrier and with river forces in Vietnam. I earned an M.A. in Political Science and an M.S. in Information Systems Management. Now as a historian, author, and speaker, I’m committed to communicating our naval heritage in an educational and entertaining manner for old hands and new generations. Writing about ships is the next best thing to driving them.

Dwight's book list on the naval history of the American Civil War

Dwight Sturtevant Hughes Why did Dwight love this book?

A lucid overview and fresh perspective will enlighten even a knowledgeable enthusiast of the topic while providing to new readers a solid grounding before engaging in more detailed studies. This short history by a foremost naval historian (170 pages plus ample notes and a bibliographical essay) fulfills both objectives. The chapters are thematic beginning with a review of the technological revolution in ships and guns, and then covering the distinct naval theaters from the encircling blockade, to the unique river war, major coastal campaigns, and worldwide commerce warfare. They contain insightful assessments of principal personalities including the secretaries of the navies and commanders on both sides. The flyleaf correctly describes the book as “an authoritative operational history of Civil War navies that is both readable and concise.”

By Craig L. Symonds,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Civil War at Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work provides an assessment of the crucial roles played by the Union and Confederate navies in the Civil War.

From Craig Symonds, author of the 2009 Lincoln Prize award-winner Lincoln and His Admirals, comes a fascinating look at the era when American naval power came of age. Thoroughly researched and excitingly written, it brings to light a wealth of new information on a pivotal aspect of the Civil War.

The Civil War at Sea covers navies on both sides of the conflict, examining key issues such as the impact of emergent technologies, the effectiveness of the Union's ambitious strategy…


Book cover of The USS Carondelet: A Civil War Ironclad on Western Waters

Dwight Sturtevant Hughes Author Of Unlike Anything That Ever Floated: The Monitor and Virginia and the Battle of Hampton Roads, March 8-9, 1862

From my list on the naval history of the American Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lover of the sea, ships, seamen, and their histories, particularly of navies in the Civil War. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy (1967) with a history major, I served twenty years as a surface warfare officer (ship driver) on most oceans in ships ranging from destroyer to aircraft carrier and with river forces in Vietnam. I earned an M.A. in Political Science and an M.S. in Information Systems Management. Now as a historian, author, and speaker, I’m committed to communicating our naval heritage in an educational and entertaining manner for old hands and new generations. Writing about ships is the next best thing to driving them.

Dwight's book list on the naval history of the American Civil War

Dwight Sturtevant Hughes Why did Dwight love this book?

“The cruise of a ship is a biography,” wrote Raphael Semmes about his ocean-straddling tall ship, CSS Alabama. “The ship becomes a personification. She not only, ‘walks the waters like a thing of life,’ but she speaks in moving accents to those capable of interpreting her.” In this excellent biography of Carondelet’s career, a squat, ugly, ironclad gunboat also becomes a major character along with the men who designed and built the revolutionary vessel, stoked her engines, and fired her big guns. In tactics and technology, riverine warfare was invented from scratch and indispensable to victory. This work (and Smith’s entire series on brown water war vessels) provides fresh and enlightening perspectives on every major battle down the Mississippi from Forts Henry and Donelson through Vicksburg to Red River.

By Myron J. Smith Jr.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The USS Carondelet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The USS Carondelet had a revolutionary ship design and was the most active of all the Union's Civil War river ironclads. From Fort Henry through the siege of Vicksburg and from the Red River campaign through the Battle of Nashville, the gunboat was prominent in war legend and literature. This history draws on the letters of Ensign Scott Dyer Jordan and Rear Adm. It falls in the category of Henry Walke's memoirs.


Book cover of The Burnside Expedition in North Carolina: A Succession of Honorable Victories

Dwight Sturtevant Hughes Author Of Unlike Anything That Ever Floated: The Monitor and Virginia and the Battle of Hampton Roads, March 8-9, 1862

From my list on the naval history of the American Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lover of the sea, ships, seamen, and their histories, particularly of navies in the Civil War. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy (1967) with a history major, I served twenty years as a surface warfare officer (ship driver) on most oceans in ships ranging from destroyer to aircraft carrier and with river forces in Vietnam. I earned an M.A. in Political Science and an M.S. in Information Systems Management. Now as a historian, author, and speaker, I’m committed to communicating our naval heritage in an educational and entertaining manner for old hands and new generations. Writing about ships is the next best thing to driving them.

Dwight's book list on the naval history of the American Civil War

Dwight Sturtevant Hughes Why did Dwight love this book?

Renowned naval engagements such as New Orleans and Mobile Bay are well covered by campaign studies and general histories but the Burnside Expedition is a neglected and fascinating operation described in this engaging work. With no precedent, procedures, or practice in massive joint operations, the frequently maligned General Ambrose Burnside teamed with Flag Officer Louis M. Goldsborough—commanding the Atlantic Blockading Squadron—to integrate Burnside’s “coastal division” with naval units and rag-tag merchant vessels into the first dedicated, rapid-deployment, amphibious force. In a series of engagements from February to April 1862 behind the barrier islands and in the sounds of North Carolina, they planned and executed textbook landings without a textbook, capturing the strategically vital region for the Union. With aggressive follow-up, the campaign might have shortened the conflict.

Book cover of Sherman's Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William T. Sherman, 1860-1865

Candice Shy Hooper Author Of Lincoln's Generals' Wives: Four Women Who Influenced the Civil War--For Better and for Worse

From my list on William Tecumseh Sherman.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was fated to write about war. Born on Guam to a Navy hospital corpsman and his intrepid wife, I spent four years on tank-littered beaches of Saipan and sailed to Japan on a U.S. Navy LST at the age of seven. When I graduated from college with a major in journalism, a Navy man, the late great Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson hired me as his press secretary, and we talked military history even as he made it in Afghanistan. Thirty-three years later, I went back to school for an MA in History. As I write, my great grandfather’s bugle from the Spanish-American War and the flag that covered my father’s coffin at his Arlington Cemetery funeral sit atop my shelves of military history books.

Candice's book list on William Tecumseh Sherman

Candice Shy Hooper Why did Candice love this book?

Who doesn’t like to read other people’s mail? And if you’re going to do it, why not read the best? Sherman was as prolific as he was eloquent. Brooks Simpson and Jean Berlin, two of our best Civil War scholars, compiled and annotated hundreds of Sherman’s wartime letters to his family, friends, and enemies.

Though he was often circumspect in his letters, fearing they might be stolen and published by the newspapers he hated, you can feel the emotion in his letters that you don’t find in his Memoirs. Every page contains a thought, a sentence, a phrase that stays in the reader’s mind.

“You remember what Polonius spoke to his son Laertes, ‘Beware a quarrel, but being in, bear it, that thy oppressor may beware of thee.’ What is true of a single man is equally true of a Nation.”

By Brooks D. Simpson (editor), Jean V. Berlin (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sherman's Civil War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first major modern edition of the wartime correspondence of General William T. Sherman, this volume features more than 400 letters written between the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and the day Sherman bade farewell to his troops in 1865. Together, they trace Sherman's rise from obscurity to become one of the Union's most famous and effective warriors.
Arranged chronologically and grouped into chapters that correspond to significant phases in Sherman's life, the letters--many of which have never before been published--reveal Sherman's thoughts on politics, military operations, slavery and emancipation, the South, and daily life in the Union army,…


Book cover of Shiloh 1862

Robert C. Plumb Author Of Your Brother in Arms: A Union Soldier's Odyssey

From my list on the heart of the American Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I graduated from undergraduate studies with a BA in history. Virtually all of my history courses taken to obtain my degree were in the European area. When I began writing my book Your Brother in Arms, I spent my research time immersed in Civil War history. This took the form of archival research, reading scores of Civil War history books, and visiting every major Civil War battlefield where the Army of the Potomac fought. These experiences, along with time spent with Civil War historians over five years, resulted in an intellectual, physical, and emotional involvement in the American Civil War that took hold of me and never let go.

Robert's book list on the heart of the American Civil War

Robert C. Plumb Why did Robert love this book?

The Battle of Shiloh has been the subject of a number of distinguished historians, but only Winston Groom is able to capture the 170 individual fights between regiments with clarity and skill. The sheer numbers are daunting—100,000 soldiers fighting in 12 square miles. But Groom has told the complex Shiloh story effectively without getting bogged down in “minute detail and technical aspects” as he reports in his beginning notes. Groom’s writing is enhanced by ten detailed maps that bring lucency and specificity to the narrative. Shiloh, fought in 1862, had a deeper impact that foretold the future. In Groom’s words: “It was as if at Shiloh they had unleashed some giant, murderous thing that was now going to drench the country in blood, just as Sherman had predicted back in 1860.”     

By Winston Groom,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shiloh 1862 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this gripping telling of the first "great and terrible" battle of the Civil War, Groom describes the dramatic events of April 6 and 7, 1862, when a bold surprise attack on Ulysses S. Grant's encamped troops and the bloody battle that ensued would alter the timbre of the war.


Book cover of Troubled Refuge: Struggling for Freedom in the Civil War

John C. Rodrigue Author Of Freedom's Crescent: The Civil War and the Destruction of Slavery in the Lower Mississippi Valley

From my list on emancipation during the U.S. Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian who has always been fascinated by the problem of slavery in American history. Although a “Yankee” by birth and upbringing, I have also always been drawn to the history of the American South—probably because it runs so counter to the dominant narrative of U.S. history. My childhood interest in history—especially in wars, and the Civil War in particular—was transformed in college into a serious engagement with the causes and consequences of the Civil War. I pursued this interest in undertaking graduate study, and I have devoted my entire scholarly career to the examination of slavery and emancipation—and their consequences for today.

John's book list on emancipation during the U.S. Civil War

John C. Rodrigue Why did John love this book?

Chandra Manning explores an essential but oddly overlooked aspect of wartime emancipation—the experiences of freed people in the “contraband” camps and other places of refuge that the federal military established in occupied Confederate territory. While this might seem like a narrow topic, Manning’s book addresses any number of larger issues surrounding the war and emancipation, and it brims with original insights. She provides an overview of life in these places of “troubled refuge,” but she also delves deeply into particular camps, showing the experiences of individual people. Manning also argues—persuasively, I think—that the camps served as training grounds in which the freed people came to stake a claim not only to freedom but also to equal citizenship guaranteed by the national government.

By Chandra Manning,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Troubled Refuge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of What This Cruel War Was Over, a vivid portrait of the Union army’s escaped-slave refugee camps and how they shaped the course of emancipation and citizenship in the United States.

Even before shots were fired at Fort Sumter, slaves recognized that their bondage was at the root of the war they knew was coming, and they began running to the Union army. By the war’s end, nearly half a million had taken refuge behind Union lines in improvised “contraband camps.” These were crowded and dangerous places, with conditions approaching those of a humanitarian crisis. Yet families…


Book cover of The Last Full Measure

Philip Duke Author Of The Village: A Novel of Wartime Crete

From my list on wartime historical fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired professor of anthropology. I was first drawn to archaeology after a high-school presentation by a Classics master on the ruins of Paestum. I have enjoyed exploring the past but have a special passion for Greece. Because of my working-class origin in Liverpool, England, class struggle and the fight for human dignity has been a leitmotif of first my academic and now my fiction writing. My books explore how war inevitably changes the lives of the characters. I have bachelors and graduate degrees from Cambridge University and the University of Calgary. I'm a Fellow of the Society of Antiquities. I hope you enjoy the books on my list!

Philip's book list on wartime historical fiction

Philip Duke Why did Philip love this book?

I actually think that Shaara has outdone his father. Both, of course, weave the story around actual historical events, although Shaara Junior’s introduction of fictional characters livens the narrative up. I’ve enjoyed all of Shaara’s books, regardless of their historical setting, but I chose this one because it was a good way for me to learn more about the Civil War post-Gettysburg and also have a really good read.

By Jeff Shaara,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Full Measure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the Pulitzer prize–winning classic The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara created the finest Civil War novel of our time. In the bestselling Gods and Generals, Shaara’s son, Jeff, brilliantly sustained his father’s vision, telling the epic story of the events culminating in the Battle of Gettysburg. Now, Jeff Shaara brings this legendary father-son trilogy to its stunning conclusion in a novel that brings to life the final two years of the Civil War.
 
As The Last Full Measure opens, Gettysburg is past and the war advances to its third brutal year. On the Union side, the gulf between the politicians…


Book cover of Grant Moves South

Donald L. Miller Author Of Vicksburg: Grant's Campaign That Broke the Confederacy

From my list on the life of Ulysses S. Grant.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written ten books, four of them prize-winning best sellers, but this is my first book on the Civil War. Fortunately, it’s been generously received. The Wall Street Journal declared it “an epic story” and “rattling good history,” while Pulitzer Prize-winning James M. McPherson declared it “the fullest and best history of the Vicksburg campaign.“ Another Pulitzer receipient, David Blight, praised it for its “sizzling and persuasive prose. Miller has found the way,” he said, “to write both military and emancipation history in one profound package.”

Donald's book list on the life of Ulysses S. Grant

Donald L. Miller Why did Donald love this book?

The war’s greatest military historian takes on its greatest military figure in Bruce Catton’s spirited two-volume classic: Grant Moves South and Grant Takes Command. Written decades ago, these paired volumes remain the finest historical account of Grant’s triumphant Civil War career. In the opening volume, we meet the recently minted brigadier in September 1861 as he prepares to join his army at desolate Cairo, Illinois, having just recovered from a succession of crushing personal failures. In the concluding volume, we leave him at Petersburg Virginia in April 1865, after he demolishes R. E. Lee’s army in the climactic battle of the war. Wannabe revisionists think Catton is outdated. Don’t believe them.

By Bruce Catton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Grant Moves South as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the first part of the military biography of Ulysses S. Grant and follows Grant from the summer of 1861 when he takes on his first Civil War command through battles at Belmont, Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth and Vicksburg to the summer of 1863. The author has used letters, diaries and despatches in order to provide a rounded picture of this general's personality. "Grant Takes Command" forms the second part of this biography.


Book cover of Grant

Ron McFarland Author Of Edward J. Steptoe and the Indian Wars: Life on the Frontier, 1815-1865

From my list on biographies of army officers who wrested the West.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a retired English prof with a lifelong interest in history. My father fostered my fascination with Civil War battlefields, and growing up in Florida, I studied the Seminole wars in school and later at FSU. While teaching at the University of Idaho (nearly 50 years), I pursued my interest in the Indian wars of the mid-19th century and developed a curiosity about tribes in the inland Northwest, notably the Coeur d’Alene, Spokane, and Nez Perce. My critical biography of Blackfeet novelist James Welch occasioned reading and research on the Plains tribes. I recommend his nonfiction book, Killing Custer: The Battle of Little Bighorn and the Fate the Plains Indians.

Ron's book list on biographies of army officers who wrested the West

Ron McFarland Why did Ron love this book?

I’m admittedly self-impressed, having read this volume of nearly a thousand papers, poky reader that I am. The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer strikes me as little short of brilliant with this masterpiece on Ulysses S. Grant, whose military career began with distinguished service in the Mexican War and overlaps with that of Steptoe, subject of my biography. Chernow focuses much of his book on Grant’s Civil War service, but his relevance to my theme is the subject of Grant’s presidency, taken up in later pages. Like many officers who served in the West before and after the Civil War, Grant recognized that white incursions on Indian lands were largely to blame for the violence out West, and he was sympathetic to their plight. Custer’s defeat occurred during Grant’s second administration.

By Ron Chernow,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Grant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times bestseller and New York Times Book Review 10 Best Books of 2017

"Eminently readable but thick with import . . . Grant hits like a Mack truck of knowledge." -Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic

Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Chernow returns with a sweeping and dramatic portrait of one of our most compelling generals and presidents, Ulysses S. Grant.

Ulysses S. Grant's life has typically been misunderstood. All too often he is caricatured as a chronic loser and an inept businessman, or as the triumphant but brutal Union general of the Civil War. But these stereotypes don't…


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Interested in the American Civil War, William Tecumseh Sherman, and Ulysses S. Grant?

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