Battle Cry of Freedom, by James McPherson. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this is the best one volume account of the War told by its greatest storyteller. It traces the conflict from Free Soil to the assassination of Lincoln in an authoritative voice that has yet to be rivaled.
To the Gates of Richmond, by Stephen Sears. Only Sears could encapsulate the quagmire of McClellan’s Peninsular campaign into a single, eminently readable volume. The book brilliantly weaves multiple story-lines from common soldiers all the way to the Commander-in-Chief- Sears proves there is no greater authority on the McClellan/Lincoln feud.
No Better Place to Die, by Peter Cozzens. The rare book that definitively recounts the battle, while bringing humanity to the brave men who fought it. Cozzens’ tactical knowledge is matched only by his exhaustive research into hundreds of primary sources. No finer battle study has been produced- Stones River is no longer a forgotten battle.
Gettysburg; The Second Day, By Harry Pfanz. No man knew Gettysburg better, Dr. Pfanz’s book is the definitive study of July 2, 1863. By focusing on the pivotal day of the battle, Pfanz brings the sacrifices of the men into clearer perspective. Far too much ink has been spilled on Pickett’s charge, Pfanz shows us the battle was truly won the day before.
The Iron Brigade, By Alan Nolan. More than a unit history, Nolan’s book is military history at its finest. By tracing the unit through primary sources, from its Commanders to the private soldiers, Nolan’s book provides a rich and exciting narrative. The detailed description of battles with the legendary Stonewall Brigade set the book apart. This book is the standard all subsequent unit histories are measured.
Joshua Chamberlain: A Hero’s Life and Legacy, by John Pullen. The perfect companion to Pullen’s regimental history of the 20th Maine, this biography of its legendary leader stands the test of time. Pullen separates myth from fact in recounting Chamberlain’s heroic military service. Like any great biographer, Pullen finds the man in the midst of hyperbole and legend.