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The Best Novels About the Civil War 

Ranker Books
Updated November 27, 2019 1.4k votes 288 voters 11.7k views 45 items

List Rules Fiction books that use the American Civil War as a setting or major theme

This is a list about the best novels about the Civil War; this list answers the question, "What are the best historical fiction books about the Civil War?" Also known as the War Between the States or the American Civil War, this battle lasted from 1861 – 1865 in the United States. This list of the best Civil War novels includes classics set during the war, like Little Women, to antebellum novels like Gone with the Wind and The Sound and the Fury. The issue of slavery caused several Southern states to succeed from the union and form the Confederate States of America, also known as the “Confederacy” or the “South”. The states that remained a part of the union were called the “North” or “Union”. After four years of combat and 600,000 slain soldiers from the battlefield, the process of Reconstruction to restore national unity and guarantee rights to freed slaves began. Some of the most popular war stories of all time were formed during this time, including: “Gone with the Wind”, “Cold Mountain”, “Little Women” and the “Red Badge of Courage”. Each novel depicts a time when families had to pull resources together to survive; communities had to watch each other’s back; a nation divided took its toll on every resident of the United States. The Civil War remains the deadliest war in American history; an estimated 10% of all Northern males and an estimated 30% of all Southern males died in the battlefield. 

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list ordered by
1
The Killer Angels: A Nov... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Michael Shaara

First Published: 1974

Subjects: Literary, Pennsylvania, Literature, Classics, Battle of Gettysburg, + more

Genres (Book): War novel, Historical fiction, Fiction, Historical novel

Original Language: English Language

The Killer Angels is a historical novel by Michael Shaara that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1975. The book tells the story of the four days of the Battle of Gettysburg in the ...more
2
Gone with the Wind is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Margaret Mitchell

First Published: 1936-06-30

Subjects: Women, Plantations in the American South, United States of America, American Civil War, History

Genres (Book): Historical fiction, Fiction, Novel

Original Language: English Language

Gone with the Wind is a novel written by Margaret Mitchell, first published in 1936. The story is set in Clayton County, Georgia, and Atlanta during the American Civil War and Reconstruction ...more

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3
Gods and Generals is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Jeff Shaara

First Published: 1996

Subjects: American Civil War

Genres (Book): Fiction, Historical novel

Original Language: English Language

Gods and Generals is a novel which serves as a prequel to Michael Shaara's 1974 Pulitzer Prize-winning work about the Battle of Gettysburg, The Killer Angels. Written by Jeffrey Shaara after his ...more
4
The Red Badge of Courage... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Stephen Crane

First Published: 1895

Subjects: Coming of age, United States of America, American Civil War, History, Virginia

Genres (Book): Fiction

The Red Badge of Courage is a war novel by American author Stephen Crane. Taking place during the American Civil War, the story is about a young private of the Union Army, Henry Fleming, who ...more

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#115 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #33 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read #15 of 169 Books You'll Never Finish Reading

5
The Last Full Measure is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Jeff Shaara

Subjects: American Civil War

Genres (Book): Fiction

The Last Full Measure is the sequel to The Killer Angels and Gods and Generals. Together, the three novels complete an American Civil War trilogy relating events from 1858 to 1865. The Last Full ...more
6
Shiloh is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Shelby Foote

First Published: 1952

Subjects: Literary, Tennessee, United States of America, American Civil War, History

Genres (Book): War novel, Fiction, Historical novel

Original Language: English Language

Shiloh: A Novel is an historical novel about the American Civil War battle of that name, written in 1952 by Shelby Foote. It employs the first-person perspectives of several protagonists, Union ...more
7
Little Women is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Louisa May Alcott

First Published: 1868

Subjects: Literary, Adolescence, New England, Women, 19th century, + more

Genres (Book): Coming of age, Fiction, Novel

Original Language: English Language

Little Women is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott, which was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. Alcott wrote the books rapidly over several months at the request of ...more

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How Greta Gerwig’s ‘Little Women’ Handled Important Moments Compared To The 1994 Film And The Novel #64 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #14 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read

8
Cold Mountain is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Charles Frazier

First Published: 1997

Subjects: Medical, Literary, Military, United States of America, Nursing, + more

Genres (Book): Historical fiction, Fiction, Historical novel

Original Language: English Language

Cold Mountain is a 1997 historical novel by Charles Frazier which won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction. It tells the story of W. P. Inman, a wounded deserter from the Confederate army ...more
9
Andersonville is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
MacKinlay Kantor

First Published: 1955

Subjects: Education, United States of America, American Civil War, History

Genres (Book): Children's literature, Fiction, Historical novel

Original Language: English Language

Andersonville is a novel by MacKinlay Kantor concerning the Confederate prisoner of war camp, Andersonville prison, during the American Civil War. The novel was originally published in 1955, and ...more
10
North and South is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
John Jakes

Subjects: American Civil War

North and South is a 1980s trilogy of best-selling novels by John Jakes which take place before, during, and after the American Civil War. The saga tells the story of the enduring friendship ...more
11
A Blaze of Glory is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Jeff Shaara
A Blaze of Glory is a book written by Jeff Shaara.
12
Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
2probb added Gore Vidal

First Published: 1984

Subjects: Abraham Lincoln, United States of America, American Civil War

Genres (Book): Fiction, Novel

Original Language: English Language

Lincoln is a historical novel, part of the Narratives of Empire series by Gore Vidal. Set during the American Civil War, the novel describes the presidency of Abraham Lincoln through the eyes of ...more
13
The March is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
E. L. Doctorow

First Published: 2005

Subjects: American Civil War, History, South Carolina

Genres (Book): Historical fiction, Fiction

Original Language: English Language

The March is a 2005 historical fiction novel by E. L. Doctorow. It won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award/Fiction.
14
The Black Flower is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Howard Bahr
The Black Flower is a 1997 historical fiction novel written by Howard Bahr. It received numerous accolades, including being named a New York Times Notable Book. Shelby Foote, author of The Civil ...more
15
Heaven and Hell is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
John Jakes

First Published: 1987

Subjects: United States of America, American Civil War, History

Genres (Book): Historical fiction, Fiction

Original Language: English Language

Heaven and Hell is a book published in 1987 that was written by John Jakes.
16
The Year of Jubilo is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Howard Bahr
17
Woe to Live On is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Daniel Woodrell

First Published: 1987

Subjects: United States of America, American Civil War, History

Genres (Book): Children's literature, Fiction, True crime

18
Love and war is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
John Jakes

First Published: 1984

Subjects: Military, United States of America, American Civil War, History

Genres (Book): Fiction

Love and War is a book published in 1984 that was written by John Jakes.
19
Copperhead is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Bernard Cornwell
20
March is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Geraldine Brooks

First Published: 2005

Subjects: Fathers and Daughters, Slavery, United States of America, History

Genres (Book): Fiction, Novel

Original Language: English Language

March is a novel by Geraldine Brooks. It is a novel that retells Louisa May Alcott's novel Little Women from the point of view of Alcott's protagonists' absent father. Brooks has inserted the ...more
21
Battle Flag is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Bernard Cornwell
22
How Can A Man Die Better... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Roy Gaston added Roy V Gaston
23
Ambrose Bierce's Civil W... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
24
Savannah, or, A gift for... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
John Jakes

Subjects: History

25
Rebel is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Bernard Cornwell