Battlefield expert names favorite Civil War books

2011-08-14T00:00:00Z 2011-08-14T01:37:31Z Battlefield expert names favorite Civil War books

Gazette Staff

The Billings Gazette
August 14, 2011 12:00 am  • 

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War in 1861. In honor of that occasion, The Gazette asked historian Ed Bearss to name his five favorite Civil War books.

He couldn’t help naming six.

He starts with James McPherson’s “Battle Cry of Freedom,” which he called the best one-volume history of the war, the events leading up to it and its consequences. “That’s in a class by itself,” Bearss said.

The best memoir to emerge from the war, he said, and perhaps the best autobiography written in the United States, is “The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant.”

The best novel of the war is “The Killer Angels” by Michael Schaara, an account of the Battle of Gettysburg.

The best analysis of a single battle, he said, is Stephen W. Sears’ “Gettysburg.”

As a historian, Bearss treasures Douglas Southall Freeman’s four-volume “R.L. Lee,” a monumental biography of the Confederate general.

His final recommendation is Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “A Team of Rivals,” a study of President Lincoln’s leadership during the Civil War.

Contact Ed Kemmick at or 657-1293.

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