10 books like The Killer Angels

By Michael Shaara,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Killer Angels. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Battle Cry of Freedom

By James M. McPherson,

Book cover of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

Beautifully written masterwork on one of the most important wars of the 19th century. It takes the reader from the experience of ordinary soldiers in battle to key debates around the cabinet table, in a rare display of dexterity and understanding of all levels of war. You will enter Grant’s HQ from where he ran the critical Western theater of operations and sit across from Lincoln as he makes the key decision for a hard war that let the Union maximize its resources and win. And you will walk into Lee’s HQ where the Confederacy lost the war in bursts of Southern hubris that led to two ill-conceived invasions of the North that provoked the final crushing.  

Battle Cry of Freedom

By James M. McPherson,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Battle Cry of Freedom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now featuring a new Afterword by the author, this handy paperback edition of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom is without question the definitive one-volume history of the Civil War.
James McPherson's fast-paced narrative fully integrates the political, social, and military events that crowded the two decades from the outbreak of one war in Mexico to the ending of another at Appomattox. Packed with drama and analytical insight, the book vividly recounts the momentous episodes that preceded the Civil War including the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry. From there it moves into…

Frederick Douglass

By David W. Blight,

Book cover of Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

Some critics have dismissed Lincoln as a white supremacist, citing his words in 1858 about Black inferiority, and call his emancipation edict an act of simple pragmatism. This does not square with the rounded judgment of Frederick Douglass, the runaway slave, ardent campaigner for racial equality, and arguably the most influential African American of all time. David Blight’s definitive Pulitzer prize-winning study serves him with eloquent authority. He shows how the radical activist, after initially calling Lincoln a "heartless" pragmatist, grew to appreciate Lincoln’s qualities. The president treated "my friend Frederick Douglass" as an equal, asking him to organize Black scouts to penetrate enemy lines and guide slaves to freedom. Douglass would come to declare him a legitimate hero for African Americans.

Frederick Douglass

By David W. Blight,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

**Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in History**

"Extraordinary...a great American biography" (The New Yorker) of the most important African-American of the nineteenth century: Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became the greatest orator of his day and one of the leading abolitionists and writers of the era.

As a young man Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) escaped from slavery in Baltimore, Maryland. He was fortunate to have been taught to read by his slave owner mistress, and he would go on to become one of the major literary figures of his time. His very existence gave the lie to slave owners: with…

Shenandoah 1862

By Peter Cozzens,

Book cover of Shenandoah 1862: Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign

I discovered this book a few years ago while writing my biography of Jackson. The subject is probably the single most dazzling bit of tactical warfare in American history. Its relatively short duration—March through June, 1882—means that Cozzens can go deep, and go deep he does.

Shenandoah 1862

By Peter Cozzens,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shenandoah 1862 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most intriguing and storied episodes of the Civil War, the 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign has heretofore been related only from the Confederate point of view. Moving seamlessly between tactical details and analysis of strategic significance, Peter Cozzens presents a balanced, comprehensive account of a campaign that has long been romanticized but little understood. He offers new interpretations of the campaign and the reasons for Stonewall Jackson's success, demonstrates instances in which the mythology that has come to shroud the campaign has masked errors on Jackson's part, and provides the first detailed appraisal of Union leadership in the…

A Stillness at Appomattox

By Bruce Catton,

Book cover of A Stillness at Appomattox: The Army of the Potomac Trilogy

These are the first books I read on the American Civil War as an adult (thank you, History Book Club). Catton lets the reader march with the Army of the Potomac through the war in the east. You don’t just learn what happened, and why. You feel what it was like to be there. Catton never forgets the need to make history a good read as well as a way to transmit information. 

A Stillness at Appomattox

By Bruce Catton,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Stillness at Appomattox as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Recounting the final year of the Civil War, this classic volume by Bruce Catton won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for excellence in non-fiction.

In this final volume of the Army of the Potomac Trilogy, Catton, America's foremost Civil War historian, takes the reader through the battles of the Wilderness, the Bloody Angle, Cold Harbot, the Crater, and on through the horrible months to one moment at Appomattox. Grant, Meade, Sheridan, and Lee vividly come to life in all their failings and triumphs.

Cold Mountain

By Charles Frazier,

Book cover of Cold Mountain

Frazier’s book, a serious novel rather than a potboiler, set during and after the American Civil War, nevertheless leaped onto the bestseller lists, then went on to win a National Book Award. Why? Reading the book is a profound experience. You are seamlessly taken back to the middle of the 19th century and engaged with characters whose poignant stories penetrate a reader’s heart. It’s both an adventure and a love story about a soldier on a fraught journey home and his lover’s story as she lives her own life close to the earth in a time before modern conveniences and distractions. The novel is a reminder that great fiction awakens our humanity because the author not only has great gifts and technique, but because he believes in the integrity of his own characters and embeds them in a world that matters. Made into an Oscar-winning film that is well…

Cold Mountain

By Charles Frazier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1997, Charles Frazier’s debut novel Cold Mountain made publishing history when it sailed to the top of The New York Times best-seller list for sixty-one weeks, won numerous literary awards, including the National Book Award, and went on to sell over three million copies. Now, the beloved American epic returns, reissued by Grove Press to coincide with the publication of Frazier’s eagerly-anticipated second novel, Thirteen Moons. Sorely wounded and fatally disillusioned in the fighting at Petersburg, a Confederate soldier named Inman decides to walk back to his home in the Blue Ridge mountains to Ada, the woman he loves.…

Empire of the Summer Moon

By S.C. Gwynne,

Book cover of Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History

Gwynne tells us the Comanche’s only businesses were robbery and slave trading. But he does give them credit for the geography of America. That is holding both the French and Spanish at bay until America was ready to take the land. The measure of their men was not in what they would die for but what they would have others die for.

Empire of the Summer Moon

By S.C. Gwynne,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Empire of the Summer Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the tradition of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a stunningly vivid historical account of the forty-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West, centering on Quanah, the greatest Comanche chief of them all.

S. C. Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moonspans two astonishing stories. The first traces the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. The second entails one of the most remarkable narratives ever to come out of the Old West: the epic saga of the pioneer woman Cynthia Ann Parker and her mixed-blood…


The Civil War

By Shelby Foote,

Book cover of The Civil War: Fort Sumter to Perryville

The story of the Civil War comprises one of the most gripping narratives of American history and Shelby Foote, a great novelist, knows how tell the tale with the sort of dash and brio the subject demands. Spanning three volumes, Foote’s magisterial treatment of the era not only needs to be read by anyone interested in deepening their understanding of how America got to where it is today, it also demands to be savored by any lover of fine, singing sentences. I was lucky enough to encounter the trilogy early in my writing of my book and Foote’s wealth of anecdote really helped to flesh out the arc of my own narrative.

The Civil War

By Shelby Foote,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Civil War 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,…

Landscape Turned Red

By Stephen W. Sears,

Book cover of Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam

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.     

Landscape Turned Red

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…

Grant Takes Command

By Bruce Catton,

Book cover of Grant Takes Command

Bruce Catton wrote extensively about the noble but ill-starred Army of the Potomac and is widely known for his wonderful trilogy recounting that army’s path through the American Civil War. With Grant Takes Command, Catton looks west for a time toward General Ulysses S. Grant and how he came east to lead all the Union armies toward eventual victory. Recounting Grant’s (and the country’s) journey from the opening of the cracker line in Chattanooga in 1863, through the Battle of the Wilderness (a subject that captured my imagination!) and the Overland Campaign and on to Appomattox Courthouse and the surrender of the Confederacy, Catton’s book moves through its narrative with a style and verve to match any piece of gripping fiction. 

Grant Takes Command

By Bruce Catton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Forming the second part in Grant's biography, the sequel to "Grant Moves South" follows his victory at Chattanooga and subsequent promotion to Commander-in-Chief of the Union forces. The book also provides information as to how the Civil War was won and follows Grant as he directs military operations throughout the last year of the war. The author has won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award.

Winfield Scott Hancock

By David M. Jordan,

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

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…

Winfield Scott Hancock

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…


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