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The Best Novels About the Civil War  

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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 Novel of ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Michael Shaara
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
Gods and Generals is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Jeff Shaara
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
3
The Red Badge of Courage is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Stephen Crane
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
4
Gone with the Wind is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Margaret Mitchell
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
5
Shiloh is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Shelby Foote
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
6
The Last Full Measure is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Jeff Shaara
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
7
Andersonville is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
MacKinlay Kantor
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
8
North and South is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
John Jakes
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
9
Cold Mountain is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Charles Frazier
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
10
Little Women is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Louisa May Alcott
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
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
Heaven and Hell is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
John Jakes
Heaven and Hell is a book published in 1987 that was written by John Jakes.
13
Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
2probb added Gore Vidal
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
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
The Year of Jubilo is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Howard Bahr
16
Woe to Live On is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Daniel Woodrell
17
Copperhead is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Bernard Cornwell
18
Savannah, or, A gift for Mr. L... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
19
Love and war is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
John Jakes
Love and War is a book published in 1984 that was written by John Jakes.
20
The March is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
E. L. Doctorow
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.
21
Rebel is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Bernard Cornwell
22
The widow of the south is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Robert Hicks
23
Battle Flag is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Bernard Cornwell
24
Ambrose Bierce's Civil War is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
25
March is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Novels About the Civil War
Geraldine Brooks
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