Free Library of Philadelphia
Home > Ask a Librarian > Browse or Search all FAQs > Civil War 150: Politics and Tactics
Where do I start? These lists of books are specially selected by our Librarians.
Civil War 150: Politics and Tactics
Military, Political and Social Aspects of the Civil War - Some of the best books on the military conduct of the Civil War and its political and social backdrop.
There Are 16 Items | Showing 1 to 10
Book Cover
Title: A Stillness at Appomattox
Author: Catton, Bruce
Publisher: Doubleday
ISBN: 0385044518
Call Number: 973.736 C297s2
Notes: An eloquent description of the last year of the War, with strong emphasis on the viewpoint of the common soldier.

Book Cover
Title: Lincoln
Author: Donald, David Herbert
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 0684808463
Call Number: 973.7092 L638do3
Notes: Donald has won two Pulitzer prizes for biography. This book is a masterly life, written from Lincoln's point of view, closely examining Lincoln's character and actions. Understanding Abraham Lincoln is essential to understanding the Civil War.

Book Cover
Title: This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War
Author: Faust, Drew Gilpin
Publisher: Alfred A Knopf
ISBN: 9780375404047
Call Number: 973.71 F275t
Notes: The Civil War was the most deadly in the Nation's history. The necessity of living day to day with anxiety, uncertainty, and horror led Americans to devise new ways of dealing with the physical suffering and psychological torment of this unprecedented struggle.

Book Cover
Title: Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: the Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War
Author: Foner, Eric
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0195094972
Call Number: 973.6 F732f
Notes: A well-regarded revision of the "irrepressible conflict" thesis, Foner emphasizes the relation between ideology and political behavior. Republicans embraced the Free Labor ideal, in which farmers, artisans and entrepreneurs rose or fell by their own efforts, and the national government maintained equality of opportunity for all and favor for none. The slave system proposed an utterly different model. Both systems, however, depended on territorial expansion in order to thrive.

Book Cover
Title: The Civil War : A Narrative
Author: Foote, Shelby
Publisher: Vintage Books
ISBN: 0394749138
Call Number: 973.7 F739c2
Notes: A massive, magisterial narrative of high literary value. Foote's portrayal of the battles, events and characters involved in this gigantic struggle is absolutely worth reading, although the reader must allow for Foote's biases.

Book Cover
Title: The Stars in Their Courses : The Gettysburg Campaign, June-July 1863
Author: Foote, Shelby
Publisher: Modern Library
ISBN: 0679601120
Call Number: 973.734 F739s
Notes: This small book is a self-contained part of Foote's magnificent three volume history. It is a history of the three days of battle and Lee's retreat. Written with Foote's customary grace, this is a great introduction to the history of the Civil War, as well as Foote's own writing.

Book Cover
Title: Personal Memoirs
Author: Grant, Ulysses S.
Publisher: Penguin Books
ISBN: 0140437010
Call Number: 973.8209 G767p2
Notes: The circumstances under which Grant undertook his memoirs are the background to heroism. Grant was deeply in debt -- debt he felt in honor constrained to repay -- and he had recently become mortally ill with throat cancer. He wanted to provide for his family, and thanks to Mark Twain who had recently founded his own publishing company, he was able to leave a comfortable amount. Grant himself wrote the most eloquent introduction to his memoirs: "When I put my pen to the paper I did not know the first word that I should make use of in writing the terms. I only knew what was in my mind and I wished to express it clearly, so that there could be no mistaking it."

Book Cover
Title: Sherman : A Soldier's Passion for Order
Author: Marszalek, James F
Publisher: Free Press
ISBN: 0029201357
Call Number: 973.7092 Sh56m2
Notes: Marszalek locates the source of Sherman's passion for order in the upheavals that followed the sudden death of his father. He grew up with a strong need for order that was satisfied by the army. Marszalek argues that Sherman came into his own while serving as military governor of Memphis, where he was able to restore order to the chaos by his own methods. Another important factor was his association with Grant. Grant's solid reliability gave Sherman ground to stand on, while he provided Grant with a dependable and conscientious subordinate.

Book Cover
Title: Battle Cry of Freedom
Author: McPherson, James
Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press
ISBN: 019516895x
Call Number: 973.73 M241b3
Notes: Acknowledged by general consensus to be the best one-volume survey of the Civil War and the period before the outbreak of war.

Book Cover
Title: Stonewall Jackson : the Man, the Soldier and the Legend
Author: Robertson, James I., jr.
Publisher: MacMillan
ISBN: 0028646851
Call Number: 973.7309 J139r
Notes: A highly readable biography of a shy, diffident, insecure young man who through self-discipline, tenacity and religious conviction became one of the greatest generals of the Civil War.