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Author: Henry Steele Commager

This one is a two Volume Set together in one volume—with Volume 1 starting with the nomination of Abraham Lincoln as President of the US and follows the events to the bloody three-day battle of Gettysburg, the highwater mark of the Confederacy. Volume 2 takes us from the aftermath of Gettysburg and follows the war to Lee's surrender at Appomattox.

The works are surprisingly slim considering what it covers, so this is not an in-depth look at the War Between the States. It does however give a gold mine of details. For someone looking to understand the war, its causes and the people that fought it, this is a wonderful place to start.

Author: Theodore Gerrish

One of the most famous regiments of the Civil War was the 20th Regiment of Maine Volunteers. Formed in 1862, the regiment saw action in some of the fiercest campaigns and battles of the war; Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Petersburg, Peebles Farm and Five Forks. It also was present at Antietam, Chancellorsville, Mine Run, North Anna, Bethesda Church, Gravelly Run and Appomattox, where it had the distinct honor of being of the regiments to formally receive the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Originally commanded by Colonel Adelbert Ames, leadership of the regiment soon fell upon the shoulders of the most famous civilian soldier of the war -- Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. At Gettysburg, Chamberlain and the 20th Maine anchored the Union line on Little Round Top and helped to save the day, and the battle, for the Federal cause. The regiment fought with excellence in several later campaigns but will always be known for its brilliant and gallant performance at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863.

After the war only one veteran of the unit attempted to chronicle the exploits of the 20th Maine Infantry. In 1882, Reverend Theodore Gerrish published "Army Life." Although there are brief, scattered accounts written by other veterans of the unit's wartime exploits, this remains the only full-length book, purposely published by a 20th Maine veteran.

Author: Wilbur F. Hinman

Don't bring any expectations to this read. The less you expect... the more you will enjoy this "gem", written by an actual Civil War veteran, who served in the Ohio 65th Volunteer Infantry. Although the regiment in the story is fictitious and from Indiana instead of Ohio, its experiences, roughly follow the experiences of the author's factual regiment. The battles in the story, though purposely unnamed, will be identified by a knowlegeable reader as those fought by the Army of the Cumberland... including Stone's River, Chickamagua, Chatanooga and the Atlanta Campaign.

The book, as it's title states, is about the life of a volunteer soldier. And peppered throughout it's excellent narrative, is authentic, sincere and heartfelt dialogue. Dialogue, written in the style of the way the men spoke, with all the ye's, ter's and reckons included. It took a little while accustomising myself to it, but shortly afterwards, I enjoyed the dialogue so much that I started reading it out loud.

Josiah Klegg is a young, enthuisiastic and patriotic recruit, who is unwise in the ways of the army. And Shorty "his pard", whom Si meets shortly after enlisting (or 'listing as they call it) is a hardluck Huckleberry Finn character. Though having had a rough lot in life, Shorty is a quick thinker and wise to the ways of the world. The two of them are "stayers", and together, they travel the long hard (and often painful) path from inexperienced recruit to veteran soldier.

Their personalities play off each other wonderfully. Shorty tolerates Si, who is naive and never short for expressing an opinion. And Shorty, always faithful and yet slightly dower, is continually uplifted by Si's irrepressable enthusiam.

There is much in this story of interest for the Civil War buff, including detailed descriptions of marching (blisters and all), camp life, hospital scenes and actual combat. In the end, this story is about the bonds that tie men together. If it is at all possible to understand the feelings men had for each other, during that terrible interlude in American History, you'll get closest, reading this book.

Author: Sam R. Watkins

Early in May 1861, twenty-one-year-old Sam R. Watkins of Columbia, Tennessee, joined the First Tennessee Regiment, Company H, to fight for the Confederacy. Of the 120 original recruits in his company, Watkins was one of only seven to survive every one of its battles, from Shiloh to Nashville. Twenty years later, with a "house full of young 'rebels' clustering around my knees and bumping about my elbows, " he wrote this remarkable account of "Co. Aytch" — its common foot soldiers, its commanders, its Yankeee enemies, its victories and defeats, and its ultimate surrender on April 26, 1865.

Author: Kenneth C. Davis

Why did Abraham Lincoln sneak into Washington for his inauguration? Was the Gettysburg Address written on the back of an envelope? Where did the Underground Railroad run?

Can you answer these questions? If not, you're not alone! New York Times-bestselling author Kenneth C. Davis comes to the rescue, deftly sorting out the players, the politics, the key events -- Emancipation and Reconstruction, Shiloh and Gettysburg, Generals Grant and Lee, Harriet Beecher Stowe -- and providing little-known facts that will enthrall even learned Civil War buffs. Vivid, informative, and hugely entertaining, Don't Know Much About® the Civil War is the only book you'll ever need on "the war that never ended."

Author: Alfred Nofi

This is a collection of stories and miscellany from a number of sources about various aspects of the Civil War. It attempts to cover facets of the Civil War that may have eluded more popular works. The book is organized in a loosely chronological way: Similar areas at each stage of the war are grouped together, with identical subtitles for each chapter in the group. The problem with this format is that the stories really do not tie together; some are just excerpts from larger works, and there are no transitions to link themes. Often, it is hard to understand exactly how a particular incident had any effect on the war. With so much material available on the Civil War, this is not recommended.

Author: Philip Katcher

Katcher's entry in the field of Civil War publishing will intrigue the legions of Civil War buffs who yearly consume vast quantities of writing. Not a traditional campaign history, this title focuses on the experiences, equipment, uniforms, and tactics of army, navy, and state forces of both sides. Short biographies of major figures and an annotated "Sources" section are provided, and illustrations and quotations or excerpts from first-person accounts abound. The book is organized by broad topic, which could make its use in a reference collection problematic; librarians may prefer to place it in the circulating collection. Middle-aged eyes may have problems with the small type, and a number of minor typographical errors will give the true Civil War aficionado the thrill of discovery while not materially affecting the value of the title. Recommended for libraries collecting widely on the Civil War.

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