100 books like The Killer Angels

By Michael Shaara,

Here are 100 books that The Killer Angels fans have personally recommended if you like The Killer Angels. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers 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

Cathal J. Nolan Author Of Mercy: Humanity in War

From the list on how wars are won and lost.

Who am I?

I'm an award-winning teacher and writer who introduces students and readers to war in a profession that today is at best indifferent to military history, and more often hostile. That gives me a wry sense of irony, as colleagues would rather teach about fashion than fascism and truffles over tragedy. Having written a multiple award-winning book that covered 2,000 years of war, frankly I was sickened by how the same mistakes were made over and again. It has made me devoted to exploring possibilities for humane behavior within the most inhumane and degraded moral environment humanity creates; where individuality is subsumed in collective violence and humanity is obscured as a faceless, merciless enemy.

Cathal's book list on how wars are won and lost

Why did Cathal love this book?

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.  

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

Richard J.M. Blackett Author Of Samuel Ringgold Ward: A Life of Struggle

From the list on abolitionist biographies about African American history.

Who am I?

I was not trained in African American history, but first developed a passion for it during my first teaching job in Pittsburgh, where a number of my colleagues were interested in locating the origins of Black Nationalism and began researching the life of a local black physician, Martin R. Delany. That led me to a wider exploration of nineteenth-century African American history.

Richard's book list on abolitionist biographies about African American history

Why did Richard love this book?

A giant of the nineteenth century and the leader of the struggle to end slavery needs a giant book and Blight’s is the most penetrating and comprehensive biography we have of the person many consider the voice and soul of the abolitionist movement and the struggle to win the right guaranteed in the Constitution.

By David W. Blight,

Why should I read it?

7 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

S.C. Gwynne Author Of Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War

From the list on the American Civil War that you should start with.

Who am I?

I have always been fascinated by the Civil War and read many books about it for pleasure over the years. Then in 2010 I decided to get serious and undertook a full-length biography of Stonewall Jackson. Four extremely intense years later I published Rebel Yell, and followed it a few years later with Hymns of the Republic, about the war’s final year. So I have spent much of the past decade doing little else but thinking about and writing about the Civil War.

S.C.'s book list on the American Civil War that you should start with

Why did S.C. love this book?

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.

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…

Book cover of A Stillness at Appomattox

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

From the 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

Why did Bruce love this book?

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. 

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

Harper Ford Author Of Divorced Not Dead

From the list on beautifully sad love stories.

Who am I?

I write romcoms as Harper Ford, yet I also write historical fiction as Rebecca Mascull and Mollie Walton. You’ll probably notice that all of my choices are either historical fiction or writers from the past. I just love an old-timey love story! My romcoms are funny (or at least they’re trying to be). But funnily enough, it’s the tragic, heart-rending love stories that stick in my mind when I think about romance in books. I hope you enjoy these novels as much as I have. But don’t forget to have a box of tissues to wipe away the inevitable tears…there aren’t many laughs to be had here! But hopefully a transcendent reading experience instead.

Harper's book list on beautifully sad love stories

Why did Harper love this book?

Cold Mountain tells the tale of two people separated and ultimately drawn inexorably together by the American Civil War in the 1860s.

We follow Inman, a wounded soldier, as he abandons the battlefield to make his way across the war-torn country to Cold Mountain, where his love Ada lives. She is trying to scratch a living from her dead father’s farm in terrible conditions.

The whole story is written in exquisite style, with the narrative moving forward as one stays still while the other slowly moves towards their joint goal of being together once more. Get those tissues ready for a good cry…you’re gonna need them…

By Charles Frazier,

Why should I read it?

9 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.…

Book cover of All the Light We Cannot See

Kathy Borrus Author Of Five Hundred Buildings of Paris

From the list on capturing the magic and history of Paris.

Who am I?

I lived in Paris for six months when I researched and wrote my first Paris book, One Thousand Buildings of Paris, walking every quarter of Paris including some rather dicey areas. I discovered most Parisians don’t wander very far from their own neighborhoods, and casual tourists tend to stay in the center. The first time my boyfriend and I went to Paris together, I planned daily excursions to all the neighborhoods where he had never been. We became flaneurs (wanderers) at outdoor markets, small museums, parks, and we ventured into unknown spaces. There is always something fascinating to discover in Paris and new ways to gain a sense of history. 

Kathy's book list on capturing the magic and history of Paris

Why did Kathy love this book?

I was mesmerized by Doerr’s exquisite, lyrical writing and his interweaving of WWII stories and characters.

Though a lengthy book nearly 600 pages, it reads like a page turner. On the surface it is a beautiful story about a friendship between a blind but highly perceptive French girl, Marie-Laure, and an orphaned German boy with a genius knack for building shortwave radios. Having gone blind at six, Marie-Laure negotiates her neighborhood thanks to a model built by her father.

When the Germans occupy Paris, Marie-Laure and her father take refuge at an uncle’s house at Saint-Malo. Although it is fiction, it captures the sense of Paris and France before and during occupation. It is also a tale of infinite love between father and child. 

By Anthony Doerr,

Why should I read it?

28 authors picked All the Light We Cannot See as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II

Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.'

For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic…

Plagues and Peoples

By William H. McNeill,

Book cover of Plagues and Peoples

Gary Clayton Anderson Author Of Massacre in Minnesota: The Dakota War of 1862, the Most Violent Ethnic Conflict in American History

From the list on stories so engaging you loose track of time.

Who am I?

I grew up on the Northern Plains, visiting Indian Reservations where my mother was a social worker. The poverty, hopelessness, and general lack of medical care and schooling made a profound impact on me. It led me to Graduate School and the study of American Indians. Of my twelve books, two have been finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, and several others have won minor prizes. As a historian, I realize that we can turn things around. We can strive to better understand the past, and prepare our children and grandchildren for the future. But this will never happen by banning books. We must face the brave, new world that is upon us.

Gary's book list on stories so engaging you loose track of time

Why did Gary love this book?

As a historian, some books just keep coming back to you. McNeill’s Plagues and Peoples is just such a book. 

He is really the first historian to outline the dramatic impact that infectious diseases have had on human history. He outlines the spread of smallpox, diphtheria, Yellow Fever, Malaria, the Plague, and many others, as they originate mostly in Africa and come into the Mediterranean Ocean, to produce cycles of death. 

But the people who lived on the edge of that ocean soon came to develop antibodies, and ultimately, master the impact of such terrible diseases.  

Unfortunately, those diseases were soon transferred to the Americas, where perhaps a hundred million American Indians died from them. They had no immunities!

Had such a calamity not occurred, the two western hemispheric continents might easily be dominated by Natives, who spoke a different language and prayed to a different God.

By William H. McNeill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Upon its original publication, Plagues and Peoples was an immediate critical and popular success, offering a radically new interpretation of world history as seen through the extraordinary impact--political, demographic, ecological, and psychological--of disease on cultures. From the conquest of Mexico by smallpox as much as by the Spanish, to the bubonic plague in China, to the typhoid epidemic in Europe, the history of disease is the history of humankind. With the identification of AIDS in the early 1980s, another chapter has been added to this chronicle of events, which William McNeill explores in his new introduction to this updated editon.…

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

Michelle Bennington Author Of Widow's Blush: A Widows & Shadows Mystery

From the list on traveling back in time.

Who am I?

I was an English major in college. In pursuing my love of books and language, I fell into a love of history. The passion for history began with author biographies as I tried to understand how the culture affected various authors’ writings. This is why my history strength resides in European history, because most of my favorite authors come from Europe. The more I read of the biographies, I often came across historical events I wasn’t knowledgeable about and so fell down a rabbit hole of historical research. The more I learn, the more I love history! 

Michelle's book list on traveling back in time

Why did Michelle love this book?

I cannot speak highly enough of Gwynne’s book! This book is only a few hundred pages, but he somehow manages to detail the very complex relationships between Texas, Mexico, the United States government, and the Comanche Indians while making a believable case for the Comanche being an empire in its own right.

While I’m a big history nerd, I tend to focus on European history. But lately, I’ve come to have a deeper appreciation for U.S. history. It certainly gave me a broader understanding of the Wild West, indigenous people, and the socio-political atmosphere.

The best part is that it wasn’t dry and boring, as some history books can be. It read like a novel. As a writer myself, I’m still amazed at how he managed to pack so much information inside the covers. Not a single word was wasted. That’s an impressive feat!

By S.C. Gwynne,

Why should I read it?

3 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…

Book cover of Fort Sumter to Perryville

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

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

Who am I?

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

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,…

Landscape Turned Red

By Stephen W. Sears,

Book cover of Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam

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

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

Who am I?

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

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…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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