Wolfner :: Recommended Readings :: Civil War Fiction

Civil War Fiction


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The Civil War era is one of the most fascinating in our nation's history. This list compiled by Cheryl Hassler, features some fiction titles that are set in this critical time in our history.

Armored Giants: A Novel of the Civil War by F. Van Wyck Mason.
A sweeping novel that resounds with the gallantry, treachery, and intrigue of the ironclad ship campaigns of the Civil War. The lives of convict and runaway, spy and journalist, and friend and lover ride on the dramatic combat of the armored giants. RC 17631.

The Barefoot Brigade by Douglas C. Jones.
In 1861 some raw, naive country boys enlist in the Confederate infantry, convinced they can help bring a quick end to the war. Ahead of them lie Antietam, Gettysburg, and the battles of the Wilderness. Comanche Indians series, Book 2. BR 5585.

The Blue and the Gray by John Leekley.
The Civil War pits a Southern farm family, the Geysers, against their Pennsylvania cousins, the Hales, who own a small town newspaper. A stirring account of their lives and their sacrifices on the battlefield. RC 19173.

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier.
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. RC 44762. Also available as a descriptive video, DV 517.

The Crossing by Will Henry.
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. Violence. RC 43839.

The Far Side of Home by Maggie Hill Davis.
A soldier in the Civil War can think of nothing but the fiasco of his wedding night and his desperate wish to make things right with his bride. That the granting of his wish also makes him a prisoner of the enemy gives him no concern at all. Strong language, some violence, and some descriptions of sex. RC 42353.

Gods and Generals by Jeff Shaara.
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. Civil War series, Book 1. RC 43292.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.
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. Pulitzer Prize. RC 33082, BR 11427. Also available as a descriptive video, DV 230.

The Crisis by Winston Churchill.
The South during the Civil War is the scene of a romantic novel which deals with the love of an antislavery New Englander for a Virginia girl who is committed to the Confederate cause. RC 24555.

Heaven and Hell by John Jakes.
This novel concludes the panoramic trilogy of the Mains and the Hazards, whose friendship, fortunes, and lives have been profoundly transformed by the Civil War. Now the war is over, but peace has not come in its wake. Civil War series, Book 3. Some strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex. RC 26028, BR 8384.

High Hearts by Rita Mae Brown.
This Civil War saga centers on the wartime experiences of Geneva Chatfield, who disguises herself as a boy and runs off to join her husband fighting on the Confederate side. In the process, Geneva discovers she can amount to something more than just a clinging vine. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. RC 23042.

The Last Full Measure by Jeff Shaara.
Shaara completes this father-son trilogy with this account of the final two years of the Civil War. Shaara depicts the growing confrontations between Lee and Grant, moving from the Battle of the Wilderness to Petersburg and finally to Appomattox. Civil War series, Book 3. Some violence. RC 46338.

Look Away by Harold Coyle.
Following the accidental death of a young woman for whom they both had an affection, James and Kevin Bannon are sent off to school. Because of the growing conflict between the North and South, their father sends one to Virginia while the other stays in New Jersey. As civil war breaks out, they find themselves facing one another in battle. James and Kevin Bannon series, Book 1. Some strong language. RC 44411.

Heaven and Hell by John Jakes.
This novel concludes the panoramic trilogy of the Mains and the Hazards, whose friendship, fortunes, and lives have been profoundly transformed by the Civil War. Now the war is over, but peace has not come in its wake. Civil War series, Book 3. Some strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex. RC 26028, BR 8384.

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara.
This fictionalized version of the battle of Gettysburg portrays many actual participants, such as Generals Lee, Longstreet, and Meade. Civil War series, Book 2. Some strong language. RC 45457.

North and South by John Jakes.
Panoramic novel of two wealthy families, the 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. Civil War series, Book 1. Some strong language. RC 17704, BR 8723.

Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All by Allan Gurganus.
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. Some strong language. RC 30984.

On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon by Kaye Gibbons.
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. RC 47320.

Proud New Flags by F. Van Wyck Mason.
Historical novel about the Confederate Navy in the Civil War. Seaman Sam Seymour follows his father into the navy, but leaves it for the Confederacy and falls in love with his brother's headstrong wife. RC 12386.

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane.
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. RC 22405, BR 13144.

Sapphira and the Slave Girl by Willa Cather.
In the period prior to the Civil War, Sapphira Colbert develops an irrational jealousy of one of her house servants, Nancy. Henry Colbert, Sapphira's husband, is fond of Nancy and does not take the matter seriously. Their daughter Rachel, however, decides to take matters into her own hands. Her decision changes Nancy's life forever. Some strong language. RC 45259, BR 11305.

Sons of Fire by Max McCoy.
The slavery issue first divides the Missouri Fenn family when they must decide whether or not to aid an injured fugitive slave. When the war breaks out, one brother immediately joins the Union army. But when Union violence is directed towards the remaining, neutral Fenns, each rebels in his or her own way. Before the war is over, the results of their rebellion includes imprisonment, dismemberment, and even death for some family members. Some strong language and violence. RC 36741.

The Stalking Horse by Miriam Grace Monfredo.
Seneca Falls, New York; 1861. Librarian Glynis Tryon's niece Bronwen joins Pinkerton's Detective Agency and is sent to Montgomery, Alabama. Undercover, Bronwen overhears a plot to assassinate newly elected president Abraham Lincoln in Baltimore. She escapes and telegraphs her aunt for help. Glynis Tryon series, Book 5. RC 52314.

The Way to Bright Star by Dee Brown.
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. BR 11903, RC 47647.