10 books like Banners at Shenandoah

By Bruce Catton,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Banners at Shenandoah. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Killer Angels

By Michael Shaara,

Book cover of The Killer Angels: The Classic Novel of the Civil War

In Shaara’s telling we learn the intellectual and spiritual grounding by which men lead themselves to give “their last full measure.” If a book of brilliant conversations between a New England academic commanding officer and an uneducated Irish immigrant top sergeant does not explain the choice to you then you may never learn it.  

Perhaps it is most simply put in the title which comes from a conversation between the two men. The professor from Bowdoin College says simply, “Man is an angel.” To wit his British-trained top sergeant responds, “Colonel, darlin’, if man is an angel he is a killer angel.”

The Killer Angels

By Michael Shaara,

Why should I read it?

10 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…


Uncle Tom's Cabin

By Harriet Beecher Stowe,

Book cover of Uncle Tom's Cabin

“So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war,” Abraham Lincoln supposedly said when he met Stowe. The quote may be apocryphal, but it points to a truth about the 1852 novel that shaped American opinions about the cruelty and injustice of slavery. The writing is a bit melodramatic for modern sensibilities, but it’s hard to beat the scene in which the escaped slave Eliza tries to carry her young son across an icy river for freedom on the other side.

Uncle Tom's Cabin

By Harriet Beecher Stowe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Uncle Tom's Cabin is the most powerful and enduring work of art ever written about American slavery"-Alfred Kazin

"To expose oneself in maturity to Uncle Tom's cabin may...prove a startling experience"-Edmund Wilson

In Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe created America's first black literary hero as well as the nation's antecedent protest novel. The novel's vast influence on attitudes towards African American slavery was considered an incitation towards the American Civil War; conjointly, its powerful anti-slavery message resonated with readers around the world at its time of publication.

With unashamed sentimentality and expressions of faith, Harriet Beecher Stowe, in Uncle…


Civil War Stories

By Ambrose Bierce,

Book cover of Civil War Stories

Okay, it’s a collection of stories rather than a novel. Yet no veteran of the Civil War wrote better fiction about the conflict and its terrors than Bierce. An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is one of America’s greatest short stories: A staple of high-school English courses, it has a twist at the end that's worthy of The Twilight Zone and often inspires an immediate second reading. Chickamauga reveals the horror of war from the perspective of a child. Amid these fictions, What I Saw of Shiloh is Bierce’s nonfiction account of the 1862 battle in Tennessee.

Civil War Stories

By Ambrose Bierce,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Newspaperman, short-story writer, poet, and satirist, Ambrose Bierce (1842–1914) is one of the most striking and unusual literary figures America has produced. Dubbed "Bitter Bierce" for his vitriolic wit and biting satire, his fame rests largely on a celebrated compilation of barbed epigrams, The Devil's Dictionary, and a book of short stories (Tales of Soldiers and Civilians, 1891). Most of the 16 selections in this volume have been taken from the latter collection.
The stories in this edition include: "What I Saw at Shiloh," "A Son of the Gods," "Four Days in Dixie," "One of the Missing," "A Horseman in…


The Red Badge of Courage

By Stephen Crane,

Book cover of The Red Badge of Courage

A stone-cold classic in war writing, I studied this short novel at university and loved it. Crane never actually went to war and yet his depiction of men fighting in the American Civil War felt so real, that it gave me the confidence to write historical fiction, knowing I’d never experienced these things but my research and imagination could be brought to bear and hopefully transport the reader in the same way Crane did. It also began a lifelong obsession for me with the American Civil War. When I first started writing historical novels I knew I wanted to write about other combat arenas than the two C20th world wars, choosing the Boer War and The Seven Years’ War respectively. 

The Red Badge of Courage

By Stephen Crane,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Red Badge of Courage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here is Stephen Crane's masterpiece, The Red Badge of Courage, together with four of his most famous short stories. Outstanding in their portrayal of violent emotion and quiet tension, these texts led the way for great American writers such as Ernest Hemingway.


Murder in the Crypt

By Irina Shapiro,

Book cover of Murder in the Crypt: A Redmond and Haze Mystery Book 1

I know I keep beating the same drum, but just try to take a look at that cover and tell me the story doesn’t look intriguing (and yes, I do see the similarities between this cover and that of The Murder on Black Swan Lane). 

Like any self-respecting English mystery, this one begins with a main character discovering he’s received a bequest of an English estate and its accompanying title. This particular main character is Jason Redmond, a Captain and doctor in the Union Army during the American Civil War. At the end of the war, he returns home to find his sweetheart has married his best friend during his absence. When he receives news of the bequest, having no one to marry and still experiencing haunting memories of the tragedies he witnessed during the war, he heads to England to dispose of the estate (at least, that’s his…

Murder in the Crypt

By Irina Shapiro,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Murder in the Crypt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the body of a young man is found stuffed into the tomb of a medieval knight, Parish Constable Daniel Haze is tasked with investigating his first solo murder case. Suspicion instantly falls on the only stranger to arrive in the village of Birch Hill just before the crime took place, but the American captain proves to be an unexpected asset. A former soldier and a skilled surgeon, Jason Redmond is not only willing to assist Haze with the investigation but will risk his own safety to apprehend the killer.With no suspects, no motive, and few leads to follow, Redmond…


The Iron Brigade

By Alan T. Nolan,

Book cover of The Iron Brigade: A Military History

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.

The Iron Brigade

By Alan T. Nolan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"I am immensely impressed . . . this particular Brigade needed a book of its own and now it has one which is definitely first-rate. . . . A fine book." -Bruce Catton

"One of the '100 best books ever written on the Civil War.'" -Civil War Times Illustrated

" . . . remains one of the best unit histories of the Union Army during the Civil War." -Southern Historian

". . . The Iron Brigade is the title for anyone desiring complete information on this military unit . . ." -Spring Creek Packet, Chuck Hamsa

This is the story…


The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce

By Ambrose Bierce,

Book cover of The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce

Unlike so many writers, Bierce had actual Civil War experience, as a Union soldier who saw action in a number of key battles. His stories are characterized by a rigorous attention to detail. But Bierce enjoyed serving up verisimilitude with a twist. A strong sense of the macabre, rivaling Poe, is present in some of Bierce’s finest stories such as “Chickamauga,” “One of the Missing,” and “Parker Adderson, Philosopher.” His timeless “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” features one of the most mind-bending twists in all of fiction.

The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce

By Ambrose Bierce,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

American journalist and satirist Ambrose Bierce is probably best known for his short stories about the American Civil War. The author's craft for story-telling is exemplified by his famous "An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge", which is the story of Peyton Farquhar, a Confederate sympathizer condemned to die by hanging upon the Owl Creek Bridge. That great short story along with 96 others forms this exhaustive edition of "The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce."


This Hallowed Ground

By Bruce Catton,

Book cover of This Hallowed Ground: A History of the Civil War

I picked up this book while on a study course in the United States – I was based in Washington DC and intended to visit some of the nearby Civil War battlefields, and decided that I needed to know more about the conflict. It was perhaps the first American history book I had read, and immediately I was struck by the very different style of writing when compared with European works.

For a single-volume account of a terrible conflict that did so much to shape the United States, this is probably unmatched. The people involved, from those in high-level political positions to the men and women caught up in the fighting, are brought to life in an unforgettable way.

This Hallowed Ground

By Bruce Catton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Hallowed Ground as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic one-volume history of the American Civil War simultaneously captures the dramatic scope and intimate experience of that epic struggle, by Pulitzer Prize-winner Bruce Catton.
 
Covering events from the prelude of the conflict to the death of Lincoln, Catton blends a gripping narrative with deep, yet unassuming, scholarship to bring the war alive on the page in an almost novelistic way. It is this gift for narrative that led contemporary critics to compare this book to War and Peace, and call it a “modern Iliad.” Now over fifty years old, This Hallowed Ground remains one of the best-loved and…


Heroines of Mercy Street

By Pamela D. Toler,

Book cover of Heroines of Mercy Street: The Real Nurses of the Civil War

The death toll of the Civil War was horrendous, the list of the wounded? Endless. Medical schools did not exist; doctor trained their assistants. There were no emergency rooms, no hospitals, no triage, and certainly no female nurses to care for those bleeding male bodies. In many respects, the medical profession was born on Civil War battlefields with the brave women who ventured among the dead and dying to staunch the flow of blood. So, who were the women who emerged from their sheltered lives to care for wounded soldiers in the Northern army? I wrote about one of them—Nellie Chase—but I thought she was an exception. These stories of the women who joined the Northern war effort expanded my knowledge beyond my wildest expectations.

Heroines of Mercy Street

By Pamela D. Toler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Heroines of Mercy Street as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A look at the lives of the real nurses depicted in the PBS show Mercy Street.

Heroines of Mercy Street tells the true stories of the nurses at Mansion House, the Alexandria, Virginia, mansion turned war-time hospital and setting for the PBS drama Mercy Street. Among the Union soldiers, doctors, wounded men from both sides, freed slaves, politicians, speculators, and spies who passed through the hospital in the crossroads of the Civil War, were nurses who gave their time freely and willingly to save lives and aid the wounded. These women saw casualties on a scale Americans had never seen…


The War for the Union, Vol. 1

By Allan Nevins,

Book cover of The War for the Union, Vol. 1: The Improvised War, 1861-1862

Yes, I know: “Eight volumes? Are you mad, Kratman?” 

This is unquestionably the greatest single history on the American Civil War ever written. There are over sixty thousand books about the Civil War in existence. You cannot hope to read them all. This being true, if the subject interests you—and it ought, because the Civil War made the United States what it is—if you can read only eight, make this series the eight. Think of it as a really long single volume work.

The War for the Union, Vol. 1

By Allan Nevins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The War for the Union, Vol. 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Adventures of the leader of the Vermont militia which took on the British Army during the American Revolution


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the American Civil War, the Union Army, and the Iliad?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the American Civil War, the Union Army, and the Iliad.

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