I’ve taken the liberty of removing non-Civil War related books from the list. The books below are in the Civil War top 10 as of the mid-August 2008. Numbers in parentheses mark the book’s July 2008 rank in the top 10.
Note: Some of these are the Kindle edition. Kindle is Amazon’s handheld device for reading books electronically. Click on the link in the left sidebar for more information.
1. (1) Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Summary: Goodwin covers the “team” Abraham Lincoln put together to form his cabinet. Dimitri would dispute the validity of the term “team”.
2. (2) The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
Summary: Although obscure when initially written in the 1970s, Michael Shaara’s fictional account of Gettysburg has been a bestseller pretty much since the movie GETTYSBURG was released in 1993.
3. (6) Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave by Frederick Douglass
Summary: The autobiography of one of the most famous Abolitionists ever. I have not yet had the pleasure of reading this one.
4. (8) Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
Summary: Jacobs was a slave, and she chronicled her experiences in this book, released in 1861. Her attacks on slavery served to further educate the public as to the evils of the peculiar institution.
5. (-) Southern Storm: Sherman’s March to the Sea by Noah Andre Trudeau
Summary: Trudeau’s large new book on Sherman’s March burst onto the scene of the Civil War Top 10. I have a copy of this one and hope to review it in the near future.
6. (4) Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James M. McPherson
Summary: This has been the standard one volume history of the Civil War since its release.
7. (-) Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times by Donald T. Phillips and Donald Phillips
Summary: Oddly enough one of my best friends, someone not at all interested in the Civil War, read this book for a business class he was taking in college. I have not read the book, but he gave it high marks.
8. (10) Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War by Tony Horwitz
Summary: This is one book I’m genuinely sorry I haven’t yet had the chance to read. Horwitz, winner of a Pulitzer Prize for his foreign war correspondence work, here details Civil War re-enactors and the continuing hold the Civil War has on the American public.
9. (9) Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson
Summary: Swanson’s book covers the hunt for John Wilkes Booth in the days immediately following Lincoln’s assassination.
10. (5) This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust
Summary: Faust argues that 1860s America’s familiarity with death led to massive casualty rates, acceptable by those standards but appalling when looked at through today’s lens.
-. (3) The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage by Daniel Mark Epstein
Summary: I don’t know too much about this one other than that it covers Abe and Mary’s marriage, obviously. Would any readers care to share?
-. (7) Lincoln by David Herbert Donald
Summary: Donald’s biography of Lincoln is arguably the greatest ever written on our Sixteenth President.
I was a little surprised at how high Noah Andre Trudeau’s new book on Sherman’s March debuted. It will be interesting to see if it has staying power. Likewise I was more than a bit surprised at Drew Gilpin Faust’s book This Republic of Suffering dropping five spots. I thought it was on its way into the top three for a long time. I am pleased to see some movement in this list from month to month. As a result, I will definitely continue posting these lists for TOCWOC readers. Have you read all of these? If not, what are you waiting for? Check out the Amazon.com Top 10 Civil War books today!
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