100 books like Louisa May Alcott

By Madeleine B. Stern,

Here are 100 books that Louisa May Alcott fans have personally recommended if you like Louisa May Alcott. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Hospital Sketches

Ronald S. Coddington Author Of African American Faces of the Civil War: An Album

From my list on the American Civil War by those who experienced it.

Who am I?

Two boyhood experiences inspired my fascination with the Civil War: a family trip to Gettysburg and purchasing original photographs of soldiers at flea markets. Captivated by the old photos, I became an avid collector of Civil War-era portrait photography. Curiosity about identified individuals in my collection led me on a lifelong journey to tell their stories. In 2001, I started a column, Faces of War, in the Civil War News. Since then, I’ve profiled hundreds of participants in the column, and in six books. In 2013, I became the fourth editor and publisher of Military Images, a quarterly journal that showcases, interprets, and preserves Civil War photography.

Ronald's book list on the American Civil War by those who experienced it

Ronald S. Coddington Why did Ronald love this book?

Early in the war, writer Louisa May Alcott journeyed to the nation’s capital to care for sick and wounded soldiers. Over a period of six weeks, she experienced firsthand the rigors of life in crowded hospital wards as a nurse to men suffering from disease and wounds. She recorded her observations in a series of accounts printed in a Boston newspaper. These writings formed the basis of Hospital Sketches. Published a month after the end of the Battle of Gettysburg, when the outcome of the war remained uncertain, Alcott’s words encouraged other women to support the U.S. war effort, and remind us today of the critical role of nurses in times of conflict.

By Louisa May Alcott,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Hospital Sketches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Complete and unabridged paperback edition.

Collection of short stories.

First published in 1863.


Book cover of The Journals of Louisa May Alcott

Heidi Chiavaroli Author Of The Orchard House

From my list on Louisa May Alcott and her life.

Who am I?

Heidi Chiavaroli first knew the magic of history and story while standing in Louisa May Alcott’s bedroom as a twelve-year-old. Her favorite pastime is exploring places that whisper of historical secrets in her home state of Massachusetts, where she lives with her husband, two sons, and poodle puppy. Her latest dual timeline novel, The Orchard House, is inspired by the lesser-known events in Louisa May Alcott's life.

Heidi's book list on Louisa May Alcott and her life

Heidi Chiavaroli Why did Heidi love this book?

This book opened up Louisa, and who she was to me. We can see her cheery optimism when she is younger, as well as the many inner battles she has with herself. We see her wit and humor, her desire to care for those she loves. As she ages and struggles with health issues, the reader feels her pain. Not a light-hearted book, but an extremely insightful one for those who want to gain a true glimpse into the character of this remarkable woman.

By Louisa May Alcott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From her eleventh year to the month of her death at age 55, Louisa May Alcott kept copious journals. She never intended for them to be published, but the insights they provide into her remarkable life are invaluable. Alcott grew up in a genteel but impoverished household, surrounded by the literary and philosophical elite of 19th-century New England, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Like her fictional alter ego, Jo March, she was a free spirit who longed for independence, yet she dutifully supported her parents and three sisters with her literary efforts. In the journals…


Book cover of Louisa on the Front Lines: Louisa May Alcott in the Civil War

Heidi Chiavaroli Author Of The Orchard House

From my list on Louisa May Alcott and her life.

Who am I?

Heidi Chiavaroli first knew the magic of history and story while standing in Louisa May Alcott’s bedroom as a twelve-year-old. Her favorite pastime is exploring places that whisper of historical secrets in her home state of Massachusetts, where she lives with her husband, two sons, and poodle puppy. Her latest dual timeline novel, The Orchard House, is inspired by the lesser-known events in Louisa May Alcott's life.

Heidi's book list on Louisa May Alcott and her life

Heidi Chiavaroli Why did Heidi love this book?

We know Louisa May Alcott primarily as an author and the writer of the great masterpiece, Little Women, but many do not realize she was also a nurse during the Civil War. This book explores how her experiences in Washington D.C. as a nurse impacted her writing as well as her beliefs. Easy to read, captivating account. Highly recommend!

By Samantha Seiple,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An eye-opening look at Little Women author Louisa May Alcott's time as a Civil War nurse, and the far-reaching implications her service had on her writing and her activism

Louisa on the Frontlines is the first narrative nonfiction book focusing on the least-known aspect of Louisa May Alcott's career -- her time spent as a nurse during the Civil War. Though her service was brief, the dramatic experience was one that she considered pivotal in helping her write the beloved classic Little Women. It also deeply affected her tenuous relationship with her father, and inspired her commitment to abolitionism. Through…


Book cover of The Selected Letters Of Louisa May Alcott

Heidi Chiavaroli Author Of The Orchard House

From my list on Louisa May Alcott and her life.

Who am I?

Heidi Chiavaroli first knew the magic of history and story while standing in Louisa May Alcott’s bedroom as a twelve-year-old. Her favorite pastime is exploring places that whisper of historical secrets in her home state of Massachusetts, where she lives with her husband, two sons, and poodle puppy. Her latest dual timeline novel, The Orchard House, is inspired by the lesser-known events in Louisa May Alcott's life.

Heidi's book list on Louisa May Alcott and her life

Heidi Chiavaroli Why did Heidi love this book?

Ranging from sweet letters to her family to everyday business correspondence, these letters open up Louisa’s world to me. The reader obtains a snapshot of Louisa’s life and career through her various correspondences as well as glimpses into her writing process and her struggles to write prolificly when her health deteriorates. It was fun to read about her books in the letters and gain insight into the story behind them.

By Louisa May Alcott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Selected Letters Of Louisa May Alcott as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A broad cross-section of letters from the correspondence of the creator of ""Little Women"". This collection provides an autobiography spanning 45 years and provides an account of Alcott's life and development as a writer.


Book cover of Beyond These War-Torn Lands

Stephenia H. McGee Author Of In His Eyes

From my list on Civil War historical fiction for Christians.

Who am I?

I’ve found that the most tumultuous time in our nation’s history provides a poignant backdrop for fiction. As a firm believer that all people are God’s masterpiece and are created in his image, this time period can be difficult to read. However, I also believe there is a lot of potential to see how good can overcome evil, how faith can lead to healing, and how we can be overcomers. I’ve chosen books for this list that handle history with nuance and sensitivity, showcase fierce characters, provide embedded layers of faith, and leave you thinking long after the final page. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! 

Stephenia's book list on Civil War historical fiction for Christians

Stephenia H. McGee Why did Stephenia love this book?

A heartfelt and poignant tale of faith and perseverance with authentic details sure to resonate with historical fiction fans, this tale of grace and forgiveness is both tender and endearing. In many ways, reading this book was like going home. I was delighted to see the historical details during the search for Booth (something I spent months researching as I dug through the trial records for my own series). It's a beautiful story of grace and forgiveness.

By Cynthia Roemer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beyond These War-Torn Lands as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The War brought them together ~ Would it also tear them apart?

While en route to aid Confederate soldiers injured in battle near her home, Southerner Caroline Dunbar stumbles across a wounded Union sergeant. Unable to ignore his plea for help, she tends his injuries and hides him away, only to find her attachment to him deepen with each passing day. But when her secret is discovered, Caroline incurs her father’s wrath and, in turn, unlocks a dark secret from the past which she is determined to unravel.

After being forced to flee his place of refuge, Sergeant Andrew Gallagher…


Book cover of A Prayer for the Dying

McKenna Miller Author Of Wyrforra (Wyrforra Wars)

From my list on with weird writing styles.

Who am I?

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 Impending Crisis: America Before the Civil War, 1848-1861

Gary W. Gallagher Author Of The Enduring Civil War: Reflections on the Great American Crisis

From my list on the Civil War era.

Who am I?

I have been captivated by the era of the American Civil War since I was ten years old at the beginning of the conflict’s centennial. I have taught at the University of Texas at Austin, Penn State University, and the University of Virginia. I have written, co-written, or edited more than 40 books on the subject. The compelling personalities, dramatic events, and profoundly important issues at stake compel my continuing attention to the war, its antecedents, and its short- and long-term impact. I recommend five classic titles on the Civil War era (one a trilogy, one a two-volume set, and three single volumes) that will reward readers in the third decade of the 21st Century.

Gary's book list on the Civil War era

Gary W. Gallagher Why did Gary love this book?

David M. Potter’s The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861 (1976; winner of a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for History) remains, after nearly half-a-century, the best narrative on the coming of the Civil War. It brims with perceptive analysis and very usefully instructs readers about history’s vexing complications. Completed after Potter’s death by his colleague at Stanford Don E. Fehrenbacher, the engaging text forcefully reminds readers to keep in mind the contingent nature of politics and to avoid assuming events had to play out as they did. Part of the period’s complexity lay in the fact that although the crisis of 1860-1861 had everything to do with slavery’s powerful influence over American political affairs, the increasingly heated rhetoric of the secession winter did not focus on whether the nation would keep or jettison the institution. Four years of war answered that fundamental question.

By David M. Potter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

David M. Potter's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Impending Crisis is the definitive history of antebellum America. Potter's sweeping epic masterfully charts the chaotic forces that climaxed with the outbreak of the Civil War: westward expansion, the divisive issue of slavery, the Dred Scott decision, John Brown's uprising, the ascension of Abraham Lincoln, and the drama of Southern secession. Now available in a new edition, The Impending Crisis remains one of the most celebrated works of American historical writing.


Book cover of Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864

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.

Who am I?

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?

The campaign to capture Atlanta, waged over the summer of 1864, was one of the most decisive events of the entire American Civil War. Historians have argued that Atlanta’s fall, achieved that September, demonstrated to a war-weary North that the Lincoln Administration’s war policies were successful, and that victory was in sight. However, prior to 1992, there was very little coverage of any aspect of the campaign, let alone a narrative history of the full campaign.

Thirty years later, Decision in the West remains the standard work on the Atlanta Campaign. Though Castel’s coverage of individual battles (Resaca, Pickett’s Mill, Kennesaw, Peachtree Creek, the July 22 Battle of Atlanta, etc.) is limited to mostly a command-level discussion of those engagements, his interpretations of the decisions and actions of the three main principals—Sherman for the Federals, Johnston, and Hood for the Confederates—are both fascinating and thought-provoking. The author’s decision to rely…

By Albert Castel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Following a skirmish on June 28, 1864, a truce is called so the North can remove their dead and wounded. For two hours, Yankees and Rebels mingle, with some of the latter even assisting the former in their grisly work. Newspapers are exchanged. Northern coffee is swapped for Southern tobacco. Yanks crowd around two Rebel generals, soliciting and obtaining autographs.
As they part, a Confederate calls to a Yankee, "I hope to miss you, Yank, if I happen to shoot in your direction." "May I, never hit you Johnny if we fight again," comes the reply.

The reprieve is short.…


Book cover of The Passing of the Armies

Bruce L. Brager Author Of Grant's Victory: How Ulysses S. Grant Won the Civil War

From my list on leadership in the American Civil War.

Who am I?

The writer part should be obvious. I write books under my own name and as a ghostwriter. But also, like any good writer, I am a reader. The earliest books I recall reading, after Dick and Jane, were books on American history, in particular the American Civil War. When I looked to write on my own, this was the first area I looked into. Write what you know. Write what you like to read.

Bruce's book list on leadership in the American Civil War

Bruce L. Brager Why did Bruce love this book?

This is a reprint of the original edition from 1915. Chamberlain, the Maine general and hero of Little Round Top, was also a brigade commander in the last campaigns of the war in the east. Chamberlain tells the story of the end of the American Civil War, through the ceremonial surrender at Appomattox, which Chamberlain supervised and the parade in Washington DC. 

On the last page of his book, Chamberlain quotes the June 28, 1865 general orders of the Army of the Potomac, “ . . . this army, as an organization, ceases to exist.”  A one-time aspiring minister, Chamberlain is writing religiously when he adds “Ceases to exist!  Are you sure about that?” A century and a half later there is still a clear picture of the Army of the Potomac and the whole period remains a clear part of our historical memory. This book is well worth reading.  

By Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Joshua Chamberlain's "The Passing of the Armies" is one of the classic books of Civil War history. When it was posthumously published in 1915, it received acclaim for its Victorian prose and accuracy in bringing to life the final twelve days of the war in Virginia. Although highly critical of Sheridan and defensive of the operations of his Fifth Corps, Chamberlain's work is an important contribution to the true story of this intense fighting. It is an important contribution by a contemporary who, as a distinguished Union officer, witnessed the events he wrote about. "The Passing of the Armies" is…


Book cover of Hard Tack and Coffee

Ronald S. Coddington Author Of African American Faces of the Civil War: An Album

From my list on the American Civil War by those who experienced it.

Who am I?

Two boyhood experiences inspired my fascination with the Civil War: a family trip to Gettysburg and purchasing original photographs of soldiers at flea markets. Captivated by the old photos, I became an avid collector of Civil War-era portrait photography. Curiosity about identified individuals in my collection led me on a lifelong journey to tell their stories. In 2001, I started a column, Faces of War, in the Civil War News. Since then, I’ve profiled hundreds of participants in the column, and in six books. In 2013, I became the fourth editor and publisher of Military Images, a quarterly journal that showcases, interprets, and preserves Civil War photography.

Ronald's book list on the American Civil War by those who experienced it

Ronald S. Coddington Why did Ronald love this book?

Hailed by historians as one of the most important memoirs authored by a Civil War veteran, Hard Tack and Coffee tells the story of army life. John D. Billings traces the trail of the citizen soldier from recruitment and enlistment to the trials and tribulations of camp and campaign. Written more than two decades after the end of the conflict, Billings reflects on those tumultuous times with humor as he and his comrades stumbled their way through the varied lessons of the art of war. After he mustered out of a Massachusetts artillery regiment in 1865, Billings went on to become a respected educator.

By John D. Billings,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

First published more than 100 years ago, Hardtack And Coffee is John Billings’ absorbing first-person account of the everyday life of a U.S. Army soldier during the Civil War.

Billings attended a reunion of Civil War veterans in 1881 that brought together a group of survivors whose memories and stories of the war compelled him to write this account.

It is set in November, 1860.

Lincoln has been elected as President of the United States.

The Democrats split into two factions, divided over the issue of slavery.

As early as October, Southern politicians decide that the state of South Carolina…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the American Civil War, folklore, and presidential biography?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the American Civil War, folklore, and presidential biography.

The American Civil War Explore 284 books about the American Civil War
Folklore Explore 330 books about folklore
Presidential Biography Explore 17 books about presidential biography