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Your personal Civil War library

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  • F4UCorsair
    replied
    At the risk of looking like I'm circling the question, the ideal number really depends on what you are doing with your collection. Since my interest is research and I don't know what aspect of the war will catch my interest next, my own answer is everything the budget, the shelves, the hard drive, and the wife, will bear. This includes some sources which are really badly done since the question may be "why are some sources badly done?". I couldn't read everything in my possession in three life-times, but keep it so that when a question bothers me I have a good chance at accessing an answer(s). And when I can't find it, there is the forum and friends. Ask yourself what you want out of your collection, and that is your answer.

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  • terrorerebus
    replied
    Books of note in my library:

    -Shelby Footes three part narrative
    -American Uyleses
    -Emory Thomas Lee Bio
    -Civil War Times photographic civil war history (two parts)
    -American Heritage Civil War
    -Pullens 20th Maine

    Probably have another 20 books I've never really opened...also have regimental histories from ancestors.

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  • R.N. Armstrong
    replied
    Neither of us will be around long enough to see if Foote gained immortality through the arts.
    Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 07 Nov 19, 16:13.

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  • Massena
    replied
    We'll have to agree to disagree on Foote. Some of the things he said regarding the size of battles in the Civil War demonstrate a total ignorance of European warfare of the period and before. You really cannot understand American warfare, especially for the Civil War without a working knowledge of European warfare from at least 1700 onwards. And Foote clearly demonstrated that he had no idea and that detracts from his work. That is why he is an unreliable historian, or more to the point, no historian at all.

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  • R.N. Armstrong
    replied
    Originally posted by Massena View Post

    Shelby Foote by his own admission was a novelist. I once bought his trilogy but got rid of it after reading it and hearing Foote's comments in Burns' documentary. In my opinion, Foote is unreliable as a historian and should not be used as a reference. Catton may be older, but he is much more reliable and is an excellent historian-Foote is not.
    Shelby Foote's trilogy is an artful narrative history which I believe will be carried in time much like Thucydides' Peloponnesian War.

    Catton was old enough that early in his life he talked with and heard the stories of veterans from the Civil War which probably sparked his drive to study and write about the war with a realistic perspective from the soldiers' point of view.

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  • midaeu
    replied
    I have two bookcases of over 150 books and get more all the time. I buy what catches my eye. When I was younger I bought a lot of Catton books, but My very first was Chancellorsville, Lee's greatest victory by Stackpole. I spent my teen years thinking the war in the east was the whole war. I learned and now I am buying on the Western theater. I also have the major histories by Foote,etc.
    My pride and joy though is a first edition 4 volume biography of Robert E Lee by Freeman that my grandfather gave me in 1970. I did not realize the value, not monetary, of these books until I was much older.
    .

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  • R.N. Armstrong
    replied
    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 have well over a 100 books on the Civil War, mainly on certain battles and commanders, and try to keep the Civil War (much like the Napoleonic wars) at an arms length because it is can be so time and resource consuming. I could not hazard a guess on the number of books for a well-balanced collection, since there is always new sources or reinterpretations of sources in new books that would have to be read for a critical judgment.

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  • Massena
    replied
    Originally posted by daddut roger View Post
    From Catton, I have the French edition (1983), of the adaptation made by the author himself of "Centennial History of the Civil War" ...
    In French, I also have a (1991) edition of McPherson's "Battle Cry of Freedom"; and published in 2011, Keegan's "The American Civil War _ A Military History" ...
    Be careful of Keegan. He's one author I pay little attention to as he makes too many errors, especially in his book on the Civil War.

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  • daddut roger
    replied
    A book I like a lot: Mark Swanson's "Atlas of the Civil War _ Month by Month"

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  • daddut roger
    replied
    From Catton, I have the French edition (1983), of the adaptation made by the author himself of "Centennial History of the Civil War" ...
    In French, I also have a (1991) edition of McPherson's "Battle Cry of Freedom"; and published in 2011, Keegan's "The American Civil War _ A Military History" ...

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  • bill shack
    replied
    I have about 200 civil war books, my favorites are catton, burke, and wheeler. I do agree that foote is not a true historian.

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  • D1J1
    replied
    My favorite of those in my library is "The Gettysburg Campaign" by E. Coddington. I had to look a long time, through many, many used book sales before finding a copy.

    Regards,
    Dennis

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  • Massena
    replied
    It's an excellent book. It was my first one also as a Christmas gift from my brother.

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  • daddut roger
    replied
    Numérisation_20191029.png my very first purchase with Bruce Catton's The AMERICAN HERITAGE Picture History of THE CIVIL WAR

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  • Massena
    replied
    Originally posted by American87 View Post

    I never said Foote denigrated the South; I was also referring to his comments in Ken Burns' documentary, not to his trilogy.
    Shelby Foote by his own admission was a novelist. I once bought his trilogy but got rid of it after reading it and hearing Foote's comments in Burns' documentary. In my opinion, Foote is unreliable as a historian and should not be used as a reference. Catton may be older, but he is much more reliable and is an excellent historian-Foote is not.

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