My Top 10 Books

by Jim Lamason on March 25, 2008 · 0 comments

I was rereading some of my earlier posts and noticed that I had promised my top ten list of books that I have read on the American Civil War.

Well we are going to do it “David’s” way and do the list from number 10 to number 1.

Here goes.

10.) A Little Short of Boats- James Morgan.

The story of the Battle of Balls Bluff. Until this book came out, whenever I came across the story of this battle, I would skip it after the first time I read about it. This book explains what happens at this Union Disaster, and Why it happened.

9.) The Iron Brigade by Alan Nolan.

The best book on one of the most storied units in the military history of the USA. It tells the story from the time of its forming till then end of the war, the formation of the original regiments which made up this unit through its baptism of fire and even through its climatic involvement on Day 1 at Gettysburg.

8.) Thomas Stonewall Jackson, by James Robertson. If you want to come to understand one of our most brilliant commanders, quirks and all, this is the book to read.

7.) The Gleam of Bayonets. – The battle of Antietam. by James Murfin

The best of the books on the bloodiest day in American History.

6.) This Hallowed Ground -Bruce Catton

The look at the American Civil War through the Northern point of view. The book I cut my Civil War teeth on.

5.) Remember you are Jersey Men! By Joe Bilby and Goble. Introduces us to every unit that served from New Jersey in the war.

4.) The Centennial Civil War Trilogy. Coming Fury, Terrible Swift Sword, and Never Call Retreat. By Bruce Catton.Shelby Foote is more famous trilogy is out there, but IMHO this is the best. Originally intended to be a series of articles for American Heritage Magazine it turned into the best series on the war. Now some what outdated because of the amount scholarship done since (This series was in written and published between 1961 and 1965), its still so very well written.

3.) Gettysburg- Day 2, The Battle for Cemetery and Culp’s Hill – Harry Pfanz.

If you want to get into specifics on these two most critical days in American History these two books by the one time Chief Historian of the Park, Harry Pfanz are a MUST have for every library.

2.) Covered with Glory. Rod Gragg. The story of the 26th North Carolina Regiment and its date with destiny at Gettysburg. The largest of the regiments in the Army of Northern Virginia at the time of the battle it tells its story from its first formation, to its march to the battle field. And then the battle itself. The bios on its Colonel Henry Burgywn and other officers will leave you drained, challenged and in awe.

1.) Plenty of Blame to go Around. J.D. Petruzzi and Eric Wittenberg. Though both of the authors are personal friends, that has no impact on my thoughts on this book. If you want to understand WHY Jeb Stuart did what he did in his monumental ride around the Army of the Potomac, why he was separated from the Army of Northern Virginia at its most critical time and truly who was at fault, this is a must have. Well written, thoroughly researched and documented, and with a riding tour of his line of march, its truly the best book I have EVER read on the American Civil War.


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