Hard to find or expensive Civil War books
By James Durney
Books are an integral part of our hobby. The more we read, the more we understand how little we know and how much more we need to read. Spouses threaten us with a fate worse than death as our library spills out of the book case(s). Each month, there is another must have book that manages to slip into our library. The following books while not impossible to find represent a major acquisition to a personal Civil War library.
When the Ripe Pears Fell: The Battle of Richmond, Kentucky by Dean W. Lambert published in 1966 by the Madison County Historical Society is an in-depth look at that battle in Madison County. This book is an example of the excellent work done by a hobbyist deeply involved with the subject.
Embattled Arkansas: The Prairie Grove Campaign of 1862 by Michael E. Banasik published in 1996 by Broadfoot Publishing Company is very rare. This is the definitive and for many years the only account of the Prairie Grove Campaign. Not the easiest book to read, it is one of the “WOW, you have that!” books in our hobby. I snapped my copy off the shelf in the Wilson’s Creek bookstore and only paid the publisher’s list price, about a third of the asking price.
Forrest at Brice’s Crossroads by Ed Bearss originated with Glenn Tucker was essentially redone by Bearss after his death. Relying heavily on the O.R. and other primary sources and documents, the author traces the period of Forrest’s activities from April to August 1864 with a special focus on the battle at Brice’s Crossroads. First published in 1979 and several times since, it is a classic.
Shiloh: Bloody April by Wiley Sword first published in 1974 and revised in 2001. Until the Cunningham book was the most complete Shiloh history on the market. This Morningside Bookshop publication may or may not be available from them. Amazon pricing, on the secondary market, varies from reasonable to outrageous. If you are buying this book, make sure it is the 2001 “Newly Corrected Edition”!
From 1979 to 1985, Stephen Z. Starr wrote a 3-volume history of the Union Cavalry in the Civil War. The series is available in paperback but the hardback books command a premium and are hard to assemble. The titles are: The Union Cavalry in the CIVIL War, Volume I: from Fort Sumter to Gettysburg, THE UNION CAVALRY IN THE CIVIL WAR, VOLUME II: THE WAR IN THE EAST FROM GETTYSBURG TO APPOMATTOX, 1863-1865 and The Union Cavalry in the Civil War: The War in the West, 1861-1865.
Available but expensive are two sets from Morningside Bookshop:
THE VICKSBURG CAMPAIGN SET (three VOLUMES) by Ed Bearss provides an exhaustive account of the fighting for the Mississippi’s primary fortress.
Bachelder’s History of the Battle of Gettysburg by John B. Bachelder is the correspondence Bachelder received from the officers and men of both armies, who fought at Gettysburg. This massive collection of letters fills 2,081 pages in three volumes.
Editor’s Note: Jim is a Top 500 Amazon.com reviewer.
Check out Brett’s list of the Top 10 Civil War Blogs!
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