100 books like Creating a Confederate Kentucky

By Anne E. Marshall,

Here are 100 books that Creating a Confederate Kentucky fans have personally recommended if you like Creating a Confederate Kentucky. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Rivers Ran Backward: The Civil War and the Remaking of the American Middle Border

Brad Asher Author Of The Most Hated Man in Kentucky: The Lost Cause and the Legacy of Union General Stephen Burbridge

From my list on the Civil War and the Lost Cause in Kentucky.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian based in Louisville, Kentucky. When I moved here two decades ago, I could tell the vibe was different than other places I had been. Southern—but not like Tennessee. Midwestern—but not like Illinois. So I started reading, and eventually writing, about the state’s history. I have a Ph.D. in United States history so I lean toward academic books. I like authors who dig into the primary sources of history and then come out and make an argument about the evidence that they uncovered. I also lean toward social and cultural history—rather than military history—of the Civil War.

Brad's book list on the Civil War and the Lost Cause in Kentucky

Brad Asher Why did Brad love this book?

To outsiders, Kentucky is clearly part of the South. For those of us who live here—especially those who know a little about the state’s history—it can be a little more nebulous. Phillips’ book helps explain why. Kentucky had a lot in common with its fellow states of the first West like Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois, and those northern states could be a lot more “southern” than commonly understood. Phillips’s book shows how the Civil War remade those regional boundaries, turning the Ohio River into a line of separation between “North” and “South.”

By Christopher Phillips,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Most Americans believe that the Ohio River was a clearly defined and static demographic and political boundary between North and South, an extension of the Mason-Dixon Line. Once settled, the new states west of the Appalachians - the slave states of Kentucky and Missouri and of the free states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kansas - formed a fixed boundary between freedom and slavery, extending the border that inevitably produced the war. None of this is true,
except perhaps the outcome of war. But the centrality of the Civil War and its outcome in the making of these tropes is…


Book cover of Rebels on the Border: Civil War, Emancipation, and the Reconstruction of Kentucky and Missouri

Brad Asher Author Of The Most Hated Man in Kentucky: The Lost Cause and the Legacy of Union General Stephen Burbridge

From my list on the Civil War and the Lost Cause in Kentucky.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian based in Louisville, Kentucky. When I moved here two decades ago, I could tell the vibe was different than other places I had been. Southern—but not like Tennessee. Midwestern—but not like Illinois. So I started reading, and eventually writing, about the state’s history. I have a Ph.D. in United States history so I lean toward academic books. I like authors who dig into the primary sources of history and then come out and make an argument about the evidence that they uncovered. I also lean toward social and cultural history—rather than military history—of the Civil War.

Brad's book list on the Civil War and the Lost Cause in Kentucky

Brad Asher Why did Brad love this book?

This book reminded me of the deep parallels in the histories of Missouri and Kentucky. I don’t tend to associate Kentucky with Missouri, but Astor’s book really drives home why that is wrongheaded. Both were border states and, during the war, both suffered guerrilla insurgencies, had divided populations, and ended up supporting the pro-Confederate Lost Cause vision of the war. And when so much writing on Kentucky’s history is focused on its white inhabitants, Astor restores agency to its African American residents, showing how they resisted slavery and then, after emancipation, created their own institutions to contest for racial equality in the face of fierce opposition.

By Aaron Astor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Rebels on the Border offers a remarkably compelling and significant study of the Civil War South's highly contested and bloodiest border states: Kentucky and Missouri. By far the most complex examination to date, the book sharply focuses on the ""borderland"" between the free North and the Confederate South. As a result, Rebels on the Border deepens and enhances understanding of the sectional conflict, the Civil War, and Reconstruction.

After slaves in central Kentucky and Missouri gained their emancipation, author Aaron Astor contends, they transformed informal kin and social networks of resistance against slavery into more formalized processes of electoral participation…


Book cover of Contested Borderland: The Civil War in Appalachian Kentucky and Virginia

Brad Asher Author Of The Most Hated Man in Kentucky: The Lost Cause and the Legacy of Union General Stephen Burbridge

From my list on the Civil War and the Lost Cause in Kentucky.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian based in Louisville, Kentucky. When I moved here two decades ago, I could tell the vibe was different than other places I had been. Southern—but not like Tennessee. Midwestern—but not like Illinois. So I started reading, and eventually writing, about the state’s history. I have a Ph.D. in United States history so I lean toward academic books. I like authors who dig into the primary sources of history and then come out and make an argument about the evidence that they uncovered. I also lean toward social and cultural history—rather than military history—of the Civil War.

Brad's book list on the Civil War and the Lost Cause in Kentucky

Brad Asher Why did Brad love this book?

I once stumbled onto a celebration of Confederate Memorial Day in a small Kentucky mountain town, but I had always been told that the mountains of eastern Kentucky were a stronghold of Unionism during the Civil War. McKnight’s book helped me understand the complexity of the Appalachian region and its experience of the war. Both armies used the mountain gaps as gateways to invasion, exploited the local residents, and despoiled the landscape. Life in the mountains in the 19th century had always been hard; the Civil War made it a lot harder.

By Brian D. McKnight,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From 1861 to 1865, the border separating eastern Kentucky and southwestern Virginia was more than just a geographic marker -- it represented a major ideological split, serving as an "international" boundary between the United States and the Confederacy. The loyalties of those who lived in this mountainous region could not be so easily divided, and large segments of the population remained neutral or vacillated in their support. Location and a wealth of resources made the region strategically important to both sides in the conflict, and both armies fought for control. In Contested Borderland, Brian D. McKnight shows how military invasion…


Book cover of Religion, Race, and the Making of Confederate Kentucky, 1830-1880

Brad Asher Author Of The Most Hated Man in Kentucky: The Lost Cause and the Legacy of Union General Stephen Burbridge

From my list on the Civil War and the Lost Cause in Kentucky.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian based in Louisville, Kentucky. When I moved here two decades ago, I could tell the vibe was different than other places I had been. Southern—but not like Tennessee. Midwestern—but not like Illinois. So I started reading, and eventually writing, about the state’s history. I have a Ph.D. in United States history so I lean toward academic books. I like authors who dig into the primary sources of history and then come out and make an argument about the evidence that they uncovered. I also lean toward social and cultural history—rather than military history—of the Civil War.

Brad's book list on the Civil War and the Lost Cause in Kentucky

Brad Asher Why did Brad love this book?

I have long been interested in the history of US religion but a lot of religious history can be, well, boring. Harlow’s book is not. People interested in the Civil War often forget about the role religious belief played in the lives of 19th-century Americans, preferring to focus on military strategy or the politics of emancipation and Reconstruction. Harlow’s book foregrounds religion and shows how pro-slavery theology united Kentuckians even as they split over the war. And how that same theology helps explain why they turned their back on their wartime Unionism and embraced the Lost Cause version of events.

By Luke E. Harlow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Religion, Race, and the Making of Confederate Kentucky, 1830-1880 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book sheds new light on the role of religion in the nineteenth-century slavery debates. Luke E. Harlow argues that the ongoing conflict over the meaning of Christian 'orthodoxy' constrained the political and cultural horizons available for defenders and opponents of American slavery. The central locus of these debates was Kentucky, a border slave state with a long-standing antislavery presence. Although white Kentuckians famously cast themselves as moderates in the period and remained with the Union during the Civil War, their religious values showed no moderation on the slavery question. When the war ultimately brought emancipation, white Kentuckians found themselves…


Book cover of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

Kimberly Nixon Author Of Rock Bottom, Tennessee

From my list on books based on a true story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for the family story, and I have been blessed with a plethora of them. My mother grew up in Appalachia during the Great Depression and faced shame because her mother left the family to commit a felony. Her accounts of a childhood without and sleeping in an abandoned log cabin have been seared into my soul. My father, one of fourteen children during the Great Depression, worked on neighboring farms from the age of seven. History has two parts, the facts and details, but the telling of the story wrangles the purpose and sacrifice of those involved.

Kimberly's book list on books based on a true story

Kimberly Nixon Why did Kimberly love this book?

I sat on my mother’s lap as a child to hear stories of her childhood in Appalachia—no running water or electricity, and the shame brought on by her mother’s escape from that hard life. The setting and the characterizations in Book Woman of Troublesome Creek brought back some of the memories of my mother’s stories.

I came to love the character’s adaptation to the harsh environment, their want for a better life, and the difference one person’s influence can make in a community. The spirit of survival, even with the hardest of circumstances, forced me to cherish this story. It was as if my mother had written this book or perhaps read it to me.

By Kim Michele Richardson,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A USA TODAY BESTSELLER
A LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER
AN OKRA PICK
The bestselling historical fiction from Kim Michele Richardson, this is a novel following Cussy Mary, a packhorse librarian and her quest to bring books to the Appalachian community she loves, perfect for readers of Lee Smith and Lisa Wingate. The perfect addition to your next book club!
The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything-everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt's Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome's got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.
Cussy's not only…


Book cover of Cementville

Rita Dragonette Author Of The Fourteenth of September

From my list on the Vietnam War era by women writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by the role of women in war: men may be on the front lines, but women deal with its impact and often struggle to have equal standing. I was inspired by stories told by my mother who was a nurse in World War II and participated in surgery under gunfire and helped liberate a POW camp in Germany. Yet, no one wanted to hear from her because she was “just a nurse.” Fast forward to Vietnam where women were still being marginalized. I wrote The Fourteenth of September to even the playing field by telling a story that was largely based upon my own experience in college during l969-1970.

Rita's book list on the Vietnam War era by women writers

Rita Dragonette Why did Rita love this book?

A great portrayal of how the impact of war becomes part of our DNA whoever we are.

In the summer of 1969, a small town in Kentucky was famously traumatized after the decimation of the entire National Guard Unit it sent to Vietnam, a higher percentage of deaths than any other geographic region in the country. Based upon a real-life incident, this ingenious novel traces the repercussions of grief and loss through every level of the town’s society.

By Paulette Livers,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Cementville has a breathtaking set up: 1969. A small Kentucky town, known only for its excellent bourbon and passable cement, direct from the factory that gives the town its name. The favored local sons of Cementville’s most prominent families all joined the National Guard hoping to avoid the draft and the killing fields of Vietnam. They were sent to combat anyway, and seven boys were killed in a single, horrific ambush.

The novel opens as the coffins are making their way home, along with one remaining survivor, the now-maimed town quarterback recently rescued from a Vietnamese prison camp. Yet the…


Book cover of West

Pamela Holmes Author Of The Curious Life of Elizabeth Blackwell

From my list on extraordinary women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated by singular women who have found ways to express themselves and to flourish in the face of doubt. My experience of moving country as a child, family breakdown, losing a parent as a teenager, and dropping out has left me intrigued by other women with the drive to survive on their own terms. Of course, the social constraints a woman must overcome will vary according to when she lived, but common characteristics will be bravery and obstinacy. I’ve now written three novels about women who have succeeded against the odds. I hope the books I’ve recommended captivate you as much as they do me.

Pamela's book list on extraordinary women

Pamela Holmes Why did Pamela love this book?

American settler Cy Bellman leaves his daughter Bess to search for giant monsters in a Kentucky swamp.

It’s a brilliant story of a man’s obsession. But it’s Bess who fascinates.  While others doubt Bellman’s sanity, Bess believes in him. Young and vulnerable, when danger strikes, she’s as fierce as the wilderness her father faces.

She’s left to grow up in the care of an indifferent aunt. When Bess is touched inappropriately by the librarian, the girl takes evasive action. When the yard hand almost rapes her, she fights back, then with a snap, regains her composure to deal with a shocking death.

Davies uses words economically and poetically: they leave me breathless. Though short, the book’s an epic.

By Carys Davies,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Named a Best Book of the Year by The Sunday Times (UK) * The Guardian (UK) * The Washington Independent Review of Books * Sydney Morning Herald * The Los Angeles Public Library * The Irish Independent * Real Simple *

Finalist for the Rathbones Folio Prize

“Carys Davies is a deft, audacious visionary.” —Téa Obreht

When widowed mule breeder Cy Bellman reads in the newspaper that colossal ancient bones have been discovered in the salty Kentucky mud, he sets out from his small Pennsylvania farm to see for himself if the rumors are true: that the giant monsters are…


Book cover of My Father, Daniel Boone: The Draper Interviews with Nathan Boone

Robert Ray Morgan Author Of Boone: A Biography

From my list on the world of Daniel Boone.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always had an interest in the American frontier and the Native peoples. But while researching the novel Brave Enemies and Boone: A Biography I spent years studying and visiting places where the stories occur, and using archives and libraries. However, the most important consideration is storytelling, rewarding the reader with a good story.

Robert's book list on the world of Daniel Boone

Robert Ray Morgan Why did Robert love this book?

From the extensive Draper Collection of interviews with Boone’s son Nathan, and daughter-in-law Olive, Hammon has put together one of the most valuable portraits of Boone and the Boone family that exists, in the authentic words and voice of the younger son. When I was writing the biography I found it invaluable, both for the information it contains, and for a sense of the family connections.

By Nathan Boone,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Father, Daniel Boone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most famous figures of the American frontier, Daniel Boone clashed with the Shawnee and sought to exploit the riches of a newly settled region. Despite Boone's fame, his life remains wrapped in mystery.The Boone legend, which began with the publication of John Filson's The Adventures of Col. Daniel Boone and continued through modern times with Fess Parker's Daniel Boone television series, has become a hopeless mix of fact and fiction. Born in 1819, archivist Lyman Draper was a tireless collector of oral history and is responsible for much of what we do know about Boone. Particularly interested…


Book cover of The Ridge

Chris DiLeo Author Of Dead End

From my list on dread-inducing homes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a house filled with books as a son of educated, well-read parents. My mother was an English/French/Spanish teacher, and my father was an encyclopedia editor. Among all the books in our downstairs, there was a custom-built coffin bookcase my father kept stocked with his favorite horror novels. He died when I was eleven and in an effort to get to know him better, I started reading the books in that coffin. I was very quickly turned into a horror fan, and a few years later started writing horror stories myself. Every time I start writing another horror story, I know I’m my father’s son.

Chris' book list on dread-inducing homes

Chris DiLeo Why did Chris love this book?

Not a dread-inducing house this time but a lighthouse—in the middle of the woods. This book is so original in its elements—a haunted lighthouse, a sheriff in love with the woman who shot him, and a big-cat sanctuary—that it is completely awe-inspiring how Koryta is able to weave together a complex, creepy ghost narrative. Koryta (and his pseudonym, Scott Carson) is always a guaranteed purchase when a new book publishes.

By Michael Koryta,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Discover a brilliant thriller set in a remote big-cat sanctuary: "one of the scariest and most touching horror tales in years" (James Patterson).

In an isolated stretch of eastern Kentucky, on a hilltop known as Blade Ridge, stands a lighthouse that illuminates nothing but the surrounding woods. For years the lighthouse has been considered no more than an eccentric local landmark -- until its builder is found dead at the top of the light, and his belongings reveal a troubling local history.

For deputy sheriff Kevin Kimble, the lighthouse-keeper's death is disturbing and personal. Years ago, Kimble was shot while…


Book cover of High Strangeness in the Mountains: A Field Guide to Kentucky Wildlife

Raffael Coronelli Author Of How to Have an Adventure in Scandinavia: Norway & Denmark

From my list on rip-roaring adventure through the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like to go on trips, particularly overseas. This gives me the ability to write travel books—but moreover, I love adventure. I love to see the fantastic in the world in which we live. I’ve written other kinds of books that helped shape my writing style, including a kaiju novel series, which gives me a bit of a different approach than more encyclopedic travel writers. That’s what I try to bring to the table—the magic and esotericism in the world, presented like a pulpy Saturday matinee that you can enter yourself if you follow my travel tips. 

Raffael's book list on rip-roaring adventure through the world

Raffael Coronelli Why did Raffael love this book?

Kentucky is not a place many consider to have an adventure. Think again once you know what strange beasts lurk in its mountainous realms! Alex Gayhart is, full disclosure, a frequent collaborator of mine as an illustrator. Part of the reason I like working with him is that he understands that real life influences the fantastic because it’s often more bizarre than you can imagine. As a native of the state, his menagerie of invented Kentucky creatures draws from cultural jokes and hilarious satire in a way that makes one see myth in the most mundane places.

By Alex Gayhart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Have you ever wondered what creatures dwell in the FAR OFF land of KENTUCKY? No? TOO BAD!I and several NOW DEAD ASSISTANTS have made a comprehensive study of the BEAUTIFUL BUTMOSTLY HORRIBLE wildlife of these GREEN MOUNTAINS! See the CHESSYCAT with its TEETH! See the HILLED WILLIAM (HILL BILLY) and its GOAT-LIKE COUNTENANCE! See the REDNECK and its....REDDENED NECK! ALL OF THESE ABOMINABLE MONSTROSITIES AND MORE AWAIT YOU IN - HIGH STRANGENESS IN THE MOUNTAINS!


5 book lists we think you will like!

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