100 books like A Stillness at Appomattox

By Bruce Catton,

Here are 100 books that A Stillness at Appomattox fans have personally recommended if you like A Stillness at Appomattox. 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 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…


Book cover of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

Cathal J. Nolan Author Of Mercy: Humanity in War

From my list on how wars are won and lost.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an award-winning teacher and writer who introduces students and readers to war in a profession that today is at best indifferent to military history, and more often hostile. That gives me a wry sense of irony, as colleagues would rather teach about fashion than fascism and truffles over tragedy. Having written a multiple award-winning book that covered 2,000 years of war, frankly I was sickened by how the same mistakes were made over and again. It has made me devoted to exploring possibilities for humane behavior within the most inhumane and degraded moral environment humanity creates; where individuality is subsumed in collective violence and humanity is obscured as a faceless, merciless enemy.

Cathal's book list on how wars are won and lost

Cathal J. Nolan Why did Cathal love this book?

Beautifully written masterwork on one of the most important wars of the 19th century. It takes the reader from the experience of ordinary soldiers in battle to key debates around the cabinet table, in a rare display of dexterity and understanding of all levels of war. You will enter Grant’s HQ from where he ran the critical Western theater of operations and sit across from Lincoln as he makes the key decision for a hard war that let the Union maximize its resources and win. And you will walk into Lee’s HQ where the Confederacy lost the war in bursts of Southern hubris that led to two ill-conceived invasions of the North that provoked the final crushing.  

By James M. McPherson,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Battle Cry of Freedom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now featuring a new Afterword by the author, this handy paperback edition of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom is without question the definitive one-volume history of the Civil War.
James McPherson's fast-paced narrative fully integrates the political, social, and military events that crowded the two decades from the outbreak of one war in Mexico to the ending of another at Appomattox. Packed with drama and analytical insight, the book vividly recounts the momentous episodes that preceded the Civil War including the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry. From there it moves into…


Book cover of Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

Rick Swegan Author Of The Practice of Ethical Leadership: Insights from Psychology and Business in Building an Ethical Bottom Line

From my list on moral courage in a world where courage seems to be lacking.

Why am I passionate about this?

For a long time, I’ve been intrigued by the different ways that people reason about moral issues. Add to that a mystification about why smart people do unethical things and you have the basis for our book on ethical leadership. I’ve spent the better part of my career evaluating and coaching potential leaders and realized relatively recently that I wanted to work with people who did the “right thing.” Demonstrating the moral courage to speak up in the face of opposition has become increasingly difficult—hence my list of books on moral courage. I hope you enjoy it.

Rick's book list on moral courage in a world where courage seems to be lacking

Rick Swegan Why did Rick love this book?

I read a lot, and this book always shows up in my top five all-time favorites.

Lovingly written, Blight draws a compelling picture of a complex, endlessly fascinating human being. I love the power of Douglass’s words and voice. In my opinion, this is a great book about the man who arguably may be the greatest African American our country has produced. He was a voice for social justice in a time and place where speaking up brought real physical risk. 

By David W. Blight,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Frederick Douglass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in History**

"Extraordinary...a great American biography" (The New Yorker) of the most important African-American of the nineteenth century: Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became the greatest orator of his day and one of the leading abolitionists and writers of the era.

As a young man Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) escaped from slavery in Baltimore, Maryland. He was fortunate to have been taught to read by his slave owner mistress, and he would go on to become one of the major literary figures of his time. His very existence gave the lie to slave owners: with…


Book cover of Shenandoah 1862: Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign

S.C. Gwynne Author Of Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War

From my list on the American Civil War that you should start with.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been fascinated by the Civil War and read many books about it for pleasure over the years. Then in 2010 I decided to get serious and undertook a full-length biography of Stonewall Jackson. Four extremely intense years later I published Rebel Yell, and followed it a few years later with Hymns of the Republic, about the war’s final year. So I have spent much of the past decade doing little else but thinking about and writing about the Civil War.

S.C.'s book list on the American Civil War that you should start with

S.C. Gwynne Why did S.C. love this book?

I discovered this book a few years ago while writing my biography of Jackson. The subject is probably the single most dazzling bit of tactical warfare in American history. Its relatively short duration—March through June, 1882—means that Cozzens can go deep, and go deep he does.

By Peter Cozzens,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the most intriguing and storied episodes of the Civil War, the 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign has heretofore been related only from the Confederate point of view. Moving seamlessly between tactical details and analysis of strategic significance, Peter Cozzens presents a balanced, comprehensive account of a campaign that has long been romanticized but little understood. He offers new interpretations of the campaign and the reasons for Stonewall Jackson's success, demonstrates instances in which the mythology that has come to shroud the campaign has masked errors on Jackson's part, and provides the first detailed appraisal of Union leadership in the…


Book cover of The Killer Angels

Rebecca Branch Author Of The Summer of '71: A Romance of Youth in Timeless Rome

From my list on adventure, love, lust, and life’s lessons through time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am all the characters in this and every book I have written. I grew up in Rome, teach Roman art and architectural history, and am a practicing architect. My books are suffused with the things I love, from culture to cuisine, pace of life, love of consort, affection for children and animals, to the adventures I have been so fortunate to enjoy through my fifties. Reading has been a big part of my education. I have many interests and loves to share. These five book recommendations are but the tip of the iceberg. I became an author so I could write what remains unwritten and read the stories I wish to tell.

Rebecca's book list on adventure, love, lust, and life’s lessons through time

Rebecca Branch Why did Rebecca love this book?

I have never been brought so close to a battle and a battlefield experience as when reading this book.

The horror, tension, excitement, valor, and regret of warfare are clearly depicted. The motivations for fighting for a terrible cause are examined. The determination to see things through to the bitter end is in evidence. It is a blueprint for writing warfare and helps the reader understand the excitement and tension in leading troops to the fear and futility of being on the line.

Best of all, Shaara has been able to bring life to Lee, who so often is referred to as a marble man. Here, he’s been humanized, and this alone makes our reading of history so much more personal and relevant.

By Michael Shaara,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Killer Angels as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“My favorite historical novel . . . a superb re-creation of the Battle of Gettysburg, but its real importance is its insight into what the war was about, and what it meant.”—James M. McPherson
 
In the four most bloody and courageous days of our nation’s history, two armies fought for two conflicting dreams. One dreamed of freedom, the other of a way of life. Far more than rifles and bullets were carried into battle. There were memories. There were promises. There was love. And far more than men fell on those Pennsylvania fields. Bright futures, untested innocence, and pristine beauty…


Book cover of Pickett's Charge

Bruce L. Brager Author Of Grant's Victory: How Ulysses S. Grant Won the Civil War

From my list on leadership in the American Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

The writer part should be obvious. I write books under my own name and as a ghostwriter. But also, like any good writer, I am a reader. The earliest books I recall reading, after Dick and Jane, were books on American history, in particular the American Civil War. When I looked to write on my own, this was the first area I looked into. Write what you know. Write what you like to read.

Bruce's book list on leadership in the American Civil War

Bruce L. Brager Why did Bruce love this book?

The subtitle of this book is A Microhistory of the Final Attack at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863. This puts it well. This is virtually a “real-time” history of one of the most significant battles in American History. It is well documented and the book is very well written. It places the reader in the battle as the fate of the United States hangs in the balance.

By George R. Stewart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book covers a critical part of the Battle of Gettysburg.


Book cover of A Government of Our Own: The Making of the Confederacy

George C. Rable Author Of Conflict of Command: George McClellan, Abraham Lincoln, and the Politics of War

From my list on the American Civil War beyond the usual battles.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been researching and writing about the era of the American Civil War for something over half a century. My passion for the subject remains strong today, having just published my seventh book. Given the seemingly endless amounts of material from soldiers and civilians alike, I have enjoyed deeply researching neglected subjects and writing about them in a way that appeals to both historians and general readers. For me the Civil War never grows stale, there are always little-used sources to research and fresh ideas to consider. The American Civil is omnipresent in my life—not excluding weekends and holidays!   

George's book list on the American Civil War beyond the usual battles

George C. Rable Why did George love this book?

A Government of Our is a richly textured history of the formation of the Confederate States of America replete with high drama and compelling characters. 

This is political history in the grand narrative tradition grounded in excellent research and provocative assessments. Davis renders sharp judgments on his subjects in often pungent prose. 

This is a book to savor and enjoy as the author presents his story in loving detail. Here is a fascinating mix of the personal and the political, the humorous and the sad, the ironic and the bizarre.

By William C. Davis,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Government of Our Own as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Recounts the formation of the Confederacy, looks at the political forces that shaped it, and discusses the impact of slavery.


Book cover of The Passing of the Armies

Bruce L. Brager Author Of Grant's Victory: How Ulysses S. Grant Won the Civil War

From my list on leadership in the American Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

The writer part should be obvious. I write books under my own name and as a ghostwriter. But also, like any good writer, I am a reader. The earliest books I recall reading, after Dick and Jane, were books on American history, in particular the American Civil War. When I looked to write on my own, this was the first area I looked into. Write what you know. Write what you like to read.

Bruce's book list on leadership in the American Civil War

Bruce L. Brager Why did Bruce love this book?

This is a reprint of the original edition from 1915. Chamberlain, the Maine general and hero of Little Round Top, was also a brigade commander in the last campaigns of the war in the east. Chamberlain tells the story of the end of the American Civil War, through the ceremonial surrender at Appomattox, which Chamberlain supervised and the parade in Washington DC. 

On the last page of his book, Chamberlain quotes the June 28, 1865 general orders of the Army of the Potomac, “ . . . this army, as an organization, ceases to exist.”  A one-time aspiring minister, Chamberlain is writing religiously when he adds “Ceases to exist!  Are you sure about that?” A century and a half later there is still a clear picture of the Army of the Potomac and the whole period remains a clear part of our historical memory. This book is well worth reading.  

By Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Joshua Chamberlain's "The Passing of the Armies" is one of the classic books of Civil War history. When it was posthumously published in 1915, it received acclaim for its Victorian prose and accuracy in bringing to life the final twelve days of the war in Virginia. Although highly critical of Sheridan and defensive of the operations of his Fifth Corps, Chamberlain's work is an important contribution to the true story of this intense fighting. It is an important contribution by a contemporary who, as a distinguished Union officer, witnessed the events he wrote about. "The Passing of the Armies" is…


Book cover of Days of Glory: The Army of the Cumberland, 1861–1867

David Powell Author Of Maps of Chickamauga: An Atlas of the Chickamauga Campaign

From my list on the American Civil War in the western theater.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by the American Civil War since I was 8 years old. I have been a serious student of the subject since my college years, where I majored in American History. I have played and designed boardgames concerning battles of the war, including a number of games on battles in the Western Theater, I have been a living historian and reenactor, and now, an author-published by both academic and popular presses. The battle of Chickamauga became a serious interest as early as 1979.

David's book list on the American Civil War in the western theater

David Powell Why did David love this book?

Larry J. Daniel’s history of the Federal Army of the Cumberland—the Army of Tennessee’s main opponent for much of the war—provides a thorough, insightful examination of that army; the first since the 19th Century. The Army of the Cumberland (first known as the Army of the Ohio) was named for the Cumberland River, which drainage became the army’s area of operations for much of the first half of the war. Commanded successively by Don Carlos Buell, William Starke Rosecrans, and finally, George H. Thomas, the Army of the Cumberland has received far less attention in Civil War than its two rivals, the Armies of the Potomac (in Virginia) and the Army of the Tennessee (in Mississippi.) Daniel’s work addresses that imbalance, and in doing so, brings the army’s officers and men to life.

George Thomas was, like Robert E. Lee, a Virginian; unlike Lee, he chose to remain in the…

By Larry J. Daniel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A potent fighting force that changed the course of the Civil War, the Army of the Cumberland was the North's second-most-powerful army, surpassed in size only by the Army of the Potomac. The Cumberland army engaged the enemy across five times more territory with one-third to one-half fewer men than the Army of the Potomac, and yet its achievements in the western theater rivaled those of the larger eastern army. In Days of Glory, Larry J. Daniel brings his analytic and descriptive skills to bear on the Cumberlanders as he explores the dynamics of discord, political infighting, and feeble leadership…


Book cover of Autumn of Glory: The Army of Tennessee, 1862-1865

David Powell Author Of Maps of Chickamauga: An Atlas of the Chickamauga Campaign

From my list on the American Civil War in the western theater.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by the American Civil War since I was 8 years old. I have been a serious student of the subject since my college years, where I majored in American History. I have played and designed boardgames concerning battles of the war, including a number of games on battles in the Western Theater, I have been a living historian and reenactor, and now, an author-published by both academic and popular presses. The battle of Chickamauga became a serious interest as early as 1979.

David's book list on the American Civil War in the western theater

David Powell Why did David love this book?

Thomas L. Connelly’s seminal final volume of his history of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, first published in 1971, remains one of the best works of Civil War history, not just of the Western Theater. Connelly’s writing helped to shift the historical focus from the Eastern Theater, where Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia dominated the conversation for more than a century. While the west was not totally neglected, it was clearly an afterthought.

Connelly’s work focused on the long, unfortunate history of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, a command which rarely tasted victory, and was saddled with a host of incompetent leadership from the top down. The long-running dysfunction between army commander Braxton Bragg and senior corps commander Leonidas Polk created chaos on and off the battlefield, eventually leading to Bragg’s replacement and (for a time) Polk’s banishment. Connelly examined and explained this and other command…

By Thomas Lawerence Connelly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Fletcher Pratt Award and the Jefferson Davis Award
A companion volume to Army of the Heartland

Near the end of 1862 the Army of Tennessee began a long and frustrating struggle against overwhelming obstacles and ultimate defeat. Federal strength was growing, and after the Confederate surrender at Vicksburg, the total Union effort became concentrated against the Army of Tennessee. In the face of these external military problems, the army was also plagued with internal conflict, continuing command discord, and political intrigue.

In Autumn of Glory, the final volume of Thomas Lawrence Connelly's definitive history of one of…


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