100 books like Confederates in the Attic

By Tony Horwitz,

Here are 100 books that Confederates in the Attic fans have personally recommended if you like Confederates in the Attic. 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 Embattled Freedom: Journeys through the Civil War’s Slave Refugee Camps

Brian Matthew Jordan Author Of A Thousand May Fall: An Immigrant Regiment's Civil War

From my list on laying bare the human ordeal of the Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the Civil War my entire life. As a boy, I met a man in my Ohio hometown who spent his own youth visiting with the last, wrinkled survivors of the Union armies. His memories at once made the Civil War real and immediate for me. I soon devoured every book and walked every battlefield I could find. After earning an undergraduate degree in Civil War Studies at Gettysburg College, I completed my Ph.D. at Yale. I have authored six books on the conflict—one of which was a runner-up for the Pulitzer in History—and teach courses on the Civil War at Sam Houston State University.   

Brian Matthew's book list on laying bare the human ordeal of the Civil War

Brian Matthew Jordan Why did Brian Matthew love this book?

This book recovers—through diligent archival spadework and keen historical empathy—the human realities of emancipation for freedom-seeking enslaved persons. Emancipation, Taylor demonstrates, was a humanitarian refugee crisis acted out amidst the uncertainties of civil warfare. Embattled Freedom supplies a sweeping survey of a complex historical process, but it does so on a human scale—tracking a small group of protagonists as they wind their way to the uncertain asylum of slave refugee (“contraband”) camps. The author’s close attention to the material realities of “contraband” camps—hunger, shelter, and clothing—builds a sense of intimacy and emotional connection. Scholars have established that emancipation was a process, and that the enslaved played a vital role in their own liberation; here is the best account of how that struggle was lived.   

By Amy Murrell Taylor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Civil War was just days old when the first enslaved men, women, and children began fleeing their plantations to seek refuge inside the lines of the Union army as it moved deep into the heart of the Confederacy. In the years that followed, hundreds of thousands more followed in a mass exodus from slavery that would destroy the system once and for all. Drawing on an extraordinary survey of slave refugee camps throughout the country, Embattled Freedom reveals as never before the everyday experiences of these refugees from slavery as they made their way through the vast landscape of…


Book cover of A Prayer for the Dying

McKenna Miller Author Of Wyrforra (Wyrforra Wars)

From my list on with weird writing styles.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reading and writing stories for as long as I can remember—and the weird ones have always been my favorite. I discovered many of my favorite books by wandering into my local library, telling the librarian about my strange reading interests, and allowing them to set me up with literary masterpieces of the most unusual kind. Once I knew how to bend the rules of genre and form to create something original, I took to creating my own weird stories, and have been doing so ever since in my novels, short stories, D&D characters, and bedtime stories for my bird.

McKenna's book list on with weird writing styles

McKenna Miller Why did McKenna love this book?

A Prayer for the Dying is the only full-length novel I’ve ever read entirely in second-person perspective—which makes for a white-knuckle-grip adventure as the narrator drags the reader along a dark, haunted path, which is also a little bit on fire.

This ghost story full of living people (at first) follows a hard-working and dedicated protagonist who tries to protect his little town of Friendship as it faces disaster after horrible disaster. The narrative of the story unfurls like a tidal wave—terrifying, yet impossible to look away from as it sweeps away everything in its path. This scary story is definitely not for the faint of heart.

By Stewart O'Nan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Prayer for the Dying as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set in a leafy Wisconsin town just after the American Civil War, this story opens one languid summer's day. Only slowly do events reveal themselves as sinister as one neighbour after another succumbs to a creeping, fatal disease.


Book cover of The War for the Common Soldier: How Men Thought, Fought, and Survived in Civil War Armies

James Marten Author Of The Children's Civil War

From my list on the common people of the Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

A long-time professor of history at Marquette University, James Marten is a past president of both the Society of Civil War Historians and the Society for the History of Children and Youth. He’s written or edited over twenty books and scores of articles and has been interviewed on National and Wisconsin Public Radio and for numerous local and national publications. He writes about the ways in which big events affect normal people, from children and families to soldiers and veterans.

James' book list on the common people of the Civil War

James Marten Why did James love this book?

Accounts of the common soldier are part of a long tradition in Civil War history—but this is not your typical study. Carmichael sets out not to examine motivations or ideology, but to explore "the life of the rank and file as it was lived." The war forced soldiers in the North and South to bridge the gulf between two competing impulses. "Sentimentalism" helped soldiers understand war as a series of hardships and sacrifices that could be endured through faith, courage, and patriotism. Confronting this conventional approach was a "pragmatism" that guided soldiers desperately seeking to survive with honor the filth, blood, and despair that they actually experienced. Carmichael makes his argument through careful, moving, and fascinating narratives of men trying to explain the war to their loved ones and to themselves.

By Peter S. Carmichael,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How did Civil War soldiers endure the brutal and unpredictable existence of army life during the conflict? This question is at the heart of Peter S. Carmichael's sweeping new study of men at war. Based on close examination of the letters and records left behind by individual soldiers from both the North and the South, Carmichael explores the totality of the Civil War experience-the marching, the fighting, the boredom, the idealism, the exhaustion, the punishments, and the frustrations of being away from families who often faced their own dire circumstances. Carmichael focuses not on what soldiers thought but rather how…


Book cover of This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War

Evie Yoder Miller Author Of Shadows

From my list on the intertwinings of war, conscience, and religion.

Why am I passionate about this?

The main reason I care about the relationship of war, conscience, and religion is because I believe strongly in the separation of church and state. A country’s methods of pursuing its best interests, include the use of power and warfare. Religions, however, make central: love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. People need to develop a conscience about what principle matters most. In the Civil War, the old tenet, an “eye for an eye,” was used to justify killing others for reasons of advantage or revenge. But I want to be involved instead in creating peace and justice for all.

Evie's book list on the intertwinings of war, conscience, and religion

Evie Yoder Miller Why did Evie love this book?

Death is everywhere in war: on the battlefield, in a disease-ridden hospital, or in childbirth on the home front. Drew Gilpin Faust’s non-fiction book, This Republic of Suffering, brings eye-popping numeric data to the prevalence of death in war. But she never stops at the surface level of how many deaths, or how many unidentified soldiers or improper burials occur during the Civil War. I was caught up entirely as Faust’s words, riveting and respectful of all the pain and loss, showed how death became an ennobling transformation for many people, either in the cause of racial standing or of Union/secessionist preservation.

By Drew Gilpin Faust,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked This Republic of Suffering as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • An "extraordinary ... profoundly moving" history (The New York Times Book Review) of the American Civil War that reveals the ways that death on such a scale changed not only individual lives but the life of the nation.

More than 600,000 soldiers lost their lives in the American Civil War. An equivalent proportion of today's population would be six million. In This Republic of Suffering, Drew Gilpin Faust describes how the survivors managed on a practical level and how a deeply religious culture struggled to reconcile the unprecedented carnage with its belief…


Book cover of The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade

Diana E. Marsh Author Of Extinct Monsters to Deep Time: Conflict, Compromise, and the Making of Smithsonian's Fossil Halls

From my list on where authors infiltrate a wild community.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a nerd about all things museums and archives, which I teach and write about. I was trained as an anthropologist, and got really interested in using anthropology’s methods (namely ethnography) to do long-term, embedded, deep-dive fieldwork in bureaucratic settings, like big museums. I love reading books by journalists, economists, historians, and others who do ethnography and really embed themselves in different communities, places, and cultures.

Diana's book list on where authors infiltrate a wild community

Diana E. Marsh Why did Diana love this book?

This was the first book I read that was kind of an embedded object biography back when I was an undergraduate student in my second-ever anthropology class. I was totally hooked on the genre. This book follows t-shirts, from where cotton is picked, to where t-shirts are manufactured, printed, sold and distributed, to their disposal—including second lives on the used clothing market. “Who made your t-shirt?” as a great first starting question.

By Pietra Rivoli,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The keys to global business success, as taught by a T-shirt's journey

The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy is a critically-acclaimed narrative that illuminates the globalization debates and reveals the key factors to success in global business. Tracing a T-shirt's life story from a Texas cotton field to a Chinese factory and back to a U.S. storefront before arriving at the used clothing market in Africa, the book uncovers the political and economic forces at work in the global economy. Along the way, this fascinating exploration addresses a wealth of compelling questions about politics, trade, economics, ethics,…


Book cover of Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals

Jo Scott-Coe Author Of Unheard Witness: The Life and Death of Kathy Leissner Whitman

From my list on nonfiction that reclaim lost history or silenced voices.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a book lover and as a nonfiction writer and researcher, I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that a book is truly a portal that can connect people across time and space. I’m a Catholic (stray) by education and tradition, and for me this interconnectivity resonates with the familiar theology of the communion of saints. Whether you are religious or not, if you love words, there is something rather miraculous about how language, past and present, from authors living and dead, can connect and surprise us and spark new conversations even with those yet to be born. You never know who may need to hear what you are putting on the page. 

Jo's book list on nonfiction that reclaim lost history or silenced voices

Jo Scott-Coe Why did Jo love this book?

This book made me reflect deeply on whom we praise as trailblazing “rebels” and who we ignore, erase, or brand with criminal status in the stories we inherit and then repeat thoughtlessly.

Hartman reimagines “transgression” through the lenses of race, gender, sexuality, and class in early 20th-century New York and Philadelphia. She immerses us in up-close and poignant stories of women’s nonconformity, showing how their choices were flexes not only for survival but for thriving, a refusal to be defined by the ugliest social denigrations of their time (as well as our own).

Wayward Lives is richly sourced, including recovered photographs with the evocative literary portraits. It is a moving, haunting, unforgettable book.

By Saidiya V. Hartman,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Beautifully written and deeply researched, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments examines the revolution of black intimate life that unfolded in Philadelphia and New York at the beginning of the twentieth century. In wrestling with the question of what a free life is, many young black women created forms of intimacy and kinship indifferent to the dictates of respectability and outside the bounds of law. They cleaved to and cast off lovers, exchanged sex to subsist, and revised the meaning of marriage. Longing and desire fueled their experiments in how to live. They refused to labor like slaves or to accept degrading…


Book cover of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory

Harriet F. Senie Author Of Monumental Controversies: Mount Rushmore, Four Presidents, and the Quest for National Unity

From my list on reconsidering memorials.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing books on public art and memorials since the early 1990s and served on some major public commissions that select memorials and/or determine the fate of problematic memorials. These markers in our public spaces define who we are as a culture at a certain point in time, even though interpretations of them may evolve. They are our link to our history, express our present day values, and send a message to the future about who we are and what we value and believe in.

Harriet's book list on reconsidering memorials

Harriet F. Senie Why did Harriet love this book?

This book clearly illustrates the mutability of memory of even the most dramatic and significant events in American (and indeed all) history.

It makes the point that memory and historical consciousness depend on the identity of the individual as well as the passage of time and shifting political realities. In this sense, memorials are not static since they do not have a fixed definition.

After reading this book I always took into account both the personal and larger difficult to define concept of public memory when writing or speaking about memorials. 

By David W. Blight,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Bancroft Prize
Winner of the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize
Winner of the Merle Curti award
Winner of the Frederick Douglass Prize

No historical event has left as deep an imprint on America's collective memory as the Civil War. In the war's aftermath, Americans had to embrace and cast off a traumatic past. David Blight explores the perilous path of remembering and forgetting, and reveals its tragic costs to race relations and America's national reunion.In 1865, confronted with a ravaged landscape and a torn America, the North and South began a slow and painful process of reconciliation. The…


Book cover of How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America

Hajar Yazdiha Author Of The Struggle for the People's King: How Politics Transforms the Memory of the Civil Rights Movement

From my list on understanding revisionist history politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I studied forty years of the political misuses of the memory of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement as a sociologist at USC and the daughter of Iranian immigrants who has always been interested in questions of identity and belonging. My interest in civil rights struggles started early, growing up in Virginia, a state that celebrated the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday alongside Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. I wanted to understand how revisionist histories could become the mainstream account of the past and how they mattered for the future of democracy.

Hajar's book list on understanding revisionist history politics

Hajar Yazdiha Why did Hajar love this book?

When I read this book on how the stories of slavery are remembered and strategically forgotten in different places among different groups, I remember being blown away by how its larger message resonated with the one I was drawing out in my book.

Through different moments in the racial past, we were both speaking to the dangers of distorting and erasing the messiness of the nation’s past. 

Clint Smith also writes with the most beautiful prose and so beautifully humanizes the power of reckonings and the violence of their absence.

By Clint Smith,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked How the Word Is Passed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S FAVOURITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR
A NUMBER ONE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR NON-FICTION

'A beautifully readable reminder of how much of our urgent, collective history resounds in places all around us that have been hidden in plain sight.' Afua Hirsch, author of Brit(ish)

Beginning in his hometown of New Orleans, Clint Smith leads the reader on an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks - those that are honest about the past and those that are not - which offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in…


Book cover of On Juneteenth

Nina Silber Author Of This War Ain't Over: Fighting the Civil War in New Deal America

From my list on the ongoing legacy of the American Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having grown up visiting lots of historic sites – and hearing my father sing old Civil War tunes (frequently off-key!) on long car trips – I gravitated pretty quickly to studying the Civil War, and its aftermath, when I was in college and then in graduate school. I was particularly interested in the way Americans experienced the Civil War after it was over: the sentimental novels they read; the romantic movies they watched; the reconstructed battlefields they visited. In my work as a professor at Boston University, I try to get students to think about the stories that do, and do not, get told about the Civil War and other events from the past. I suppose the question that always piqued my interest was why people might find the often wildly inaccurate versions of the past so appealing.

Nina's book list on the ongoing legacy of the American Civil War

Nina Silber Why did Nina love this book?

In this brief and powerful book, esteemed historian Annette Gordon-Reed focuses on “Juneteenth”, the day (June 19, 1865) when enslaved workers in Texas were declared free by the Union Army following the conclusion of the Civil War. For Gordon-Reed, a black Texas woman, Juneteenth, recently declared a federal holiday, offers a starting point for pondering the legacy of slavery and emancipation for Afro-Texans and for thinking more broadly about the tension between history and myth. In the course of all this, Gordon-Reed tells her own personal story about navigating the often fraught terrain of her state’s legacy of racial exploitation.

By Annette Gordon-Reed,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Interweaving American history, dramatic family chronicle and searing episodes of memoir, On Juneteenth recounts the origins of the holiday that celebrates the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. A descendant of enslaved people brought to Texas in the 1850s, Annette Gordon-Reed, explores the legacies of the holiday.

From the earliest presence of black people in Texas-in the 1500s, well before enslaved Africans arrived in Jamestown-to the day in Galveston on 19 June 1865, when General Gordon Granger announced the end of slavery, Gordon-Reed's insightful and inspiring essays present the saga of a "frontier" peopled by…


Book cover of No Common Ground: Confederate Monuments and the Ongoing Fight for Racial Justice

Harriet F. Senie Author Of Monumental Controversies: Mount Rushmore, Four Presidents, and the Quest for National Unity

From my list on reconsidering memorials.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been writing books on public art and memorials since the early 1990s and served on some major public commissions that select memorials and/or determine the fate of problematic memorials. These markers in our public spaces define who we are as a culture at a certain point in time, even though interpretations of them may evolve. They are our link to our history, express our present day values, and send a message to the future about who we are and what we value and believe in.

Harriet's book list on reconsidering memorials

Harriet F. Senie Why did Harriet love this book?

Following on her previous book about the Daughters of the Confederacy and their role in commissioning Confederate memorials, the author presents the history of these tributes, how they changed over time, and what their implicit meaning conveys.

Reading this book can leave no doubt that Confederate memorials must be removed because of their intrinsic valorization of white supremacy. 

It was enormously useful to me in both in my current book project and in public presentations on the topic. 

By Karen L. Cox,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked No Common Ground as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When it comes to Confederate monuments, there is no common ground. Polarizing debates over their meaning have intensified into legislative maneuvering to preserve the statues, legal battles to remove them, and rowdy crowds taking matters into their own hands. These conflicts have raged for well over a century--but they've never been as intense as they are today.

In this eye-opening narrative of the efforts to raise, preserve, protest, and remove Confederate monuments, Karen L. Cox depicts what these statues meant to those who erected them and how a movement arose to force a reckoning. She lucidly shows the forces that…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the South, the American Civil War, and the Confederate States of America?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the South, the American Civil War, and the Confederate States of America.

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The Confederate States Of America Explore 55 books about the Confederate States of America