100 books like Grant Takes Command

By Bruce Catton,

Here are 100 books that Grant Takes Command fans have personally recommended if you like Grant Takes Command. 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 Gettysburg: The Last Invasion

Lance Weller Author Of Wilderness

From my list on American Civil War history reads like literature.

Why am I passionate about this?

I came to Civil War studies fairly late in life but still relatively callow, by a route too roundabout to explain. But after reading James McPherson’s, Battle Cry of Freedom (there’s a bonus book!), I found I had a love of every facet of the era. The only thing I’d ever wanted to be was a writer and, as I delved deeper into the vast body of literature on the American Civil War, I finally felt as if I’d found the subject I could pour all my passion into (that and my enduring love of dogs). My novel Wilderness, along with a few novels published in French, was the result.

Lance's book list on American Civil War history reads like literature

Lance Weller Why did Lance love this book?

Part of the enduring popularity of the Battle of Gettysburg studies, is that the battle offers a true microcosm of the American Civil War—from politics to personalities. A meeting engagement, a desperate struggle, a turning point, and human tragedy on a scale the continent had never seen before, the events of those three days in July still resonant down the years. Guelzo’s book, besides being one of the most recent, offers wonderful descriptions of every facet of the battle with finely-crafted prose and a pacing that will keep readers invested from start to finish.

By Allen C. Guelzo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History

An Economist Best Book of the Year

A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of the Year

The Battle of Gettysburg has been written about at length and thoroughly dissected in terms of strategic importance, but never before has a book taken readers so close to the experience of the individual soldier.

Two-time Lincoln Prize winner Allen C. Guelzo shows us the face, the sights and the sounds of nineteenth-century combat: the stone walls and gunpowder clouds of Pickett’s Charge; the reason that the Army of Northern Virginia could be smelled before it…

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 Fort Sumter to Perryville

David Michael Dunaway Author Of Angry Heavens: Struggles of a Confederate Surgeon

From my list on celebrating an author’s literary style.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a lifetime, passionate reader. During the summer vacations, my brother and I would often ride with our father to his job in downtown Mobile and walk to Mobile Public Library, where we would spend all day exploring and reading. Well-written novels with remarkable but believable characters—such as those I've noted here are my passion. I have included novels in my list where I can identify personally with the protagonist. My list of books is varied. They have one thing in common: believable characters who struggle with life—authored by legitimate wordsmiths. When I wrote Angry Heavens as a first-time novelist, it was my history as a reader that I used as a writer.

David's book list on celebrating an author’s literary style

David Michael Dunaway Why did David love this book?

Whether one is a Civil War buff, or a fan of Sun Tzu’s military strategy, you will find plenty of both in this three-volume set. Volume 1 is: Fort Sumter to Perryville. Volume 2 is: Fredericksburg to Meridian, and Volume 3 is: Red River to Appomattox.  

Shelby Foote’s work provided most of the background of Ken Burn’s PBS epic, The Civil War. Anyone who watched that masterpiece and heard the knowledge of Shelby Foote spoken in the most lovely Southern drawl, will not be disappointed in this collection. 

The Civil War: A Narrative – 3 volume box set provided significant detail and motivation for me as I wrote my own book.  When I had a question about a date, geography of a battle, written correspondence between fighters or allies, or conversations such as took place at Appomattox Courthouse between Generals Grant and Lee, I went immediately to Shelby Foote’s three-volume…

By Shelby Foote,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Fort Sumter to Perryville as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This first volume of Shelby Foote's classic narrative of the Civil War opens with Jefferson Davis’s farewell to the United Senate and ends on the bloody battlefields of Antietam and Perryville, as the full, horrible scope of America’s great war becomes clear. Exhaustively researched and masterfully written, Foote’s epic account of the Civil War unfolds like a classic novel. 
Includes maps throughout.
"Here, for a certainty, is one of the great historical narratives…a unique and brilliant achievement, one that must be firmly placed in the ranks of the masters."—Van Allen Bradley, Chicago Daily News

"A stunning book full of color,…

Book cover of Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam

David A. Welker Author Of The Cornfield: Antietam's Bloody Turning Point

From my list on the Civil War’s Battle of Antietam.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child my grandmother shared that we had ancestors who had served during the Civil War, a momentary conversation that set me on a lifetime quest to connect with those men and their experiences.  My professional work as a historian and military analyst for the US Government helped build the skills that enabled this quest and each of my books, articles, and videos seek to understand and share both the “what” of those experiences and the “why” of the war’s many battles and conflicts.  

David's book list on the Civil War’s Battle of Antietam

David A. Welker Why did David love this book?

Crafted like a well-told story, Sears’ now classic volume was my first foray into the Battle of Antietam lo these many years ago. It offers readers an engaging, generally accurate overview of the background, events, and results of America’s costliest day, September 17, 1862. Although its three-phase, framing approach to the battle has been surpassed by new interpretations, it remains a useful starting point for those wishing to learn the basics and if readers seek only one work to read on Antietam, this is the book to choose. Every student of the battle—casual, serious, or scholarly--will want to have read and be familiar with Sears' work.     

By Stephen W. Sears,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Landscape Turned Red as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“The best account of the Battle of Antietam” from the award-winning, national bestselling author of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville (The New York Times Book Review).

The Civil War battle waged on September 17, 1862, at Antietam Creek, Maryland, was one of the bloodiest in the nation’s history: in this single day, the war claimed nearly 23,000 casualties. In Landscape Turned Red, the renowned historian Stephen Sears draws on a remarkable cache of diaries, dispatches, and letters to recreate the vivid drama of Antietam as experienced not only by its leaders but also by its soldiers, both Union and Confederate. Combining brilliant…

Book cover of Winfield Scott Hancock: A Soldier's Life

Gerald Gillis Author Of That Deadly Space

From my list on the American Civil War from different perspectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a multi-award-winning author with four novels to my credit. Growing up in the South, I have had a lifelong interest in the Civil War. I have visited all of the battlefields depicted in my novel, and I have spoken to military and veterans’ organizations about the war. I have always been amazed at the bravery and sacrifices of the soldiers of both sides who fought on those battlefields, and my novel is my effort to honor those men.

Gerald's book list on the American Civil War from different perspectives

Gerald Gillis Why did Gerald love this book?

One of the finest officers in the history of the United States Army, Winfield Scott Hancock was considered by many to have been perhaps the most important figure in the Union victory at Gettysburg. Called “Hancock the Superb” by some of his fellow officers, he served as the Union commander of the 2nd Corps during the Gettysburg battle. He was an inspiring and consequential figure throughout the entirety of the three days of the conflict. In one of the war’s great ironies, Hancock was seriously wounded on the day of Pickett’s charge only yards from where his dear friend, Confederate General Lewis Armistead, had been felled by a rifle bullet as he led his Virginia brigade toward the Union position held by Hancock. General Winfield Scott Hancock was a natural leader whose courage was unquestioned and whose leadership was trusted by both his superior officers and the men under his…

By David M. Jordan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

" . . . detailed, well-written and thoroughly documented." -The Journal of Military History

" . . . comprehensive, well-written, and thoroughly researched . . . " -Booklist

" . . . the definitive work on the life of Winfield Scott Hancock . . . " -Blue and Gray

"At last we have a complete life of [Hancock], and it, too, is superb." -The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Jordan's careful attention to detail and excellent use of sources highlight a lively writing style to make a highly readable book." -America's Civil War

"Jordan's study of Hancock is an important contribution to both…

Book cover of Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Why am I passionate about this?

I have had a long career as a professor of organizational behavior. My view is that the most ignored and undervalued aspect of leadership is the development and implementation of political skills. Any leader who claims, “I don’t do politics” or “I’m not political,” is not serving themselves very well and, in fact, may be setting themselves up for failure. Whether in organizational life, in the sphere of public policy, or in daily life, we need to overcome the obstacles that impede our capacity to implement agendas and ideas and achieve our aspirations. Dreamers who lack political skills remain dreamers, not leaders. 

Samuel's book list on books for leaders who need to master the political skills to move ideas and innovations and overcome resistance

Samuel Bacharach Why did Samuel love this book?

This book has become a classic. It’s a brilliant book.

Doris Kearns Goodwin gives specific examples of how Abraham Lincoln was a master in creating coalitions and mobilizing support in the face of continuous resistance. His cabinet was made up of senior and ambitious individuals, many of whom were strong leaders in their own right.

Lincoln had to figure out how to get them on his side and create viable coalitions in order to move his key agenda—win the war and ensure the passage of the 13th Amendment. In many ways, he was not simply a visionary but a master of balancing persuasion and authority—which is a desirable leadership skill.

By Doris Kearns Goodwin,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Team of Rivals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most influential books of the past fifty years, Team of Rivals is Pulitzer Prize–winning author and esteemed presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s modern classic about the political genius of Abraham Lincoln, his unlikely presidency, and his cabinet of former political foes.

Winner of the prestigious Lincoln Prize and the inspiration for the Oscar Award winning–film Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, directed by Steven Spielberg, and written by Tony Kushner.

On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago.…

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 Last Full Measure

Philip Duke Author Of The Village: A Novel of Wartime Crete

From my list on wartime historical fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a retired professor of anthropology. I was first drawn to archaeology after a high-school presentation by a Classics master on the ruins of Paestum. I have enjoyed exploring the past but have a special passion for Greece. Because of my working-class origin in Liverpool, England, class struggle and the fight for human dignity has been a leitmotif of first my academic and now my fiction writing. My books explore how war inevitably changes the lives of the characters. I have bachelors and graduate degrees from Cambridge University and the University of Calgary. I'm a Fellow of the Society of Antiquities. I hope you enjoy the books on my list!

Philip's book list on wartime historical fiction

Philip Duke Why did Philip love this book?

I actually think that Shaara has outdone his father. Both, of course, weave the story around actual historical events, although Shaara Junior’s introduction of fictional characters livens the narrative up. I’ve enjoyed all of Shaara’s books, regardless of their historical setting, but I chose this one because it was a good way for me to learn more about the Civil War post-Gettysburg and also have a really good read.

By Jeff Shaara,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the Pulitzer prize–winning classic The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara created the finest Civil War novel of our time. In the bestselling Gods and Generals, Shaara’s son, Jeff, brilliantly sustained his father’s vision, telling the epic story of the events culminating in the Battle of Gettysburg. Now, Jeff Shaara brings this legendary father-son trilogy to its stunning conclusion in a novel that brings to life the final two years of the Civil War.
As The Last Full Measure opens, Gettysburg is past and the war advances to its third brutal year. On the Union side, the gulf between the politicians…

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 U. S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth

Lindsay M. Chervinsky Author Of The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution

From my list on American presidents who left their mark on history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by power and how people use it. From the time I was tiny, I’ve loved reading about how people left their fingerprint on history, and boy, do presidents leave their mark. Given these interests, it’s unsurprising that I’ve been my career this far examining how early presidents crafted the executive branch. The president’s oversized role in American life is also at the heart of my podcast work (I cohost The Past, The Promise, The Presidency with the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. Each season we explore a different element of the presidency and its relationship to history). In my future scholarship, I plan to continue this exploration long after George Washington left office. Stay tuned for more, and in the meantime enjoy these great reads!

Lindsay's book list on American presidents who left their mark on history

Lindsay M. Chervinsky Why did Lindsay love this book?

There are so many fantastic new biographies of Ulysses S. Grant. U.S. Grant is particularly good for a one-volume biography. It’s an incredibly fair treatment and does a great job of showing Grant’s cultural importance as a symbol for national reunification after the war. Waugh also demonstrates why Grant has been underappreciated by previous historians and generations, and why he deserves more recognition.

By Joan Waugh,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked U. S. Grant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the time of his death, Ulysses S. Grant was the most famous person in America, considered by most citizens to be equal in stature to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Yet today his monuments are rarely visited, his military reputation is overshadowed by that of Robert E. Lee, and his presidency is permanently mired at the bottom of historical rankings. In an insightful blend of biography and cultural history, Joan Waugh traces Grant's shifting national and international reputation, illuminating the role of memory in our understanding of American history. Using a wide range of written and visual sources--newspaper articles,…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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

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