22 Best Civil War Books

Many books about the American Civil War, but this list of top 30 is an excellent place to start. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it should give you an idea of some books that might interest you.

List of Best 22 Books on Civil War

This book by Bruce Catton is one of the essential books for readers interested in learning about the various aspects and components of the American civil war. This deeply researched book has a wealth of information to offer, giving its readers a detailed account that covers almost every aspect related to the civil war from generals down to private soldiers, politics right through to finance and slavery, as well as other topics such as medicine which was another essential part of this tragic event.

This book gives you an insight into how it felt like to be at different levels during real war, making it seem very real due to all these details being highlighted by Bruce Catton throughout his work.

In this book, you will learn everything you need to know about the war. It focuses on political and military aspects and covers social issues like slavery, race relations, class differences among white people living in the North or South.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to read an overview of all significant events leading up to and including one of our country’s biggest wars. This is a great starting point if you are new to reading about civil war history!

This Pulitzer Prize-winning author has created many best-selling books throughout his career covering various topics related closely to American History.

This book by Margaret Mitchell is a classic book that has been called the best piece of American fiction ever released. This novel, published in 1936 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, tells about Scarlett O’Hara’s life during and after the Civil War through an unapologetic depiction of Southern society in decline.

Another great book by Bruce Catton, this nonfiction novel follows the final year of the American Civil War.

This is one of the best books ever published about the civil war, and I feel like everyone should read it. I mean, come on, people, it’s only over 300 pages but reads in a flash!

This book took home the Pulitzer Prize for history back in 1954. This was just another historical event where the American public fought each other to decide who got what power. The South wanted their state so they could have slaves, while others thought having slaves was wrong. You know that saying, ‘The more things change, well you get my point.

If you’re looking for a classic book to read on the Civil War, then A House Divided by David Potter is your best bet.

This book offers readers an in-depth look into what life was like for the army and civilians alike during this tumultuous period, detailing the choices they made along with their reactions to overall events of the war. The author’s writing style will keep you engaged from start to finish as he highlights important people and places while providing background information that adds context for how or why something happened.

A perfect blend of history and storytelling makes this a must-read book about one of America’s most significant conflicts!

6. The Killer Angels; From Gettysburg to a Different Kind of Peace,” Michael ShaaraThe Fiery Trial, Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner

This is also a great book worth your time. The book covers the critical years of Lincoln’s life and presidency, his abolitionist politics before he was elected President, how slavery became central to the Civil War (an issue Lincoln always opposed), and finally, on April 15th, 1865, when Lee surrenders at Appomattox.

7. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane 

This excellent civil war book by Stephen Crane is a classic that undermines the romantic notion of war by asserting its horrific nature. It contrasts itself with traditional stories about battles, mostly told in terms of honor and glory where there are clear heroes and villains.

This book’s protagonist Henry Fleming believes he has finally found what he wants to do for his life when he enlists into battle but then later realizes that this was not true at all after having fled from danger multiple times during an actual fight. Eventually, it transforms him into a hardened veteran who no longer cares about either side winning because both sides have bloodied each other beyond reason resulting in nothing more than chaos.

8. The Art of War

This is another excellent book still used today by many businesses, sports teams, and even politicians. Sun Tzu was a soldier who wrote this book to ensure his fellow soldiers would be victorious during wartime and now for future leaders. He believed if you know your enemy and yourself, then victory will follow you no matter what the circumstances are or how difficult it may seem at first glance. Whether we want to admit it or not, we all need an advantage, so why not take something from history that has worked before? This book can give anyone insight on how to be a better leader and person while also learning about history.

9. Lincoln and Civil Liberties

Last on the list is this exciting book about the relationship between Lincoln and civil liberties. The author argues that many of Lincoln’s policies would be considered unconstitutional today, but at the time, they were necessary to keep the union together during a period of crisis. This is one book you should check out.

10. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

The book is set in the post-war period after the Union victory and Confederate defeat. The story is based on a wounded soldier named Willem Monroe, who returns to Cold Mountain, North Carolina, during this time. His journey home amidst many hardships, including war prisoners, morphine addiction, prostitution, etc.

This book gives readers an insight into what life was like for women living without men at that point in history. Women had to find ways of making money by working as prostitutes or farmers, which you do not see very often in books about the civil war era (The Guns Of Gettysburg).

This book won numerous awards, such as National Book Award Medalist and Pulitzer Prize winner. It has also been made into a movie with Jude Law and Nicole Kidman.

This book is a must-read for those who want to know more about life during the civil war era and how America has evolved since then. Other books written by Charles Frazier include Cold Mountain, Thirteen Moons (National Book Award Winner), Nightwoods, and The Thanatos Syndrome.

11. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Another great book on the list is Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. This book follows the lives and trials of Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet members to show how their relationships grew into working together to help the country through a hard time. It was later adapted for Steven Spielberg’s 2012 film, “Lincoln.”

12. Lincoln at Gettysburg by Garry Wills

If you’re looking for a book that will put you in the middle of Gettysburg, the Lincoln at Gettysburg by Garry Wills is an excellent place to start. I’ve read it multiple times and never get tired of learning more about what happened there from this historian’s perspective.

You’ll feel as if you’re walking around the battlefield with him as he describes each element—the landscape, people involved, thoughts going through their mind—as well as his thoughts on how we should remember those who died or were wounded during the battle. You might not have time to visit all of these places but having a map makes it easier for your imagination to take over when reading his words!

13. A Separate Peace by John Knowles

This is also another one of the top civil war books that you’ll enjoy. Knowles tells a story about two boys attending an exclusive boarding school in New England during World War II, describing their relationship and their very different personalities.

This book is not just for people interested in reading something related to the Civil War and slavery but even if you don’t want to read it because of this reason, maybe consider giving it a chance! You may find yourself surprised by what you get out of this book, after all.

14. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

This remarkable book was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe and was published in 1852. This book is fiction, but it tells what life would have been like during slavery times. It’s an excellent read, one that should be found on everyone’s bookshelf.

15. Through My Eyes by Oprah Winfrey, 1964-1990s (young adult)

This excellent book by Oprah Winfrey is about her life growing up in Mississippi. The book starts with the time when she was born and went through all of her childhood memories. This allows readers to see how different it was for her compared to what we would experience today as children, especially living far away from our parents during that period.

I think this is an excellent read for anyone who wants an easy-going memoir or likes reading books by celebrities because you do not have to be interested in the civil war at all!

If You Survive: Stories of American Youth Who Fought During Vietnam War (young adult)

This book talks about six young men who fought during the Vietnam War and their experiences before, during, and after combat situations. The book is written by various authors, each telling their own stories about the war.

This is a great read not because it talks specifically about the civil war but because of how much you can learn from hearing different perspectives on combat or what soldiers do when they are back home between missions. If I recommended anything to someone who wants to hear more personal accounts of this period in history, this would be it!

16. 1984 by George Orwell 

In this book, Winston Smith’s protagonist lives in a totalitarian society where all citizens are constantly watched and controlled by an ultra-powerful government.

The main character, Winston Smith, is a member of the Outer Party: people who work to maintain Big Brother’s rule. He works at the Ministry of Truth, which changes history according to whatever Big Brother wants it to be.

If we think about Orwell’s book as an analog for Trump times, then this book becomes even more relevant than when written in 1949. It shows how political power can control our thinking and minds if we believe something different from reality. 1984 was not set in some distant future, but much closer makes this one terrifying read after another election day (Trump won).

17. Johnny Reb and Billy Yank by Bell Irvin Wiley

This is also another great book that every Civil War reader needs to read. The book is written to give the reader an inside look at both Johnny Reb and Billy Yank. The book is full of information about battles, strategies, uniforms, and equipment used by both armies during the American Civil War.

This is one of my favorite books because it shows what life was like for soldiers from each side. It also talks about many great leaders involved with this war, such as Robert E Lee, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas J Jackson, Ulysses S Grant.

The author does his best to give you a complete view of not only how things work behind enemy lines but at home too! This means he looks into how the economy worked during the period, prices of food items, etc…You will be able to understand better what life was like during the 1860s and 70s.

This book is perfect for people interested in knowing more about how soldiers lived day to day, not just their battles! It will give you an inside look into two sides fighting: Johnny Reb and Billy Yank.

18. The Civil War by Shelby Foote

Like many other books on this list, The Civil War gives readers information from both sides while remaining unbiased. This allows the reader to gain insight into why certain decisions were made while learning different strategies used by each side. In addition, it also tells stories of ordinary men who played important roles in some of America’s most famous wars, such as Bull Run or Antietam. It has been said that Shelby Foote’s book is considered a literary masterpiece.

19. The Civil War by Geoffrey C Ward and Ken Burns

This book was written as a companion to the PBS series that aired in 1990 called The Civil War, produced by Ken Burns. This book contains information from over 125 sources but has been organized into an easy-to-read format for readers who want to learn more about America’s most devastating war! It contains anecdotes of soldiers on the battlefields and insight into political figures such as Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis.

20. This Hallowed Ground by Bruce Catton

This is also another good book for people just starting on a journey to learn about the Civil War. The Battle of Gettysburg was one of the most important battles in history, explained well by this author.

This book also won an award from 1955-1956 as one of “The Best Books For Young Readers.” This would be a great place to start reading if you have children interested in learning more about American History.

21. Gods and Generals by Jeff Shaara

In this book, Shaara tells a story of the Civil War from both sides. The book provides historical insight into how and why the war was fought and details that help readers understand what it might have been like for soldiers on each side of this terrible conflict.

22. Stars on Their Shoulders

Many readers also enjoy the Stars on Their Shoulders series by Joseph R. Reinhart, which is about the real soldiers and battles of the Civil War. It follows a group of men from their first enlistment in 1861 to 1863 as they become officers and go through various brigades. The books occurred before McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign, which was led against Richmond during 1862-1863 after Chancellorsville until Lee retreated into Virginia following Gettysburg at the end of book three.


In conclusion, the civil war has been written about countless times and will continue to be well-written. The books listed above are some of my favorites, but I’m sure there is a book out there for everyone! Many well-known authors wrote famous novels during that period. If you’re looking for a specific book, chances are there is at least one about the civil war. The best place to start would be these top 22 books!


How many books have been written about the civil war?

Many books have been published about the civil war. Many of these are novels, but there is a great deal of non-fiction as well.

What is the most accurate book on American history?

One of the most accurate books on American history is the diary of David Oliphant. He was a confederate soldier in the civil war, and his accounts are filled with insight into what it was like to be there at that time.

What is the most comprehensive book on the Civil War?

The most comprehensive book on the American civil war is The Encyclopedia of Civil War Medicine. It has thousands of entries, making it an invaluable resource for anyone interested in this historical period.

Where can I find good books about the civil war?

One place to look for good literature about the American Civil War is your local library or bookstore. You could also browse online at sites like Amazon or Barnes and Noble to get a sense of which titles are available right now.

What is one interesting fact that I didn’t know about Civil War Books?

During America’s civil war, the most popular genre was poetry – people loved reading poems written by soldiers who were fighting in battle! Many men wrote their thoughts while they fought, even if they were illiterate and didn’t know how to write.

What is the best place for me to read about civil war books?

The easiest way to find good information on American civil war literature would be online, where there are many resources available at your fingertips. In particular, Wikipedia has a great deal of detailed work that goes into their pages and other sites like About Civil War Books.

Where can I find free book reviews or summaries?

Several websites offer either access to paid services or free book reviews. However, it’s crucial to look for one review and multiple opinions from different sources before you make up your mind! Sites like Goodreads give a great insight into what people think about popular titles, and a quick Google search will also help you find what you’re looking for.

What is the best way to get information about civil war books?

The easiest way to learn more about American Civil War literature would be to do an online search! Countless websites offer reviews, summaries, or even free access depending on your location – all it takes is one click of the mouse.

Can civil war books be something other than a war novel?

Civil war books can be all kinds of things. They don’t necessarily have to be a war novel, but if the civil war is a part of the story, then it should probably fall into one of these other genres as well.

Civil War Fiction: This genre has become very popular in recent years, and there are so many great books that readers will love. The best thing about this type is that you get an inside look at life during those times. You’ll discover fascinating facts and learn more than just reading textbooks or watching movies could teach you.
Historical fiction: Although this isn’t full-fledged historical fiction because it doesn’t include any specific historical events, we still wanted to give some credit since they occurred during that period.
Romance: This is an excellent way to round out the list because some great stories don’t include battles and other parts of warfare but still show what life was like during those times. They’re primarily set in the south, which makes sense since this is where most of them took place. Anyone can read these books, even if they aren’t fans of history since it’s all fiction anyway! You’ll find yourself captivated by their storylines as well as how things were back then for everyone involved. If you want something easy to read or need an escape from reality, try one of these romance novels next time you pick up your e-reader or head over to your local library.

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