Before beginning my novel
Sherman's Mistress in Savannah,
I knew of several popular Civil War novels, and for perspective mention them in the Preface (see below).
For my second Civil War novel, I decided to change the war's outcome by invoking time travel. Turns out this is a
well trod genre of civil war fiction, and in the Preface to my second novel I list many (if not all) the books in
print using this theme.
There are in fact many novels plotted against the backdrop of the U.S. Civil War, more than I ever imagined. Until a few years ago almost all were published by royalty publishers, but in the last few years self-published Civil War fiction has also blossomed. In addition to my novel, others include
The Long Road Home, by Nick West,
and Where the Mockingbird Sang, by David Atwood.
Down Every Dark Valley, by Ronnie Seals. (Self-publishing no longer carries the stigma of past years; see WSJ article
How I Became a Best-Selling Author.)
There are several lists of civil war fiction available on the internet, though none is up to date and comprehensive. One of the best lists, because it rates the books by readers' opinions, is
Goodreads Civil War Fiction. Another recommended site, among the most comprehensive, is
Guide to Civil War Novels.
I have included many titles of the genre in this web site (sidebar), with links to Amazon.com.
The Red Badge Of Courage (1895), to quote one critic, "has long been considered the first great 'modern' novel of war"; it is also the one most likely to be read in school, as part of course curriculum. Now out of copyright, the entire text is freely available on the internet (click on the book title above). The blockbuster of all civil war fiction is of course Margaret Mitchell's
Gone With the Wind. GWTW spawned a sequel by Alexandra Ripley,
Scarlett, published in 2007. (Reviews on Amazon.com of the sequel are much lower (3.1/5) than for GWTW (4.7/5)
In the more modern era, consensus seems to point to Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels as the best of the genre. Jeff Shaara has taken up where his father left off, with three civil war era novels. Several others have written 3 or more civil war novels (listed below). The most prolific is James Reasoner, who has 10 books in his American Civil War Battle Series. Reader reviews of all these books can be found on Amazon.com.
- Jeff Shaara: Gods and Generals; The Last Full Measure; A Blaze of Glory
- John Jakes: North and South; Love and War; Savannah: Or a Gift for Mr. Lincoln
- Newt Gingrich (former Speaker of the House and contender for the 2012 Republican
presidential nomination) and William R. Forstchen (Professor of History at Montreat College, in Montreat, North Carolina): Gettysburg Trilogy (Gettysburg; Grant Comes East; Never Call Retreat) and The Battle of the Crater.
- Howard Bahr: The Judas Field; The Year of Jubilo; The Black Flower
- Bernard Cornwell: Rebel; Copperhead; Battle Flag
- James Reasoner: Manassas; Shiloh; Antietam; Chancellorsville; Vicksburg; Gettysburg; Chickamauga; Shenandoah; Savannah; Appomattox
- Harry Turtledove: The Guns of the South; How Few Remain; Fort Pillow. Harry Turtledove (his real name) has written dozens of "alternate history" books, including several that involve a victorious Confederate Nation in an era long after the Civil War. A list of Turtledove's "Southern Victory" books, as this group is called, can be found on the Harry Turtledove Wikipedia web site.
The list also includes two collections of Civil War Stories. Ambrose Bierce's
Civil War Stories were written during and after the war, and includes the classic
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.
Chickamauga and Other Civil War Stories is by Shelby Foote. Foote was a fiction writer before he gained fame for his epic 3-volume
The Civil War: A Narrative, and his wry commentary on Ken Burns' Emmy Award-winning documentary The Civil War.
At the bottom of this web page is a list of all the lakesidepress Civil War web sites.