Top 2012 Civil War American History Books

by on December 2nd, 2014
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The American Civil War divided the nation-and in many ways, still continues to do so. Since its conclusion, the Civil War has provided historians and readers alike with ample reason to study its history and look for new insights into this fascinating, though troubling, event. These Top American Civil War history books for 2012 range from a massive, 1000-page study of the British involvement in the war to the lyrical exploration of the important role of music during this bloodiest of conflicts.

Music has held an important place in human history for thousands of years. Although some people might shrug off the idea that music had any large effect on any historical event, much less a war, there is so much more to music than simple tunes or catchy melodies. Battle Hymns by Christian McWhirtier on music in the Civil War provides insight to how music was used on all fronts, North and South, for political and social gain.

Title: Battle Hymns: The Power and Popularity of Music in the Civil War”

Author: Christian McWhirter

ISBN: 978-0807835500

Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press

Publication Date: March 19, 2012

Summary: Music was a loud part of everyday life in the Civil War: there were Southern tunes delicately played from parlor pianos, political marches drummed out at rallies, military tunes played on the battlefields, and more. This new study on Civil War era music explores the multiple impacts of music during this period and why music was so important to all sides of the war.

The very mention of a Civil War hospital immediately conjures up the gruesome image of thousands of men with horrible injuries and insufficient medical personnel. But what about the women who were behind many of the Southern military hospitals during the Civil War? The role of women during the Civil War is often underplayed, but Libra R. Hilde explores the importance of Southern women in the Civil War as they became military nurses and defied their strict society’s conventions. Worth a Dozen Men is a worthwhile addition to any Civil War or Women’s Studies library.

Title: “Worth a Dozen Men: Women and Nursing in the Civil War South”

Author: Libra R. Hilde

ISBN: 978-0813932125

Publisher: University of Virginia Press

Publication Date: APril 11, 2012

Summary: Well-to-do women in pre-Civil War South were considered excellent nurses for their sympathetic nature, but this role was considered vastly inappropriate outside of the home environment. However, many Southern women defied tradition and set up hospitals early on in the Civil War, and continued to nurse and tend to wounded soldiers throughout the conflict. This new study of Southern women as nurses in the Civil War explores the critical role the women played in improving Southern morale, tending to the wounded, and how their actions helped to broaden the role of women in public life during and after the Civil War.

Much has been written about the lives of Southern citizens during the Civil War, but little has been published on the lives of men, women and children on the Northern Home front. These women were often responsible for creating military supplies, raising funds for the war, and managing households without the men they were expected to rely upon. The roles of other under-studied people in Northern Civil War society, such as African Americans and immigrants, is also explored. The Northern Home Front during the Civil War is a definite must for someone interested in all aspects of the Civil War.

Title: “The Northern Home Front during the Civil War”

Author: Randall M. Miller and Paul A Cimbala

ISBN: 978-0313352904

Publisher: Praeger

Publication Date: September 30, 2012

Summary: The first extensive study published about the Northern home front just before and during the Civil War. This enlightening work primarily focuses on the often ignored roles of women, African-Americans, immigrants and others in Northern society to explore how civilians in the Civil War North prepared and dealt with the hardships and turmoil of the war.

Civil War studies tend to focus on the American North and the American South. But what about the roles of other countries, in this case Great Britain, played in the Civil War? A World in Fire by Amanda Foreman goes into great detail-over 1,000 pages worth-about the role of Britain in the American conflict, including the role of British soldiers, politicians, and even the everyday British citizen.

Title: “A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War”

Author: Amanda Foreman

ISBN: 978-0375756962

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: September 11, 2012

Summary: An extensive look on the British involvement in the American Civil War. Between 1861 and 1865, thousands of British citizens had volunteered for military service – on both sides of the battlefield, and the British government was also conflicted when it came to supporting either side of the American war. This new study on the British role in the Civil War is extensive, covering military battles in which British soldiers played a large part, the political battlefield between London and Washington, and how the personal sacrifices of the British helped influence the outcome of the war.


The information in this article has been acquired from Publication dates are subject to change.

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