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  • Your personal Civil War library

    Just curious, as it came up in a recent conversation I was having: how many Civil War books do you own and what is your ideal number of books for a well balanced personal collection? I thought I would ask around online to try to get everyone's opinion as this was something that's been on my mind for quite some time. Everyone's opinion is much appreciated.

  • #2
    I have a bunch of books and magazines. The bad thing is most are in storage. I still pick up stuff that looks good. I have at least three ancestors that served in Louisiana, Alabama and New York units. Several branches of my family tree are a mystery so I just might have more. There are no ideal number of books. Some just might end up back in my storage unit one day.

    Pruitt
    Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

    Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

    by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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    • #3
      More books than six shelves can hold, listing would take too long. Balanced would be good general histories like Foote and Catton, and books covering the major battles and campaigns, including the naval activities and of course encyclopedias and Alamnacs.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by hallsofhistory View Post
        ...what is your ideal number of books for a well balanced personal collection?...
        Why limit yourself to a specific number?

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        • #5
          Try to find balance between Northern and Southern points of view. The mainstream-Ken Burns-school curriculum-Hollywood interpretation is all based on the Radical Republican narrative. It was a minority viewpoint until the end of the war, and its "take" on the South is deranged.

          If you want a "moderate Republican" viewpoint, you can read Carl Sandburg. If you want a Southern viewpoint, you can read D.S. Freeman or the Kennedy Brothers.

          The military history is fine, but if you want a social or political history, then you need to diversify your authors.
          "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

          "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

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          • #6
            Foote and Burns certainly give the southern perspective. Burns even hasa scene of Foote callingForrest one of the 2 geniuses of the war.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by grognard View Post
              Foote and Burns certainly give the southern perspective. Burns even hasa scene of Foote callingForrest one of the 2 geniuses of the war.
              Foote is the Southerner in The Civil War series, but he never touches the questions of slavery, states rights, Lincoln's racism, or anything like that. Any notion of the war being over power, or of the North being racist, is shut down or quickly dismissed in the mainstream. And that includes PBS documentaries.

              The P.C. line is that the war was fought over slavery, that the South were evil, backwards villains, and that the North had to set the country straight. As we all know, many Northerners were opposed to fighting for "the negro," there were draft riots, and Lincoln barely got the XIII Amendment passed in 1865. There are books on this subject, like Forced into Glory and The South Was Right!, but good luck finding these in pop culture.

              A good "moderate Republican" book is Carl Sandburg's biography of Lincoln. It was popular for a long time in the 30s, 40s, maybe even 50s, but at 6 volumes, it's not as well-read these days.
              "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

              "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

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              • #8
                Originally posted by hallsofhistory View Post
                Just curious, as it came up in a recent conversation I was having: how many Civil War books do you own and what is your ideal number of books for a well balanced personal collection? I thought I would ask around online to try to get everyone's opinion as this was something that's been on my mind for quite some time. Everyone's opinion is much appreciated.
                I started with Bruce Catton when I was in the 5th grade when I received the American Heritage Pictorial History of the Civil War with the text by Catton. I have his trilogy on the Army of the Potomac which is excellent and sunsurpassed as far as I'm concerned. The Guns at Gettysburg, which covers both sides, began my interest in artillery. It is also excellent. I have McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom, Military Uniforms in America by The Company of Military Historians is also excellent and covers both sides.

                I have some books on the artillery of the war, material on the Gettysburg and Antietam campaigns, and a plethora of unit histories such as The Iron Brigade, The Irish Brigade, the 54th Massachusetts, the 6th Wisconsin, de Trobriand's memoir, John Bigelow's excellent study of Chancellorsville, at least three period artillery manuals and quite a few others.

                The West Point Atlas of American Wars, Volume I, is also excellent and I have the Time-Life Series, complete.

                If anyone would like a complete listing, I would be more than happy to furnish one. My home email is [email protected]
                We are not now that strength which in old days
                Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by American87 View Post
                  The P.C. line is that the war was fought over slavery...
                  For the umpteenth thousand time, the cause of the war was slavery. That was the south's economic system and it almost caused the derailment of independence in 1776.

                  The war was fought by the north, however, to restore the Union while the south wanted to destroy that union.

                  We are not now that strength which in old days
                  Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                  Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                  To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by American87 View Post
                    Try to find balance between Northern and Southern points of view. The mainstream-Ken Burns-school curriculum-Hollywood interpretation is all based on the Radical Republican narrative. It was a minority viewpoint until the end of the war, and its "take" on the South is deranged.

                    If you want a "moderate Republican" viewpoint, you can read Carl Sandburg. If you want a Southern viewpoint, you can read D.S. Freeman or the Kennedy Brothers.

                    The military history is fine, but if you want a social or political history, then you need to diversify your authors.
                    Interesting that you bring up the idea of 'radical and moderate Republican' viewpoints of Civil War history. That sounds like sour grapes from the 'Lost Cause.' I would suggest getting over it. The South was wrong on two counts-slavery and rebellion.

                    I would suggest responding to the OP and recommend or list books as asked and leave political views, usually modern ones and out of touch, out of this thread. If you want to politicize the question put, then begin your own thread on it. Discussing books is a great topic and trying to politicize that idea is just counter-productive.
                    We are not now that strength which in old days
                    Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                    Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                    To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Massena View Post

                      For the umpteenth thousand time, the cause of the war was slavery. That was the south's economic system and it almost caused the derailment of independence in 1776.

                      The war was fought by the north, however, to restore the Union while the south wanted to destroy that union.
                      Do not criticize others for doing what you yourself initiated.....off topic discussion, PERIOD!!!
                      Pot calling kettle black will not cut it here!!!

                      ACG Staff

                      Last edited by D1J1; 27 Oct 19, 16:16.
                      "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

                      "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Massena View Post

                        Interesting that you bring up the idea of 'radical and moderate Republican' viewpoints of Civil War history. That sounds like sour grapes from the 'Lost Cause.' I would suggest getting over it. The South was wrong on two counts-slavery and rebellion.

                        I would suggest responding to the OP and recommend or list books as asked and leave political views, usually modern ones and out of touch, out of this thread. If you want to politicize the question put, then begin your own thread on it. Discussing books is a great topic and trying to politicize that idea is just counter-productive.
                        If you want to learn the social or political history of the war, you could start with the books I mentioned. There’s more to history than battles and tactics. That’s especially true with this war of ours.
                        "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

                        "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          on the shelves there are just over 300 books and the complete collection of Harper's Weekly issues, on the duration of the war
                          and in addition I downloaded more than 150 books, such as:
                          Photographic History (11 vols.)
                          Confederate Military History (18 vols.)
                          Battles and Leaders (4 vols.)
                          Rebellion Record
                          Southern Historical Papers
                          Official Record
                          Cullum's Register
                          and other writers like Pollard, Lossing, Fox, Dyer, Todd, etc., etc.
                          20160901_111522.jpg

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                          • #14
                            I think it helps if you specialize a bit. I am a bit jaded on following Grant and Sherman, but the war in Louisiana and the Appalachians interest me.

                            Pruitt
                            Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                            Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                            by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Rather than accumulating stories of battles, I prefer works such as "Desertion During the CW" (Lonn); "They Fought Like Demons" (Blanton & Cook); "The Business of War" (Le Duc); "Train Running for the Confederacy" (Sank); "The Blessed Place of Freedom "(Mahin); "The Divided Family in CWA "(Taylor); "Freedom by the Sword" (Dobak) .... and I even have 2 booklets on the rules of baseball for 1862 (we tested them in re-enactment)

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