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Los diez mejores de la década…

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message 1: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:46AM) (new)

Patrick Well, now there's two of us. Whose books do you like the best? For me right now, it's Stephen Sears.

message 2: by Ritz (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:46AM) (new)

Ritz (maravillosodesgarro) | 51 comments Hace un año la revista electrónica hizo una encuesta sobre los diez mejores libros en español publicados en la década, ¿Qué tal si sugerimos los diez mejores libros publicados en español entre 1997 y 2007 – y por qué-? En Letralia dictaminaron como número uno Los Detectives Salvajes de Roberto Bolaño, también figuraron libros de Mario Vargas Llosa, Javier Cercas, Laura Restrepo, Fernando Báez, Javier Marías, Carlos Ruiz Zafón y Antonio Muñoz Molina.

message 3: by Chris (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:48AM) (new)

Chris (mrpotter) Absolutely. I am in the middle of Gettysburg. I got sidetracked by Harry Potter though. :)

What do you think of some of the more famous authors like James McPherson? I am thinking mainly of Battle Cry, I think he has kinda sold out since then.

message 4: by Andrew (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:48AM) (new)

Andrew I just devoured Gingrich's series. Loved it. Shaara is pretty great too.

message 5: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:48AM) (new)

Patrick I have Battle Cry, but it's way down on the list of books to read. I like some of his shorter stuff, but I wouldn't buy it or keep it. Best read as library books. I seems like Battle Cry wore him out, and since then he is just writing fringe material to keep his name out there.

As for Sears, I loved Landscape Turned Red, which I had to read for a military school about ten years ago. My favorite is Chancellorsville. Gettysburg was really good, but I've already read a lot about it, and after Killer Angels it's hard to say that Sears has the last word in great literature on that battle.

I'm hoping he does at least two more books on the war in the East between 1863-1864, but I'm not sure where the narrative should break off. Wilderness to Petersburg means the final book would be really short. But since all the campaigns come together in 1865 maybe Sears can pull in more detail about the other theaters. Also, I know that a lot of interesting action happens after Appomattox that rarely gets covered, especially Johnston taking it to Sherman at Bentonville. I'd like to see Sears cover that in detail.

I want two more books for the same reason kids don't want Harry Potter to end...this is a great series, and I want to prolong our enjoyment of Sears's books upon this subject.

Full disclosure: I've never read Shelby Foote, nor do I own any of his books. I know I should, and maybe I will someday. But I think I got my fill of Shelby when I watched Ken Burns's Civil War.

My other favorite right now: the books that Gary W Gallagher edits on specific campaigns and battles. Good for the minutiae that makes the Civil War so fasciinating, that Sears, Catton, etc, can't cover because they doing the entire story.

My favorite bio: Pittson on Longstreet and what I'v read of Robertson's Stonewall Jackson. McNeely's Grant is good too.

Any good books you'd recommend on theWestern Theater? I'm weak on that.


message 6: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:48AM) (new)

Patrick Can't beat Killer Angels, especially the first time you read it. Jeff Shaara is not his dad, but it's readable. I liked the first sequel, but was less enamored on the prequel, and haven't read anything else by Shaara. I guess he's doing WWI books now?

Haven't read the Gingrich books, but I thought the first Turtledove alternate history book was OK for a quick read.

message 7: by Andrew (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:48AM) (new)

Andrew This fall I'm taking Gary Gallagher's civil war class at UVA. I'm really looking forward to it. He's supposedly a wonderful lecturer.

I tried to read some of Shaara's WWII stuff and really struggled to get through it.

message 8: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:48AM) (new)

Patrick Andrew,

That is awesome! Please post your class reading list here once you get your syllabus. I'd be fascinated to hear which books a guy like Gary Gallagher thinks are worth reading on the Civil War.

By the way, what level class is this? Graduate? Upper level undergrad? Freshmen year survey? Hopefully it's one of the former, as your reading will be more in-depth.

message 9: by Chris (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:49AM) (new)

Chris (mrpotter) This is getting too weird. I just finished on Monday Fighting for the Confederacy by EP Alexander, edited by Gallagher. It is a great unbiased look at the confederacy from the inside. I highly recommend it.

Jeff Shaara is terrible, I think Killer Angels is the one book on the CW to read if you need to get someone interested or if you are interested in leadership. I don't think it has enough of the historical story to really be a resource. For me Coddington and Pfanz provide parts of the story and the Sears book is a great resource too.

message 10: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:49AM) (new)

Patrick Hey, Cp671. Very illuminating post above, concerning the weirdness.

Am assuming you are referring to the coincedence of all of us reading the smae books. As I see it, if you like the Civil War you will want to read the more recent stuff, because the authors have incorporated the most recent research and scholarship, and the writing is also more accessible to us today.

I mean, Douglass Southall Freeman is great literature, but we all know that he wrote froma certain point of view, didn't have access to the latest archives that guys like Gallagher and McPherson have, and his writing style doesn't sound modern to our "ears". So none of us would probably cite him today as a "favorite writer," or likely be reading anything by him other than the compendium "On Leadership."

In reality, if you like more in depth Civil War history than what one gets in high school, then you're probably starting with Sears, Gallagher, and McPherson. And then to get beyond those guys you have to dig a little deeper in the library, and usually the quality of the writing starts to go down. For example, I've read Roy Morris's book on Sheridan, a couple of biographies on Chamberlain, and one on George Thomas, but I wouldn't especially recommend them to you because they're not that well written.

Bottom line....if we're all into the Civil War as a reading hobby, the likelihood is that we've all seen the same stuff.

But as we go through what we've all read there may be some new recommendations for the rest of us.

BTW, if I missed the point you were making on weirdness, please ignore the above and elaborate on your intentions.

message 11: by Chris (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:50AM) (new)

Chris (mrpotter) You are pretty close to the weirdness. I am just thinking about when I go to Barnes & Noble (I know, sacrilege in the Amazon age) And I see a dozen authors in the CW section who I have never heard of. The idea that three people from separate areas of the country are reading/thinking about the same 3 or 4 authors is a strange coincidence.
But you are right, the people (men) we are talking about are all the popular authors, so the odds would be in their favor that we were reading them.

message 12: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:50AM) (new)

Patrick have you ever read any of Burke Davis's books? I read Sherman's March and To Appomattox. I like the subjects he is writing about in these books, but he tends to quote historical figures like they are characters in a novel, and I find that very irritating in a non-fiction book.

No footnotes, but he does include a bibilography. I read a ton of non-fiction, and I think footnotes are critical for ditinguishing good non-fiction from bad, so that we can see the depth and quality of the author's research.

On Burke Davis's CW books: They're OK, usually a quick read.

I'm hoping Sears writes a better book the includes the Nine Days, Appomattox, and the aftermath, but we're years away from that being published.

No one seems interested in Sherman's southern campaigns right now. The Western theater suffers from the same lack of interest by the curent crop of great CW writers.

message 13: by Chris (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:51AM) (new)

Chris (mrpotter) I like Davis, because he is a quick read, yet still informative. I am not a big footnote type of person. If I am doing research on someone, I'll use them. Or if I am interested in seeing who they researched, I'll check the bibliography.
Lloyd Lewis' "Sherman: Fighting Prophet" is a bio. of Sherman. Not specific to the southern campaigns though.

message 14: by Andrew (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:53AM) (new)

Andrew Unfortunately Patrick, freshmen year survey is the description that fits best. The class is a 200 level one--U.S. Military History from 1600-1900. There are six different books on the syllabus; the two Civil War one are both James McPherson, For Cause and Comrades and What They Fought For.

Gallagher has a fantastic reputation as a lecturer, so I'm very excited about the class.

message 15: by Eric (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:55AM) (new)

Eric On the Western Theater, I saw a book about a year ago that I wish I had picked up, and still mean to. I think it was called Where teh Civil War was Won, or something like that. It was about Grant's early successes in the west, and how the capture of Fort Donnelson and the other fort (I'm ashamed to say the name escapes me right now)ultimately opened the way for the Vicksburg campaign. It sounded like an interesting look at a part of the war that desn't get a lot of popular press.

message 16: by Dan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:11PM) (new)

Dan Shelby Foote is the most readable in the comprehensive history genre.
Bruce Catton's This Hallowed Ground is a classic, as is Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels
Harry williams' Lincoln and His Generals is also a good read, and Gore Vidal's Lincoln is up there also

message 17: by Rosemary (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:11PM) (new)

Rosemary The Killer Angels is one of my favorites, too. I'm still mulling my reactions to Doctorow's The March. Anyone else?

message 18: by Brad (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

Brad Hart If I had to choose one writer of the Civil War I would take Eric Foner hands down.

message 19: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

Patrick Brad, I have Foner's book on Reconstruction, which is supposed to be the best modern book on the subject, and I'm looking forward to reading it. What else has he writte about the war itself? What are your favorite books by Foner?

message 20: by Brad (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:15PM) (new)

Brad Hart The Reconstruction book is fantastic. You'll love it. My favorite book of his is, "Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men." It is excellent.

message 21: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:16PM) (new)

Patrick Thnaks for the tip, Brad. I'll keep an eye out for that book you mentioned as well.

message 22: by Kitty-Wu (new)

Kitty-Wu (kittydewu) Yo no me atrevería a decir algo como "lo mejor que he leído", pero creo que uno de los libros o, en su caso, autor que se debería tener en cuenta, es Albert Sánchez Piñol ("La piel Fría", "Pandora en el Congo") que se ha atrevido, con un resultado dignísimo, con un estilo de aventuras-ciencia ficción-terror con gran maestría.

message 23: by Ritz (new)

Ritz (maravillosodesgarro) | 51 comments La clave con la que me atrapaste fue:
aventuras-ciencia ficción-terror con gran maestría

teóricamente estarías presentándome a mi nuevo autor favorito... Albert Sánchez Piñol


message 24: by Kitty-Wu (new)

Kitty-Wu (kittydewu) Pues espero que te guste, a mí me fascinó, es más, no me extrañaría nada verlo adaptado al cine en breve... se presta.

message 25: by George (new)

George I'd highly recommend 2 writers I don't see here so far, Peter Cozzens and Gordan Rhea. Rhea's books on Grant's advance on Richmond are pretty close to definitive. The books are rich enough in detail to satisfy the most demanding reader. Each covers several days or a week of time. It would be hard to find a more poignant depiction of any battle that beats his description of the battle at the Mule Shoe, where hand to hand fighting went on almost non stop for over 24 hours.

I think Peter Cozzens' books are among the finest out there. I highly reccomend his book, This Terrible Sound, on the battle of Chickamauga and No Better Place to Die on Stone River.

message 26: by Beth (new)

Beth Miller (ParrisHouse) I actually can not read Shaara. I guess you either love him or hate him, and I'm in the latter camp. My son Rob, who will be a freshman at Gettysburg College next year doing American history/Civil War Era studies, is also a Shaara detractor. It's the accuracy - or better stated - inaccuracy factor that bothers us. I know it's fiction and I should probably just chill out and go with it, but...I don't know...wasn't the history cool enough just the way it happened?

You have cited some great books, but no one has talked yet about the original writings of Joshua L. Chamberlain. I love Chamberlain's prose and the spiritual aspect he lends to his subject (he was, after all, trained at Bangor Theological). I think his account of the surrender ceremony at Appomattox is one of the most moving remembrances I've ever read, and I could go on and on about passages of his I find absolutely transcendent. Full disclosure - I AM a Mainer - lol - so I suppose there's some bias here.

I'd have to add Tom Desjardin, and again, there's probably bias here, Tom being a Mainer also. I just met him for the first time last night in Brunswick, ME at the JLC Civil War Round Table discussion and he was very friendly and easy to talk to.

I'm new to this forum but I just so enjoy everything you all have to say - I think I'm going to learn a lot here! Thanks!

message 27: by George (new)

George I'm not at all a Shaara fan. He doesn't really add anything in his books to the historical record. Personally, I'd rather read straight histories that are frequently more compelling. Anyone read Doctorow's "The March?" not one of his best books, but a better Civil War novel than Shaara's work.

message 28: by Chris (new)

Chris (mrpotter) I can't read JEFF Shaara (the son) at all. MICHAEL Shaara (the father) is a great read to me. I am in the other camp I guess.

message 29: by Renay (new)

Renay I like Eric Foner. His writing on Reconstruction brought the era alive.

message 30: by Renay (new)

Renay I just completed Doris Goodwin's Team of Rivals. I thought it was a wonderful portrayal of Lincoln. A very real look at the personalities and the brilance of Lincoln in holding together a group of people who had their own agena. Many lessons about leadership can be mined from the book.

message 31: by Bob (new)

Bob Hi everyone! I am new to this group and to Goodreads in general.

I am a native Rhode Islander (home to some outstanding Civil War artillerists, from what I can gather, plus at least one horrifically bad general, Ambrose Burnside) but now live in Northern Virginia, amidst many Civil War sites. I live right off Route 50, which here in Loudoun County is known as John Singleton Mosby Highway.

I really enjoyed Shelby Foote's three-volume magnum opus. I'm also a big fan of Gordon Rhea's books, but I need to catch up on the last couple. (I have nearly-four-year-old twins so my reading slipped for a while).

message 32: by George (new)

George Wecolme on board. I live in Northern Virginia as well, at least for the moment, but in Fairfax County.

message 33: by Karen (last edited Jun 10, 2008 04:54PM) (new)

Karen I agree that Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals is an excellent treatment of Lincoln. Because she focused on his cabinet members, she could rely on documentation not considered in any previous Lincoln biography.

Also, I highly recommend William Lee Miller's newest book, President Lincoln: Duty of a Statesman. Unlike other Lincoln biographies, Miller focuses entirely on the years of Lincoln's presidency.

In another Miller book, Arguing About Slavery, he wrote about the gag order that Congress placed on itself in the 1840s to disallow discussion of slavery. I cannot recommend it highly enough as a window into the years leading up to the Civil War.

BTW, William Lee Miller will be speaking at the Lincoln Forum in Gettysburg in November.

message 34: by Peter (last edited Dec 11, 2008 06:41PM) (new)

Peter Goodwin's Team of Rivals sealed the deal as far as me getting into Lincoln & the Civil War.

I've been looking for a good book on Reconstruction era for a while, so thanks for pointing out the Foner books.

Anyone have any recommendations on Joshua Chamberlain? Or Sumner? I've read Donald Herbert David's Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War. I've read some other Donald H. David books, kind of dry.

I really enjoyed Winik's April 1865 and Team of Rivals.

A chance book I stumbled upon that was a really enjoyable read was The Day Lincoln Was Shot by Jay Bishop.

message 35: by Karen (new)

Karen Check out the books by William Lee Miller -- Arguing About Slavery, Lincoln's Virtues, and President Lincoln. Professor Miller is a fantastic writer. It's a pure pleasure to read his books.

message 36: by Peter (new)

Peter I've just ordered Foner's Reconstruction. Thanks for the recommendation. I've been looking for a good book on reconstruction era for a while.

message 37: by Peter (new)

Peter Karen, thanks; I am definitely going to check out Miller's Arguing About Slavery.

Another good survey book to check out (akin to the recent CSPAN book) is Lincoln, The War President: The Gettysburg Lectures.

message 38: by Karen (new)

Karen Peter wrote: "Karen, thanks; I am definitely going to check out Miller's Arguing About Slavery.

Another good survey book to check out (akin to the recent CSPAN book) is Lincoln, The War President: The Gettysb..."

Peter wrote: "Karen, thanks; I am definitely going to check out Miller's Arguing About Slavery.

Another good survey book to check out (akin to the recent CSPAN book) is Lincoln, The War President: The Gettysb..."

Thanks for the tip on The War President. I hadn't heard of it.

message 39: by Carol (new)

Carol Bro (cjbro) Hi everyone. Just joined the group & and want to introduce myself. I find this era fascinating and love reading about it–fiction and nonfiction alike, as long as it’s historically accurate. I enjoyed Shaara’s The Killer Angels, as well as McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom. One of my personal favorites is Inside Wars by Michael Fellman which addresses the guerilla warfare between Missouri and Kansas. Someone on here asked awhile back about books covering the western theater and I would recommend this as one of the best.

As to fiction, I am currently reading Woe to Live On, which is the book from which the movie Ride with the Devil was adapted. (Adapted my eye – it was almost word-for-word!)

I especially love reading first-hand accounts. I just finished Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriett Jacobs, an true account of her life as a slave. I also recently read the memoirs of John McCorkle and Cole Younger who both rode with Quantrill’s Raiders. (Needless to say, both were predictably and hopelessly biased, but still give some insight into the thinking of the time from their perspective.)

I am also reading a book published in 1865, The Field, the Dungeon & The Escape by Albert Richardson, a journalist from the North who traveled throughout the South to see the war from the Southern perspective. Kinda like our “imbedded reporters” in Iraq.  Love getting the facts from those who were really there! This one was picked up in an antique store by my Dad.

Thanks for all the good recommendations!


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