100 books like Union Must Stand

By Mark Grimsley,

Here are 100 books that Union Must Stand fans have personally recommended if you like Union Must Stand. 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 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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War

Kevin M. Levin Author Of Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War's Most Persistent Myth

From my list on slavery and the confederacy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian and educator based in Boston. I have authored three books and numerous essays on the Civil War era. You can find my op-eds in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The Daily Beast. Over the past few years, I have worked with students and teachers across the country to better understand the current controversy surrounding Confederate monuments.

Kevin's book list on slavery and the confederacy

Kevin M. Levin Why did Kevin love this book?

This slim volume packs a mean punch. Following the secession of the seven Deep Southern states in 1860-61, commissioners were sent out to the remaining uncommitted slaveholding states to convince their leaders of the necessity of joining the new Confederate States of America. While the arguments of these secession commissioners included constitutional arguments in favor of secession, they relied even more so on emotional pleas that framed the election of the nation’s first Republican president as a direct threat to the institution of slavery and white supremacy. Their speeches were laced with horrific images of emancipation and a region plunged into racial violence. Charles Dew offers a compelling argument that highlights the importance of slavery and race in the outbreak of war.

By Charles B. Dew,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Charles Dew's Apostles of Disunion has established itself as a modern classic and an indispensable account of the Southern states' secession from the Union. Addressing topics still hotly debated among historians and the public at large more than a century and a half after the Civil War, the book offers a compelling and clearly substantiated argument that slavery and race were at the heart of our great national crisis. The fifteen years since the original publication of Apostles of Disunion have seen an intensification of debates surrounding the Confederate flag and Civil War monuments. In a powerful new afterword to…


Book cover of The Harriet Jacobs Family Papers

Chandra Manning Author Of What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War

From my list on accounts of the Civil War from people who were there.

Why am I passionate about this?

Despite what my kids think, I am not actually old enough to have “been there” during the Civil War itself, but I have spent my entire professional career studying it. Years in archives reading other people’s mail, old newspaper accounts, dusty diaries, and handwritten testimonies, along with sifting through records books and ledgers of all descriptions have taught me exactly how intertwined slavery, Civil War, and emancipation all were, and I am dedicated to trying to explain the connections to anyone who reads my books, stumbles across my digital history work, or sits in my classroom at Georgetown University, where I teach history. Two good places to see the results of my efforts include What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War which won the Avery Craven Award for best book on the Civil War and was a finalist for the Lincoln Prize and Frederick Douglass Prize, and Troubled Refuge: Struggling for Freedom in the Civil War, which won the Jefferson Davis Prize and was also a finalist for the Lincoln Prize.

Chandra's book list on accounts of the Civil War from people who were there

Chandra Manning Why did Chandra love this book?

As the Union Army penetrated into Confederate territory, enslaved men, women, and children fled bondage to take refuge with the army. Roughly half a million formerly enslaved people exited slavery in this way, spending the war in encampments appended to the army or in Union occupied cities. They influenced the progress and outcome of the war as well as emancipation. They also encountered conditions that amounted to a humanitarian crisis, one that soldiers tasked with fighting a war were ill-equipped to meet. Civilians from the North made their way to camps and occupied cities to serve as relief workers. Harriet Jacobs headed South as just such a worker. Jacobs herself had been born a slave and made a harrowing escape decades earlier, but when war broke out, she braved the South again. She made her way to Alexandria, Virginia where she worked among the many freedom seekers who came to…

By Joseph M Thomas, Scott Korb, Jean Fagan Yellin

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the only collection of papers of an African American woman held in slavery.Although millions of African American women were held in bondage over the 250 years that slavery was legal in the United States, Harriet Jacobs (1813-97) is the only one known to have left papers testifying to her life. Her autobiography, ""Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl"", holds a central place in the canon of American literature as the most important slave narrative by an African American woman.Born in Edenton, North Carolina, Jacobs escaped from her owner in her mid-twenties and hid in the cramped…


Book cover of Brokenburn: The Journal of Kate Stone, 1861-1868

Chandra Manning Author Of What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War

From my list on accounts of the Civil War from people who were there.

Why am I passionate about this?

Despite what my kids think, I am not actually old enough to have “been there” during the Civil War itself, but I have spent my entire professional career studying it. Years in archives reading other people’s mail, old newspaper accounts, dusty diaries, and handwritten testimonies, along with sifting through records books and ledgers of all descriptions have taught me exactly how intertwined slavery, Civil War, and emancipation all were, and I am dedicated to trying to explain the connections to anyone who reads my books, stumbles across my digital history work, or sits in my classroom at Georgetown University, where I teach history. Two good places to see the results of my efforts include What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War which won the Avery Craven Award for best book on the Civil War and was a finalist for the Lincoln Prize and Frederick Douglass Prize, and Troubled Refuge: Struggling for Freedom in the Civil War, which won the Jefferson Davis Prize and was also a finalist for the Lincoln Prize.

Chandra's book list on accounts of the Civil War from people who were there

Chandra Manning Why did Chandra love this book?

Kate Stone was 20 years old when the Civil War came, living as a cherished daughter in a large, loving, wealthy Louisiana family headed by her indomitable widowed mother. The war up-ended Kate’s world. Beloved brothers joined the Confederate Army. First luxuries and then necessities dried up. Union forces helped themselves to Kate’s favorite horse. Neighbors and relations died or left. Eventually Kate and her family did, too, “refugeeing” to Texas where they did not always mingle smoothly with the locals. Meanwhile, the same forces that shattered Kate’s world opened the doors to a new one for the many enslaved people on whom Kate and her family relied. Kate’s marvelously eloquent diary offers readers a front-row seat into the drama of the Confederate homefront as a young woman on the cusp of adulthood experienced it, and from the corner of the reader’s eye, we also see glimpses of enslaved people…

By John Q. Anderson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This journal records the Civil War experiences of a sensitive, well-educated, young southern woman. Kate Stone was twenty when the war began, living with her widowed mother, five brothers, and younger sister at Brokenburn, their plantation home in northeastern Louisiana. When Grant moved against Vicksburg, the family fled before the invading armies, eventually found refuge in Texas, and finally returned to a devastated home.

Kate began her journal in May, 1861, and made regular entries up to November, 1865. She included briefer sketches in 1867 and 1868. In chronicling her everyday activities, Kate reveals much about a way of life…


Book cover of John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, a Private Life

Jason Emerson Author Of Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln

From my list on presidential children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an independent historian and journalist who has spent over 25 years studying Abraham Lincoln and his family. My fascination with the Great Emancipator began when I worked first as a student volunteer and then as a park ranger at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois. As I writer who has always loved history, I decided I should start writing about history. I've authored or edited eight books (seven on Lincoln and his family) as well as numerous articles. My big break came when I discovered a cache of Mary Lincoln’s missing letters, written during her time in a sanitarium in 1875, which had been missing for nearly 100 years.

Jason's book list on presidential children

Jason Emerson Why did Jason love this book?

John Quincy Adams is considered the most accomplished presidential son in U.S. history, as well as one of the most important and influential Americans since the nation’s founding. His lackluster one-term presidency and his cold demeanor, however, have left him with a tainted reputation—and yet his years both before and after his presidency are practically unparalleled in their achievements. John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, a Private Life by Paul C. Nagel is definitely the best distillation of Adams’s enormous life into one volume. Nagel covers the entirety of the great man’s public career while also digging into his complex psyche. I walked away from this book shocked and appalled at all I did not know of the younger Adams and his contributions to the creation of the American republic, and left with a voracious hunger to learn even more.

By Paul C. Nagel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

John Quincy Adams was raised, educated, and groomed to be President, following in the footsteps of his father, John. At fourteen he was secretary to the Minister to Russia and, later, was himself Minister to the Netherlands and Prussia. He was U.S. Senator, Secretary of State, and then President for one ill-fated term. His private life showed a parallel descent. He was a poet, writer, critic, and Professor of Oratory at Harvard. He married a talented and engaging Southerner, but two of his three sons were disappointments. This polymath and troubled man, caught up in both a democratic age not…


Book cover of The Education of Henry Adams: An Autobiography

Gregg Easterbrook Author Of It's Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear

From my list on hope for the future.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an author, I write both serious nonfiction and literary fiction. As a journalist, I have lifelong associations with The Atlantic and the Washington Monthly. I didn’t plan it, but four of my nonfiction books make an extended argument for the revival of optimism as intellectually respectable. A Moment on the Earth (1995) argued environmental trends other than greenhouse gases actually are positive, The Progress Paradox (2003) asserted material standards will keep rising but that won’t make people any happier, Sonic Boom (2009), published during the despair of the Great Recession, said the global economy would bounce back and It’s Better Than It Looks (2018) found the situation objectivity good on most major issues.

Gregg's book list on hope for the future

Gregg Easterbrook Why did Gregg love this book?

Finished in 1907, this famed book is worth rereading today for awareness that its pervasive pessimism proved totally wrong. Adams declared that western democracy was doomed, that freedom had no chance if forced into war versus dictatorship, that the pace change was overwhelming, that the U.S. educational system could not possibly teach science. A century later, democracy prevailed in both world wars, free nations out-produce dictatorships 10 to 1, and America has won more Nobel prizes in the sciences than the next five nations combined. Pessimism has long been with us – and almost always been wrong.

By Henry Adams,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This classic autobiography includes accounts of Adams's residence in England and of his "diplomatic education" in the circle of Palmerston, Russell and Gladstone.


Book cover of Mrs. Adams in Winter: A Journey in the Last Days of Napoleon

Beatrice de Graaf Author Of Fighting Terror After Napoleon: How Europe Became Secure After 1815

From my list on how Europe waged peace after Napoleon.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was struck by the memoirs of Louisa Adams who travelled through Europe during the last Napoleonic battles. She was a young mother, and had to take her 7-year old son with her. Having children myself, I started wondering: how did people "on the ground" experience the last stages of the Napoleonic wars and the transition towards peace? I am a professor in the History of International Relations at Utrecht University. I write about terrorism and security in the 20th and 21st centuries. Yet, over the past decade, I felt the need to go further back in time, to that seminal period of the Age of Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, because that period truly saw the birth of a new security culture in Europe and beyond.

Beatrice's book list on how Europe waged peace after Napoleon

Beatrice de Graaf Why did Beatrice love this book?

I already mentioned this gripping account of a 40-days trip of a lonely lady in a solitary carriage, hobbling from St. Petersburg, via Riga, Tilsit to Paris above. Everyone interested in the Napoleonic Wars, should also feel obliged to read her account, how she witnessed ‘houses half burnt’, a war ‘shedding its gloom around all the objects, announcing devastation and despair’. And how happy she was when being helped by allied soldiers, and upon reaching her destination safe and sound (with her little boy) in Paris, where the allied leaders were setting up their headquarters.

By Michael O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mrs. Adams in Winter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Early in 1815, Louisa Catherine Adams and her young son left St. Petersburg in a heavy Russian carriage and set out on a difficult journey to meet her husband, John Quincy Adams, in Paris. She traveled through the snows of Eastern Europe, across the battlefields of Germany, and into a France then experiencing the tumultuous events of Napoleon's return from Elba. The prize-winning historian Michael O'Brien reconstructs for the first time Louisa Adams's extraordinary passage. An evocative history of the experience of travel in the days of carriages and kings, Mrs. Adams in Winter offers a moving portrait of a…


Book cover of Belligerent Muse: Five Northern Writers and How They Shaped Our Understanding of the Civil War

Candice Shy Hooper Author Of Lincoln's Generals' Wives: Four Women Who Influenced the Civil War--For Better and for Worse

From my list on William Tecumseh Sherman.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was fated to write about war. Born on Guam to a Navy hospital corpsman and his intrepid wife, I spent four years on tank-littered beaches of Saipan and sailed to Japan on a U.S. Navy LST at the age of seven. When I graduated from college with a major in journalism, a Navy man, the late great Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson hired me as his press secretary, and we talked military history even as he made it in Afghanistan. Thirty-three years later, I went back to school for an MA in History. As I write, my great grandfather’s bugle from the Spanish-American War and the flag that covered my father’s coffin at his Arlington Cemetery funeral sit atop my shelves of military history books.

Candice's book list on William Tecumseh Sherman

Candice Shy Hooper Why did Candice love this book?

If Marszalek’s book is thin on any aspect of Sherman it is on his writing — the eloquent, powerful weapon he brandished during the war and the efficient, versatile tool with which he constructed his legacy in his Memoirs.

As a young man, the letters he wrote to his foster sister and future wife Ellen contained carefully constructed sentences with descriptive flourishes; as an adult, he borrowed liberally from his love of Shakespeare and the theater to craft his persona in his Memoirs.

Cushman, an award-winning poet and historian, places Sherman’s writing in the context of four other Northern writers (Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, Ambrose Bierce, and Joshua Chamberlain) who were inspired by the “belligerent muse” — war. You will treasure this book, which is unlike any other book about history or literature you’ve ever read.

By Stephen Cushman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

War destroys, but it also inspires, stimulates, and creates. It is, in this way, a muse, and a powerful one at that. The American Civil War was a particularly prolific muse--unleashing with its violent realities a torrent of language, from soldiers' intimate letters and diaries to everyday newspaper accounts, great speeches, and enduring literary works. In Belligerent Muse, Stephen Cushman considers the Civil War writings of five of the most significant and best known narrators of the conflict: Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, William Tecumseh Sherman, Ambrose Bierce, and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. Considering their writings both as literary expressions and as…


Book cover of Sherman's March in Myth and Memory

Sarah Covington Author Of The Devil from Over the Sea: Remembering and Forgetting Oliver Cromwell in Ireland

From my list on history’s villains and their surprising reputations.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a professor of history at the Graduate Center and Queens College at the City University of New York, where I'm also director of the Irish Studies program and the MA program in Biography and Memoir. My specialty, covered in five books that I’ve authored or co-edited, is English and Irish history in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; my new book represents the culmination of a decade’s research devoted to Ireland. In addition to teaching British and Irish history, I offer more unusual and wide-ranging classes including the history of the devil, the history of crime and punishment, and the history of the body. My life is divided between New York City and mid-coast Maine.

Sarah's book list on history’s villains and their surprising reputations

Sarah Covington Why did Sarah love this book?

The American Civil War would produce a number of legendary figures, but William Tecumseh Sherman has long interested me for the extreme reactions he continues to provoke. Northerners would view him as a heroic if ruthless conqueror, while Southerners attributed the Confederacy’s destruction and humiliation to this uncavalier “Yankee.”

Sherman’s March in Myth and History traces the mythmaking of Sherman by historians, poets, novelists, and filmmakers, but it also goes deeper in its exploration of how myths and memories about Sherman served to bolster present-day interests. The vilification of Sherman helped to boost the Old South aristocracy and the idea of the "Lost Cause," while northerners viewed Sherman’s march as positive evidence of a superior industrialism. Sherman himself attempted to shape his legacy through lectures and a memoir. Even so, his legacy remains deeply divisive even now, with the authors writing that “there is no conciliation in sight for the…

By Edward Caudill, Paul Ashdown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sherman's March in Myth and Memory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

General William Tecumseh Sherman's devastating "March to the Sea" in 1864 burned a swath through the cities and countryside of Georgia and into the history of the American Civil War. As they moved from Atlanta to Savannah-destroying homes, buildings, and crops; killing livestock; and consuming supplies-Sherman and the Union army ignited not only southern property, but also imaginations, in both the North and the South. By the time of the general's death in 1891, when one said "The March," no explanation was required. That remains true today.

Legends and myths about Sherman began forming during the March itself, and took…


Book cover of Sherman: A Soldier's Passion for Order

Candice Shy Hooper Author Of Lincoln's Generals' Wives: Four Women Who Influenced the Civil War--For Better and for Worse

From my list on William Tecumseh Sherman.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was fated to write about war. Born on Guam to a Navy hospital corpsman and his intrepid wife, I spent four years on tank-littered beaches of Saipan and sailed to Japan on a U.S. Navy LST at the age of seven. When I graduated from college with a major in journalism, a Navy man, the late great Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson hired me as his press secretary, and we talked military history even as he made it in Afghanistan. Thirty-three years later, I went back to school for an MA in History. As I write, my great grandfather’s bugle from the Spanish-American War and the flag that covered my father’s coffin at his Arlington Cemetery funeral sit atop my shelves of military history books.

Candice's book list on William Tecumseh Sherman

Candice Shy Hooper Why did Candice love this book?

This book is the single best biography of Sherman – the good, the bad, the ugly – by one of the foremost scholars of the Civil War. Marszalek’s portrait of Sherman as a man who sought order in all aspects of his life provides valuable insight into Sherman’s military genius and his personal failings. This biography gives the most comprehensive portrait of the intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically complex man whose legacy continues to be debated today. This is the one-stop-shop for those who want to get to know the man I believe to be the most interesting personality of the Civil War.

By John F. Marszalek,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sherman: A Soldier's Passion for Order is the premier biography of William Tecumseh Sherman, the Civil War commander known for his ""destructive war"" policy against Confederates and as a consummate soldier. This updated edition of John F. Marszalek's award-winning book presents the general as a complicated man who, fearing anarchy, searched for the order that he hoped would make his life a success. Sherman was profoundly influenced by the death of his father and his subsequent relationship with the powerful Whig politician Thomas Ewing and his family. Although the Ewings treated Sherman as one of their own, the young Sherman…


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