Category Books

Decisions at Gettysburg

This book by Matt Spruill details nineteen decisions he identifies as crucial to the outcome of the Gettysburg campaign. The first decision he analyzes is Lee’s decision to begin the campaign and go north. “Essentially, he had four options. He could remain on the defense in Virginia, conduct tactical offensive operations against the Army of […]

We Have the War Upon Us

This book by Professor William J. Cooper gives his interpretation of the beginning of the Civil War. In his Preface, he tells us, “Slavery and the political issues surrounding it occupy a central place in my account. Yes, the war ended slavery, and to most Americans of today it was fought for that cause. The […]

Challenges of Command in the Civil War Volume 1: Generals and Generalship

This is the first volume of a two-volume collection of essays and lectures the late Dr. Richard J. Sommers delivered over his illustrious sixty-year career of scholarship. Here we have ten chapters distilling what Dr. Sommers learned over a lifetime of Civil War studies. He explains the setup in his Preface: “Some of these analyses […]

The U.S. Constitution and Secession

This book from Dr. Dwight Pitcaithley, the former Chief Historian of the National Park Service, contains primary sources regarding the secession crisis of 1860-1861. The documents include speeches in Congress, Declarations of Causes for Secession, reports of the US House of Representatives Committee of Thirty-three, the various proposals to amend the Constitution in order to […]

RIP Tony Horwitz

It saddens me to report the Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Tony Horwitz, who was the author of a terrific book about the Civil War’s continuing impact on modern times, Confederates in the Attic, the author of a book on John Brown and the Harpers Ferry Raid, Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War, […]

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

This book by Professor David W. Blight of Yale University recently won the Pulitzer Prize, and it’s well deserved. The book is richly researched and beautifully written. The book is a complete biography of Douglass. “Born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, a slave, in Talbot County, Maryland, in February 1818, the future Frederick Douglass was the […]

Thunder at the Gates

This book by Professor Douglas Egerton discusses three United States Colored Troops regiments, the 54th Massachusetts, the 55th Massachusetts, and the 5th Massachusetts Cavalry, which were real black soldiers in the Civil War, not the mythological ones pushed by confederate heritage apologists. Following the precept that the most interesting history writing is writing that reads […]