Top 7 Shiloh Books: Shiloh Discussion Group Member vtclark

The recent Civil War Bloggers Top 10 Gettysburg Books list turned out well, so well that I immediately contacted the members of the Shiloh Discussion Group to see if they would join me in creating another combined list, this time of the Top 7 Shiloh books, which will appear this August at TOCWOC on a permanent page designed for this eventSDG members have been posting their lists of the Top 7 Shiloh books over the last month with a deadline of August 1.   The following is SDG group member vtclark’s list of the Top 7 Shiloh Books.

I guess I will list my top seven books. I have to admit, I’ve been quite lax in my academic study of the Western Theater. However, I am quickly catching up.

Most of the books that I will mention are ones that I’ve either used in the classroom, or have found to be productive resources for all – from the academic to the casual reader.

1.        Wakefield, J.F. (Ed.). 1999. Battle of Shiloh (Incidents of the Civil War series). Honors Press.
This volume from the “Incidents in the American Civil War” series contains the edited battle reports of two Confederate and two Union officers who participated in the Battle of Shiloh in 1862. Includes etching, drawing, maps, photographs, and endnotes. Rather than reading the entire list of reports in the WORS, college students can access the most important documents related to the battle and its outcome. This series includes other significant battles of the Civil War.

2.       Rich, J.W. (2007). The Battle of Shiloh (1911 Reprint ed.). Kessinger Publishing Company. The memoirs of a member of the Twelfth Iowa Regiment that fought at Shiloh. This was a hard to find book until the reprint in 2007. I’ve found that upper – level graduate students are better equipped to read this memoir. Undergrads seem to struggle with the proper use of the English language that existed in the early 20th century.

3.       Smith, T.B. (2008). Untold story of Shiloh: The battle and the battlefield. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press.
This work is a collection of essays regarding the battle, its aftermath, and the historiography that has transpired since the end of the war. I am particularly fond of this book because it is rooted in solid historigraphical content.

4.       Luvaas, J., Bowman, S., & Fullenkamp, L. (Eds.). (1996). The U. S. Army War College guide to the battle of Shiloh. Topeka, KS: University of Kansas Press.
Eyewitness accounts by battle participants make these guides an invaluable resource regardless if you are traveling or sitting in your easy chair at home. Explicit directions (if you are traveling), points of interest and maps—illustrating the action and showing the detail of troop position, roads, rivers, elevations, and tree lines as they were 130 years ago. It’s important to note that this book is part of the U.S. Army War College Guides to Civil War Battles series. Some of the other guides in this series are excellent as well.

5.       Woodworth, S.E. (Ed.). The Shiloh campaign. (2009). Southern Illinois University Press.
Students of the battle of Shiloh! This is one of the most comprehensive guides to the battle of Shiloh that’s been published in years. Top notch historians convey the battle in rich detail. It’s an impressive piece of the “Civil War Campaigns in the Heartland” series, which has a few more works that have yet to be published.

The last two that I would consider on my top seven have already been listed:

6.       Shiloh:  Bloody April by Wiley Sword (1988).
7.       This Great Battlefield of Shiloh:  History, Memory, and the Establishment of a Civil War National Military Park by Timothy B. Smith (2004).

So, there you have it – my top seven.

Violet Clark


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