100 books like Civil War Barons

By Jeffry D. Wert,

Here are 100 books that Civil War Barons fans have personally recommended if you like Civil War Barons. 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 The Training Ground: Grant, Lee, Sherman, and Davis in the Mexican War, 1846-1848

Nick Vulich Author Of 1861

From my list on capturing the essence of the Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

What could be cooler to a kid growing up in the 1960s and 1970s than the Civil War? TV spoon-fed us westerns—Bonanza, F-Troop, The Lone Ranger, and The Wild, Wild West. Many of the stories were set during the Civil War or had characters molded by it. And then, somewhere in the mid-1960s, my parents took me to a civil war reenactment. Guns cracked. Cannons boomed, and men fell. I was hooked. I’ve devoured every Civil War book I could get my hands on for the past fifty years and watched every movie remotely connected to the subject. So, it’s only natural I wrote a book about it.

Nick's book list on capturing the essence of the Civil War

Nick Vulich Why did Nick love this book?

The Mexican War molded the generals who fought in it. They formed lifelong friendships that ceased for a short while during the Civil War, then resumed as soon as it was over. Clever men, like Ulysses S. Grant, remembered how their opponents acted during the Mexican War, then used that information to formulate their battle plans.

Grant was cocky and overconfident going into the Fort Donelson campaign. His experiences in Mexico told him General Pillow would play it safe and let him march up to the fort with any size force. And later, when he assumed command of all the Union armies, Grant shifted the paradigm. While most Union commanders saw Robert E. Lee as unbeatable, Grant knew he was mortal. That was the secret sauce that carried him through the Wilderness campaign.

I loved the writing style on this one. If you’re unfamiliar with Martin Dugard, he is co-author…

By Martin Dugard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For four years during the Civil War, Generals Grant and Lee clashed as bitter enemies in a war that bloodied and scorched the American landscape. Yet in an earlier time, they had worn the same uniform and fought together. In The Training Ground, acclaimed historian Martin Dugard presents the saga of how, two decades before the Civil War, a group of West Point graduates-including Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and William Tecumseh Sherman-fought together as brothers. Drawing on a range of primary sources and original research, Dugard paints a gripping narrative of the Mexican War,…


Book cover of Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever

Nick Vulich Author Of 1861

From my list on capturing the essence of the Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

What could be cooler to a kid growing up in the 1960s and 1970s than the Civil War? TV spoon-fed us westerns—Bonanza, F-Troop, The Lone Ranger, and The Wild, Wild West. Many of the stories were set during the Civil War or had characters molded by it. And then, somewhere in the mid-1960s, my parents took me to a civil war reenactment. Guns cracked. Cannons boomed, and men fell. I was hooked. I’ve devoured every Civil War book I could get my hands on for the past fifty years and watched every movie remotely connected to the subject. So, it’s only natural I wrote a book about it.

Nick's book list on capturing the essence of the Civil War

Nick Vulich Why did Nick love this book?

If Abraham Lincoln had survived the war, the country might have followed an entirely different track. Rather than send carpetbaggers to rule the southern states, Lincoln planned on working with the existing rebel governments to transition them back into the Union. However, his policy toward the newly freed blacks was uncertain. Lincoln’s hope was that blacks and whites would learn to live together given time. He just hadn’t figured out how to make that happen.

What’s certain is that Andrew Johnson’s ascendancy to power derailed many of Lincoln’s plans and reversed many of the gains African-Americans had won. Johnson favored quick restoration of the southern states. At the same time, he refused to educate the freedmen and work them into society. His hope was that things would go back to the way they were before the war. Blacks would no longer be slaves but still be dependent on their former…

By Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The anchor of "The O'Reilly Factor" recounts one of the most dramatic stories in American history - how one gunshot changed the country forever. In the spring of 1865, the bloody saga of America's Civil War finally comes to an end after a series of increasingly harrowing battles. President Abraham Lincoln's generous terms for Robert E. Lee's surrender are devised to fulfil Lincoln's dream of healing a divided nation, with the former Confederates allowed to reintegrate into American society. But one man and his band of murderous accomplices, perhaps reaching into the highest ranks of the U.S. government, are not…


Book cover of Shot All to Hell

Nick Vulich Author Of 1861

From my list on capturing the essence of the Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

What could be cooler to a kid growing up in the 1960s and 1970s than the Civil War? TV spoon-fed us westerns—Bonanza, F-Troop, The Lone Ranger, and The Wild, Wild West. Many of the stories were set during the Civil War or had characters molded by it. And then, somewhere in the mid-1960s, my parents took me to a civil war reenactment. Guns cracked. Cannons boomed, and men fell. I was hooked. I’ve devoured every Civil War book I could get my hands on for the past fifty years and watched every movie remotely connected to the subject. So, it’s only natural I wrote a book about it.

Nick's book list on capturing the essence of the Civil War

Nick Vulich Why did Nick love this book?

One of the biggest worries as the Civil War wrapped up was that Confederate troops might disappear into the Appalachian Mountains, where they could conduct guerrilla raids with relative impunity. As a result, the war could have been extended for years, maybe even decades, as the insurgents crept out of their strongholds to conduct hit and run raids. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Confederate leaders like Robert E. Lee and Pete Longstreet reminded Southerners they lost the war. It was time to get on with their lives.

Most southern veterans accepted the situation. However, a few, like Jesse and Frank James and the Younger brothers, couldn’t accept defeat. So they holed up in the backwoods of Missouri and fought a new kind of war using tactics they’d learned under William Quantrill and Bloody Bill Anderson.

Sound familiar? It’s the same situation that has allowed terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda to…

By Mark Lee Gardner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shot All to Hell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shot All to Hell by Mark Lee Gardner recounts the thrilling life of Jesse James, Frank James, the Younger brothers, and the most famous bank robbery of all time. Follow the Wild West's most celebrated gang of outlaws as they step inside Northfield's First National Bank and back out on the streets to square off with heroic citizens who risked their lives to defend justice in Minnesota. With compelling details that chronicle the two-week chase that followed-the near misses, the fateful mistakes, and the bloody final shootout on the Watonwan River, Shot All to Hell is a galloping true tale…


Book cover of Clash of Extremes

Dennis L. Peterson Author Of Christ in Camp and Combat: Religious Work in the Confederate Armies

From my list on little-known aspects of the Confederate era.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an author, editor, and former history teacher and curriculum writer with a special interest in Southern history, particularly the Confederate era. I have written and published two books on lesser-known aspects of the Confederacy, the civilian government (Confederate Cabinet Departments and Secretaries), and religious work in the Confederate armies (Christ in Camp and Combat: Religious Work in the Confederate Armies). I taught on various levels, from junior high through college, and have B.S. and M.S. degrees with post-graduate work in Southern history and religion.

Dennis' book list on little-known aspects of the Confederate era

Dennis L. Peterson Why did Dennis love this book?

Egnal shows that the causes of the war were indeed complex and multifaceted rather than resting on a single simplistic issue. His is a thorough treatment of the many economic factors involved in the war that resulted.

By Marc Egnal,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Clash of Extremes" takes on the reigning orthodoxy that the American Civil War was waged over high moral principles. Marc Egnal contends that economics, more than any other factor, moved the country to war in 1861. Drawing on a wealth of primary and secondary sources, Egnal shows that between 1820 and 1850, patterns of trade and production drew the North and South together and allowed sectional leaders to broker a series of compromises. After midcentury, however, all that changed as the rise of the Great Lakes economy reoriented Northern trade along east-west lines. Meanwhile, in the South, soil exhaustion, concerns…


Book cover of Rebels in the Making: The Secession Crisis and the Birth of the Confederacy

William C. Davis Author Of An Honorable Defeat: The Last Days of the Confederate Government

From my list on the politics of the Confederacy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I find the early days of the Confederacy to be fascinating, a chance to look at Americans in the act of nation-making while surrounded by fear and crisis. Far more than in the convention of 1776, this episode offers sources that allow us to look inside their motives, and to evaluate them both as impractical rebels, and social and political idealists [albeit their idealism was always encased within the confines of a slave society]. Having written biographies of Jefferson Davis, Alexander H Stephens, Robert Toombs, and other Confederate politicians, this subject is a natural object of my interest. While I do not at all agree with or endorse the political measures they took in the secession crisis, I can feel some empathy for them and their people who felt themselves caught in a no-win position, facing [in their view] the possible destruction of their economy, society, and culture.

William's book list on the politics of the Confederacy

William C. Davis Why did William love this book?

This new 2020 book is a fresh synthesis of the scholarly work that has been done on secession and the young Confederacy in the past 30 years and has much that is new to offer  Its treatment of the weeks in Montgomery is rather brief, but insightful, and overall it makes a fine introduction to the political life of the CSA.

By William L. Barney,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rebels in the Making as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Regardless of whether they owned slaves, Southern whites lived in a world defined by slavery. As shown by their blaming British and Northern slave traders for saddling them with slavery, most were uncomfortable with the institution. While many wanted it ended, most were content to leave that up to God. All that changed with the election of Abraham Lincoln.

Rebels in the Making is a narrative-driven history of how and why secession occurred. In this work, senior Civil War historian William L. Barney narrates the explosion of the sectional conflict into secession and civil war. Carefully examining the events in…


Book cover of The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living since the Civil War

Larry Allen Author Of The ABC-Clio World History Companion to Capitalism

From my list on seeing world history thru the lens of economics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up listening to my grandfathers tell stories about the Great Depression (1930s). My cousins would want me to go out and play, but I wanted to stay indoors and listen to the stories. The Depression proved my grandfathers were not the best cotton farmers, but they were good storytellers, and I ended up an economics professor. Along the way, I ran across a thought from renowned British philosopher Francis Bacon: “Histories make men wise, poets, witty, mathematics, subtle;” Modern economics has gone in for subtlety, and maybe is a little too careless of wisdom. This thought sent me delving deeper into economic history, and I ended up writing five books in economics history. 

Larry's book list on seeing world history thru the lens of economics

Larry Allen Why did Larry love this book?

Here is a stimulating and suggestive book, in 18 close-packed chapters, rich in fresh and illuminating insights. The scope, depth, and harmony of this book, strengthened with minute elaboration and carefulness, make it a work of permanent value. Missed here is the dogmatic readiness to force many intricate and diverse things to accommodate themselves to a few simple formulas. The book’s very descriptive title reveals its subject, which is presented with the utmost clearness, thoughtful intelligence, and adequacy of analysis, It is a welcomed reminder that time is the greatest innovator, spawning economic developments missed by the blind mechanisms of theoretical formulas. There is the accuracy of knowledge throughout, thoroughness in setting it forth, and admirable clearness. 

By Robert J. Gordon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rise and Fall of American Growth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the century after the Civil War, an economic revolution improved the American standard of living in ways previously unimaginable. Electric lighting, indoor plumbing, motor vehicles, air travel, and television transformed households and workplaces. But has that era of unprecedented growth come to an end? Weaving together a vivid narrative, historical anecdotes, and economic analysis, The Rise and Fall of American Growth challenges the view that economic growth will continue unabated, and demonstrates that the life-altering scale of innovations between 1870 and 1970 cannot be repeated. Gordon contends that the nation's productivity growth will be further held back by the…


Book cover of Optimally Irrational: The Good Reasons We Behave the Way We Do

Enrico G. De Giorgi Author Of Behavioral Finance for Private Banking: From the Art of Advice to the Science of Advice

From my list on diving into the next generation of behavioral finance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Swiss researcher and university professor who applies mathematics and psychology to build quantitative models for financial decision-making. Most of my scientific contributions belong to a field of research called behavioral finance, that is, the study of how psychology affects financial decisions. I love mathematics, and I am fascinated by its ability to describe complex mechanisms, including those that generate human behavior.  

Enrico's book list on diving into the next generation of behavioral finance

Enrico G. De Giorgi Why did Enrico love this book?

From this book, I learned that cognitive errors and human misbehaviours are not necessarily in contradiction to rationality.

It taught me that the generally negative perspective on psychological mechanisms provided by behavioural economics is limited. By contrast, a deeper understanding of what rationality means is needed. This book enriched my own way of analyzing how psychological factors impact daily decisions.

By Lionel Page,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Optimally Irrational as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For a long time, economists have assumed that we were cold, self-centred, rational decision makers - so-called Homo economicus; the last few decades have shattered this view. The world we live in and the situations we face are of course rich and complex, revealing puzzling aspects of our behaviour. Optimally Irrational argues that our improved understanding of human behaviour shows that apparent 'biases' are good solutions to practical problems - that many of the 'flaws' identified by behavioural economics are actually adaptive solutions. Page delivers an ambitious overview of the literature in behavioural economics and, through the exposition of these…


Book cover of Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science

Kathleen E. Akers Author Of Law and Economics in Jane Austen

From my list on love, law, and money.

Why am I passionate about this?

The fundamental connection between law and economics rules most of the world. This is especially true in romantic relationships, whether the parties realize it or not. Being “Janites” ourselves, in addition to our day jobs of family law professor and economic consultant, we could not help but read Jane Austen and be blown away by her genius understanding of both law and economics. Moreover, the principles she draws out that govern much of her characters’ decision-making are just as applicable today in the world of online dating and Tinder. We hope our book enlightens you on law and economics in new, surprising, and romantic ways.

Kathleen's book list on love, law, and money

Kathleen E. Akers Why did Kathleen love this book?

The world is driven by incentives. Much of economics is not obscure theory but practically understanding how incentives affect decision-making.

Charles Wheelan’s Naked Economics provides a solid foundation for understanding how our lives revolve around economics and why understanding economic principles is critically important for evaluating the social and geopolitical world around us. 

This book was important in our analysis of Jane Austen’s work, as her use of economic principles in romance is what causes her work to be loved for centuries.

By Charles Wheelan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a new edition of the best-selling economics book that won't put you to sleep. In our challenging economic climate, this perennial favourite of students and general readers includes commentary on hot topics such as automation, trade and income inequality. Ten years after the financial crisis, Naked Economics examines how policymakers managed the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.


Book cover of Classical Political Economy and Rise to Dominance of Supply and Demand Theories

Alex M. Thomas Author Of Macroeconomics: An Introduction

From my list on becoming a critical economist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about the dissemination of economic ideas both inside and outside university spaces. In addition to classroom lectures at my university, I give a lot of public lectures on economics. Through these talks, I introduce the audience to the tradition of doing economics using a critical perspective. I have an MA and MPhil in Economics from the University of Hyderabad and a PhD in Economics from the University of Sydney.

Alex's book list on becoming a critical economist

Alex M. Thomas Why did Alex love this book?

I first purchased and read this book as a senior undergraduate student not knowing anything about the author.

Little did I know that this book would later play an important role in not only understanding the limitations of mainstream economics but also in providing me with an alternative approach to make sense of our economic surroundings. 

Bharadwaj’s book is truly a classic and one that I always recommend to my students. 

Her book continues to inspire and educate me.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in economics, the American Civil War, and Ulysses S. Grant?

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