LSU Press Civil War Titles 40% Off Until June 25

Baton Rouge—Hundreds of fascinating Civil War titles can be yours at a 40% discount until June 25. This offer includes classic hardcover and paperback titles, as well as new releases like Alfred C. Young III’s “Lee’s Army during the Overland Campaign” with a foreword by Gordon C. Rhea. For the Civil War buff and historian this is a great opportunity to affordably deepen your understanding and broaden your library. Through this offer only you can also buy the newly released, commemorative boxed set “Generals in Blue and Gray” at 20% off! Visit www.lsupress.org to discover more Civil War titles at up to 40% off. Order online at http://bit.ly/LSUPCW or call 800.848.6224 and use the code 04CIVILWAR.

This limited-time offer includes titles like “Lincoln and McCellan at War” by Chester G. Hearn, Mark Stegmaier’s “Henry Adams in the Secession Crisis,” and new releases like David C. Keehn’s “Knights of the Golden Circle” and Linda Barnickel’s “Milliken’s Bend.”  Visit our site through this link to explore more titles: http://bit.ly/LSUPCW.

All purchases require immediate payment and are non-refundable and cannot be combined with any other offers. Excludes reference titles.

Welcome to our newest writer

I would like to welcome Walter Coffey, author and blogger, who has his own Civil War blog as well as a general history blog. He will be doing some guest posting, largely focusing on anniversaries, as his latest book chronicles the war on a monthly basis. If you are looking for a month-by-month look at the war, consider his new book The Civil War Months. Welcome to the blog Walter!

Considering the top Civil War books written

Hats off to fellow scholar and blogger Bill Caraher for letting me know about this article from Salon.com. By the way, if you are even remotely interested in the ancient world and/or archaeology, check out his blog and follow him on Twitter.

The Salon article deals with the sesquicentennial of the Civil War and encourages buffs of the conflict to read a book a month for the next year and offers a list of the top 12 books on the war. I found the selections rather telling, as many were works of popular history. However, three stood out as strong works that have great influence on the historiography of the war. Among them are David Blight’s Race and Reunion, Drew Gilpin Faust’s This Republic of Suffering, and James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom, all are hard-hitting monographs. The interesting observation, which Bill posed to me in a question, was that Bruce Catton’s A Stillness at Appomattox landed at number one on the list. Some may wonder, why Catton?

I believe that this is an interesting placement, and am surprised that Shelby Foote did not make the list. Catton produced some great works on the war and are deserving of high placement on must read lists. He wrote around the time of the centennial of the war and still resonates within the literature. While I generally agree with the list, I am left wondering how professional historians would alter this list. So, I leave fellow scholars with a challenge that I will also dwell upon and post. What twelve books should folks interested in the war read each month over the next year?

I hope you have all had a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season and I wish you all a Happy New Year. Until next time, keep researching and writing.

Another great book sale from Indiana University Press

Indiana University Press is once again offering a great sale on many of their titles, including the Civil War. Their Spring Sale offers some titles, even hardcovers, up to 80% off. The sale will end on June 30, so get on over there and expand your library. Enter the code WWEZXX to receive the sale prices.

My favorite Civil War books

Even though I did not win the contest held by Brett over at TOCWOC, I thought I would post my submission here and let you all see what some of my favorite Civil War books are. This will also be posted on TOCWOC, at which time I will post a link. I have also volunteered myself as a guest contributor to TOCWOC, as I always like to take on opportunities. I would encourage my readers to consider writing for here and inquiring to TOCWOC. So, without further fanfare, here are my favorite books:

5. Rifles for Watie by Harold Kieth-This was one of the first Civil War related books that I remember reading as a child, as well as one of the longest at that time. I had been interested in the War Between the States for a few years before, having visited several reenactment events, but had never really read a book on it. I first encountered Rifles for Watie when I was in seventh grade and began reading it. I was immediately engrossed in the story of a young Kansas farm boy named Jefferson Davis Bussey who was drawn into the Civil War by youthful excitement and naïveté as well as a desire to see a world beyond the farm. The book takes the reader on a thrilling journey through the war in the Trans-Mississippi west. The reader experiences the early days in camp learning to be a soldier, to major battles like Wilson’s Creek and Pea Ridge, and great back stories, which included a romance between Bussey and a young Cherokee girl from a pro-Confederate family, a long-standing feud between Bussey and Asa Clardy (Bussey’s first commanding officer, who later turns out to be a traitor and is similar in many ways to the Corporal Bent character of North and South), and a spy story. In short, this book is a great first read for kids in late elementary and middle school to get started with, but is also a great book for older readers looking for a great plot and a topic not usually written about.

4. Writing the Civil War: the Quest to Understand Edited by James McPherson and William J. Cooper-Though not really intended for a general audience, this book is on my list because of its value to me personally. It aided me greatly in writing my thesis and is a must for Civil War scholars. The book contains a collection of essays dealing with the historiography of various subjects relating to the war. Specifically, the essay dealing with Civil War soldiers was quite helpful in identifying sources for my own research. This book is a must have for historians of the war.

3. Mr. Lincoln’s Brown Water Navy by Gary Joiner-This book is one of the more recent works on my list, but just because it is a newer work does not mean it is not a great book. Author Gary Joiner presents wonderful research into an overlooked area of the Civil War. The book focuses on the fleet of gunboats that patrolled the Mississippi and its tributaries for the Union. I found it quite interesting, as it was my first foray into Civil War naval history. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the naval history of the war as well as the Western Theater.

2. Gettysburg, Grant Comes East, Never Call Retreat by Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen-In trying to decide my favorite books, I could not devote three spaces to each of these works, as it would take away from other influential works, and, they are a trilogy. Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen combined their talents to produce one of the best alternative history series on the war. The trilogy begins with a Confederate victory at Gettysburg, which is followed by the ascension of Grant to command of all Union armies, which follows the actual war, as well as the destruction of the Army of the Potomac. In the final book, the armies of Grant and Lee engage in a great battle. I will let you read the books to find out who wins. I highly recommend these books for anyone interested in alternative history. They combine wonderful character development, great plot, and exceptional detail that makes you feel as if you are there.

1. The Story of a Common Soldier by Leander Stillwell-Leander Stillwell’s memoir is one of the more well-known primary sources from an ordinary soldier in the war. It is also my favorite Civil War book. The biggest reason for it being at the top of my list is because of the connection I share with Stillwell. He was born and raised in Jersey County, Illinois, which is where I originally hale from. Stillwell’s memoir gives me a greater appreciation for the war and my home, as I can take pride in the sacrifices of the men from my area during the war. The memoir is also one of the more detailed ones, especially from a soldier of the Western Theater. This book was integral to my thesis and will always be a treasured part of my library. I recommend anyone looking for a great memoir from a common soldier read The Story of a Common Soldier.