Monday, March 12, 2012

Civil War Fiction

Here we are, right in the midst of the Civil War Sesquicentennial. It seems that I have written as many stories set during that conflict as I have in the Old West -and for the same reason, I think. It is a compelling backdrop for a story, especially when that story focuses on human passions. I also realize that my nonfiction is often centered on the Civil War -from magazine articles, journal articles I'm currently working on, my dissertation/ book-to-be, and even the field trip through Upper Cumberland Tennessee I embarked on last weekend with other Civil War historians and archaeologists of my acquaintance. 150 years on, and I'm not the only one still fascinated by the subject.

Off the top of my head, I can think of several works of fiction about the war that are especially noteworthy for various reasons (and let me note, I'm a huge fan of some of these and not so much a fan of others):

Andersonville, by MacKinley Cantor
Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier
The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara
Band of Angels, by Robert Penn Warren
The March, by E. L. Doctorow
(you thought I was gonna forget Gone with the Wind, didn't ya?)

What are some of your favorites that I missed?

And if you haven't read mine, here is a link to some of my Civil War related titles:


  1. I'll say this one before anybody else does: THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE.

  2. I had intended to include The Red Badge of Courage and Faulkner's The Unvanquished on my short list, and got distracted somehow!

  3. I'd have to say the piece of Civil War fiction that has impressed me the most is a short story by Max Brand, "A Watch and the Wilderness." I read it in a library book (The Good Badman, a collection of three Brand stories) and it stuck with me to the extent that I checked the book out again months later just to read that story again.