Adult Booklists


American Civil War Fiction

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Bright Starry Banner
by Alden R. Carter Details
Over a very short time -- December 31, 1862 through January 2, 1863 -- Union and Confederate soldiers clashed in what was one of the bloodiest Civil War battles ever fought. Despite this, the Battle of Stones River in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, is nearly forgotten today. Carter revives the action through a series of vignettes, which he re-created by reading journal entries of actual participants like writer Ambrose Bierce.
Cold Mountain
by Charles Frazier Details
A wounded Confederate soldier leaves the war on an arduous trek to his mountain home and the woman he aims to marry. Meanwhile, his intended struggles to work her deceased father's hardscrabble farm. Depicts hardship, peril, and courage in the wartime South. Strong language and violence.
Ghost Riders
by Sharyn McCrumb Details
When her husband signs up with the Confederates, malinda Blalock disguises herself as his brother and joins him. After they scheme to get discharged, they turn into outlaws on the opposite side. Their story intertwines with that of Zebulon Vance, a mountain boy who becomes North Carolina's governor, and a present-day tale about ghosts appearing on the battlefield of a Civil War re-enactment.
Gods and Generals
by Jeff Shaara Details
Shaara depicts the onset of the Civil War up to the Battle of Gettysburg. The story is told primarily through the lives of Stonewall Jackson, Winfield Scott Hancock, Joshua Chamberlain, and Robert E. Lee. Describes significant battles fought at Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg.
Gone with the Wind
by Margaret Mitchell Details
A romantic Civil War epic in which Scarlet O'Hara, a forceful and ruthless heroine, and Rhett Butler, a war profiteer, play out their tempestuous love affair against the background of the war-torn South. This classic novel won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937.
Guns of Valverde
by P.G. Nagle Details
The Confederates of Texas, crushed by their defeat at Glorieta Pass, see a way to regain some ground by stealing Union artillery at the Battle of Valverde. Jamie Russell, a Confederate quartermaster taken prisoner by Alastar O'Brien, plans a way to get the artillery back to Texas. Wounded, Jamie is nursed back to health by Laura Howland, who is in love with his captor.
Jacob's Ladder: A Story of Virginia During the War
by Donald McCaig Details
In 1857 Virginia, Duncan Gatewood falls in love with Maggie, a light-skinned, thirteen-year-old female slave, but when his father finds out, he sells Maggie south along with her baby son Jacob. While Duncan is sent off to the Virginia Military Institute and ends up fighting for Lee, Maggie is rescued by the slave-master who sold her off, Silas Omohundru, who rescues her from a southern brotherl and marries her. In the meantime, a Gatewood slave who also loved Maggie runs away and joins the Northern army to take revenge against his former masters.
Killer Angels
by Jeff Shaara Details
It's July 1863 and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia is invading the North. General Robert E. Lee has made this daring and massive move with seventy thousand men in a determined effort to draw out the Union Army of the Potomac and mortally wound it. Opposing them is an unknown factor: General George Meade, who has taken command of the Army only two days before what will be perhaps the crucial battle of the Civil War. In the four most bloody and courageous days of our nation's history, two armies fight for two conflicting dreams.
North and South
by John Jakes Details
This panoramic novel of two wealthy families tells the story of aristocratic slave-owning Mains of Carolina and the Hazards, industrialists from Pennsylvania. The lives of the two families are intertwined when their sons meet as West Point cadets and become fast friends. But the families, their fortunes, and their friendship are severely tried by the impending Civil War.
Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All
by Allan Gurganus Details
Lucy Marsden was born in 1885 and married at fifteen to Captain Marsden, 36 years her senior. Now 99 and living in a charity rest home, she chatters volubly and with blunt humor about her nine children, her husband's memories of the Civil War and his bitterness at the loss of his best friend, sharecroppers, and Lincoln and Lee.
On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon
by Kaye Gibbons Details
Emma Garnet recounts her life story spanning the Civil War. She contends with a vexatious father, but is championed by Clarice, a free black housekeeper. Escaping her Southern plantation upbringing by marrying a Northern doctor, Emma's happiness is cut short by wartime horrors. Some strong language.
Only Call Us Faithful
by Marie Jakober Details
As Miss Elizabeth ("Liza") Van Lew discovers, it isn't easy being a Union sympathizer in Richmond, Virginia, the heart of the Confederacy, in 1861. After her death, Liza's ghost reveals the important role she played during the Civil War. Ever loyal to her country, Liza organizes a Union spy ring that manages to run successfully until the war's end. Although her anti-slavery feelings are well known to the general populace, it proves impossible for the rebels to catch her.
Red Badge of Courage
by Stephen Crane Details
Henry Fleming, a young country boy, enthusiastically enlists with the Union army during the Civil War. Wanting to prove himself a hero, but experiencing shock and fear on the battlefront, he finally revives his courage and self-respect in a crucial advance.
The Battle of Milroy Station
by Robert H. Fowler Details
The Battle of Milroy Station never happened, but in Fowler's version, it very well might have. At the beginning of the war in an unnamed Confederate state, Andrew Jackson Mundy, aide-de-camp of General Evan Martin, discovers the length to which his superior officer will go to obtain battlefield fame. These events haunt him many years later, when Mundy is asked to become the running mate of William McKinley in the 1896 presidential election. The reason he turns down this honor has to do with General Martin's past actions, which are gradually revealed.
The Crossing
by Will Henry Details
Lieutenant Jud Reeves, a well-bred grandson of Southern generals, joins the Confederate campaign to secure the southwestern territory in 1861. He encounters an embattled frontier contested by Union soldiers and Apaches avenging their stolen homelands.
The Exile
by Richard S. Wheeler Details
Banished to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) for his role in inciting the Irish to rebel against the English in 1848, Thomas Francis Meagher escapes and makes his way to New York. There he gets caught up in corrupt Tammany Hall politics and joins with other Irish to fight in the Union Army. Meagher is ruined and disillusioned by the war, and Andrew Johnson appoints him to be acting governor of the Montana Territory. There he faces even harsher conditions.
The Way to Bright Star
by Dee Brown Details
At the turn of the century, Ben Butterfield looks back on his years as a young boy during the Civil War. Along with wagon master John Hawkes, Ben and animal handler Hadjee drive two camels captured by a Yankee captain from Texas to Bright Star, Indiana. They encounter many hardships, and Ben loses his heart to a young adventurer.
To Make Men Free
by Richard Croker Details
This is another vigorous fictional portrait of a Civil War battle, this time Antietam (September 17, 1862). Known as the bloodiest day in American history, when over 22,000 men died, Antietam brought the Union the victory it so desperately needed. The Union success also tied in directly to Lincoln's famous Emancipation Proclamation.
White Doves at Morning
by James Lee Burke Details
New Iberia, Louisiana, during the Civil War and Reconstruction is the setting for this traditional historical. Willie Burke, the author's ancestor, loyally defends his homeland by fighting for the Confederacy, reluctantly so. Interacting with him are Abigail Dowling, a Massachusetts native and abolitionist; Flower, a slave whom Willie teaches to read; and Ira Jamison, a southern plantation owner who is also Flower's father.
Updated 11/16/2011
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