The Best Novels About the Civil War

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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    • First Published: 1974
    • Subjects: Literary, Pennsylvania, Literature, Classics, Battle of Gettysburg
    • 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
  • Gods and Generals
    95 votes
    • 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
  • The Last Full Measure
    68 votes
    • 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
  • The Red Badge of Courage
    93 votes
    • 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 flees ...more