New to the Civil War? What do I tell “newbies” to read?

by Jim Lamason on September 15, 2007 · 0 comments

This is a question, that I think is a good one.

And in a way its a tough one to answer. When I got started, there was a far greater emphasis on reading then there is today. And there were well less things to do.

Also I sense that people in their teens don’t enjoy reading like I did. In my introduction I spoke of cutting my teeth on Bruce Catton. Now, some 40 plus years later, would I tell a parent of a 12, 13,14 year to read him? Well first of all unless you go to the library, or maybe a rare book store, his books have just about disappeared from the shelves.. Second, I don’t know if his writings now some what outdated, would hold a reader in their teens.

So what to tell a young person to read?

Landscape Turned Red is a good one. Even though now it has to be over 35 years old. But a good book for some one to get a sense of the Civil War.

James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom is large book to read.

There are several other authors out there. Steve Woodworth’s books. Any of them. Except maybe his one on the Union Army of the Tennessee.

Our own esteemed blogger here as several the are good short concise reads. Eric does a real good job in writing, and pulling you in. And to hold the readers attention.

So what do I recommend then?

I would look at it this way. The book has to be written well. Based on facts that can be collaborated by several sources and not just one or two sentences from A single source. It must read well. As I noted above in Eric’s books as an example. Does it teach? That’s a rare thought these days. Will it encourage the reader to do MORE reading?

I will be posting my favorite list of books in another blog entry along with a 2 part series on one of my favorite characters.

So happy reading to you all.

Jim


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