General Histories

General Histories and Miscellaneous

These books typically tend to be one or greater volume books covering the whole war.


 The Civil War: A Narrative The Complete Three Volume Set

The Civil War: A Narrative Volume 1, Fort Sumter to Perryville

The Civil War: A Narrative Volume 2, Fredericksburg to Meridian

The Civil War: A Narrative Volume 3, Red River to Appomattox

Shelby Foote

Updated 9/28/02 This is Foote's first volume of his epic telling of the American Civil War. From the War's beginnings to the little Kentucky town of Perryville, Foote produces a book that is highly enjoyable and always interesting. If you know someone who you think would like to know more about the Civil War, buy them this set. It really is that good. The maps are very general, as this is more of an exciting story rather than a tactical book.

Volume 1 840 pp., Volume 2 971 pp.,

Volume 3 1106 pp.

Bruce Catton
Updated 9/28/02 This is a really good one volume introduction to the war. Catton is known as one of the foremost writers of ACW literature this country has ever produced. This book may be hard to find, and you could try some place like EBay, or's EBay-like area. 341 pp.
Bruce Catton
Updated 9/28/02 This is the first of Catton's trilogy that he wrote to commemorate the 100 year annivesary of the war. This set of books launched the Civil War publishing boom that is still going strong today, and hopefully someone will do the same at the War's 150th Anniversary as well. To be honest, I found the first part of this book to be exceedingly dull. Frankly, I much prefer the battlefield action to what was happening at the Democratic National Convention of 1860. Once you get past that, though, the book is similar to Foote's trilogy. Overall I'd rather have Foote's books than these, however. 605 pp., 8 maps
Bruce Catton
Updated 9/28/02 The Second Volume of the trilogy, covering the fighting at Wilson's Creek all the way to the bloody fighting near Sharpsburg, Maryland. 558 ppp., 16 maps

Never Call Retreat (The Centennial History of the Civil War, Volume 3)

Bruce Catton
Updated 9/28/02 The Last Volume of the trilogy, covering everything from Fredericksburg to the end of the war. 558 pp.

This Hallowed Ground

Bruce Catton
Updated 9/28/02 I really enjoyed this book when I first read it early on in my Civil War studies. It goes into a little more detail than does Catton's The Civil War, and it views the war more from a Union perspective. It's a very good one volume book, and I highly recommend it to beginners. 559 ppp., 7 maps
Philip Katcher
Updated 9/28/02 This is a really unique book. Those familiar with the format of the "Sourcebook" series know that this book packs a wealth of information. It is a reference book of the highest quality. The campaigns are briefly outlined in the first part of the book, and then the forces of each side are detailed state by state. Alook at the militias of both sides follows that. Then brief biographies of selected personalities are covered. This is a must-have book. It provides a quick resource to use to find info quickly. And it is also highly interesting. I recommend this one highly. 318 pp.

The Civil War Battlefield Guide

Frances H. Kennedy (editor)

Various Authors

Updated 9/28/02
I also highly recommend this one. It contains topographic maps of the battlefields as they appear today with troop movements superimposed over top. There are also brief histories of the battles covered. The end of the book contains all of the battlefields currently protected from development, and the ones most in need of immediate protection. This is an excellent book for the battlefield trampers out there. 512 pp., many, many maps

Encyclopedia of the American Civil War

David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler (editors)

Various Authors

New 6/14/03

An all-encompassing reference work is needed for every good Civil War book collection, and this book fits the bill quite nicely. Many recognizable Civil War authors contribute, and the articles I've taken the time to read are concise and provide adequate information on the topics covered. I consider this to be a must-own. 2784 pp, many maps