Books About the Civil War by Various Authors

c.2024, various publishers       
$29.00 – $32.00       
various page counts

By Terri Schlichenmeyer
The Truth Contributor

You’re already familiar with the argument.

Chances are, in this contentious climate we live in, you know what it’s like to have a fractured family, or to have to defend your beliefs. So this summer, read about a period in history when war rent the country, pitted brother against brother, righted a very large wrong, and left scars on the land, on people, and on families…

Sometimes, history is in the details and in Voices from Gettysburg by Allen C. Guelzo (Kensington, $29.00), you’ll read a day-by-day, person-by-person account of what is arguably the most influential battle of the Civil War.

Using real letters written by prisoners, soldiers, and others who were at Gettysburg on those days in July 1863, you’ll get an intimate sense of what it was like to be on the battlefield or near it. Filled with authentic voices, maps, and other documents, this is a puts-you-in-the-action kind of book that you won’t be able to put down.

At some point in your lifetime, you’ve undoubtedly read or learned something about Harriet Tubman. In your mind, she may seem invincible, like some sort of being with superpowers, due to her bravery during the Civil War and the lives she helped ferry to freedom. In Night Flyer: Harriet Tubman and the Faith Dreams of a Free People by Tiya Miles (Penguin Press, $30), you’ll learn that some of what you think you know are myths, and that there’s actually so much more to Tubman’s life and actions.

It’s true that Tubman helped free hundreds of people but this book explores more, including the environment that nurtured her and the relationships she had with the women she helped, and others. We get a fresher, deeper look at the person Tubman was, allowing readers to learn more about the spiritual life that soothed her in times of trouble. That alone might offer inspiration for today’s sojourners.

And finally, if you’d like a little bit of surprise with your summertime reading, reach for Wide Awake: The Forgotten Force that Elected Lincoln and Spurred the Civil War by Jon Grinspan (Bloomsbury, $32).

Despite what you may think, the elections we’ve seen lately in this country weren’t the most contentious: at the beginning of the 1860 political season, a bunch of young Northerners, both men and women, Black and white, began organizing on behalf of antislavery speakers and abolitionists. They called themselves the Wide Awakes and during the election, they became a political force to be reckoned with. It’s possible, says Grinspan, that the Wide Awakes were one of the major catalysts for the War. This book packs the action in, and it’ll show you that history can be full of surprises.

If these books merely whet your appetite for more, you’re in luck: there are literally thousands and thousands of books about the Civil War available. All you have to do is ask your favorite bookstore or librarian for help, and they can put the book you want directly in your hands, without a single argument.