Civil War Fiction Booklist

Civil War fiction titles which received starred reviews.

A list of books, many of which received at least one starred review (indicating a work of unusual merit) from the following review sources: Booklist (BL), Publisher's Weekly (PW), Kirkus, and Library Journal (LJ). Additional titles of interest may be included on this list. Titles are listed by date, then alphabetically by author.

Annotations are from Advance, the Ingram Book Magazine, unless noted.


  • Rebels of Babylon
    Author: Parry, Owen
    Publisher: HarperCollins $ 24.95 ISBN: 0060513926 Date: 2005
    Civil War detective Abel Jones investigates murder and theft in New Orleans in this dark and rich sixth installment in the Hammett and Herodotus award-winning series.
    Suggested Reading: New Orleans | Historical Crime Fiction Stars
    Updated 1.5.05




  • Paradise Alley
    Author: Baker, Keith
    Publisher: HarperCollins $ 26.95 ISBN: 0060195827
    starKirkus starPW
    Three Irish immigrant women become trapped together in New York City during the Draft Riots of the Civil War. Paradise Alley is a story of the intersection of the Irish- and African-American experiences in the crucible of 19th century New York--a story of race and hatred, love and war, of risk and dauntless courage.
    Suggested Reading: Historical Fiction Stars
  • Shadows of Blue and Gray: The Civil War Writings of Ambrose Bierce
    Author: Bierce, Ambrose
    Publisher: Forge $ 24.95 ISBN: 0786302446
  • Enemy Women
    Author: Jiles, Paulette
    Publisher: Morrow $ 24.95 ISBN: 0066214440
    starKirkus starPW starLJ
    The Colley family are modest farmers in the Missouri Ozarks. The Colleys try to remain neutral, a fact ignored by the Union militia who confiscate their livestock, burn their farm, and arrest their daughter on charges of "enemy collaboration." Yet as this innocent young woman soon discovers, fate can have a double edge. In unsentimental yet elegant prose, Jiles reveals the universal horrors of war and its irreparable damage, and introduces a wonderful new character in a memorable story.
  • Our Simple Gifts: Civil War Christmas Tales
    Author: Parry, Owen
    Publisher: Morrow $ 14.95 ISBN: 0060013788
    In these wonderfully poignant tales, Parry transports readers to a faraway world--a place fraught with despair and uncertainty, where only the holiday spirit could bring hope: the American Civil War. Told in the authentic voices of those who lived and fought during the conflict, here are four stories that embody the simple yet often forgotten pleasures that define the season.
    Suggested Reading: Historical Fiction Stars
    Updated 9.9.02
  • The Sands of Pride: A Novel of the Civil War
    Author: Trotter, William R.
    Publisher: Carroll & Graf $ 28 ISBN:0786710136
    Suggested Reading: Historical Fiction Stars
    Updated 4/18/02


  • Gob's Grief
    Author: Adrian, Chris
    Publisher: Broadway $ 24.95 ISBN: 0767902815
    starKirkus starLJ
    In 1863, 11-year-old Tomo Woodhill runs off to fight in the Civil War, during which he takes a bullet in the eye and dies. His brother, Gob, grows up in a state of grief. As an adult studying to be a doctor in New York City, he has an idea to build a machine that might bring Tomo--indeed, all the war dead--back to life.
  • Call Each River Jordan
    Author: Parry, Owen
    Publisher: Morrow $ 25 ISBN: 0060186380
    Confidential agent for the Lincoln administration, Abel Jones is dispatched to the South to uncover the truth behind the massacre of 40 runaway slaves. This new historical novel by the author of Shadows of Glory was chosen as one of the Best Books of 2000 by the Washington Post Book World and St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
    Suggested Reading: Historical Mystery Stars
    Updated 10/12/01
  • The Wolf Pit
    Author: Youmans, Marly
    Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux $ 24 ISBN: 0374291950
    The Wolf Pit offers a gripping portrait of two young Virginians forever altered by violence and civil war: Robin, a Confederate soldier, enduring life at the Elmira prison camp, and Agate, the daughter of a hired-out slave, who struggles to survive loss and degradation and to pit knowledge and truth against evil.


The Year of Jubilo: A Novel of the Civil War
Author: Bahr, Howard
Publisher: Henry Holt $ 25 ISBN: 0805059725
starKirkus starPW
Written with scrupulous respect for historical accuracy, The Year of Jubilo is the story of Civil War soldier Gawain Harper, who returns to his home in Cumberland, Mississippi, only to find that a showdown awaits him that once again pits South against North, and dignity against defeat.

  • Suspension
    Author: Crabbe, Richard E.
    Publisher: St Martins $ 27.95 ISBN: 0312203713 Date: 2000
    starLibrary Journal
    In this thrilling first novel in the tradition of The Alienist and The Great Bridge, a small group of die-hard Confederates, led by their fanatical captain, endeavors to destroy the Great East River Bridge nearly 20 years after the war.
    Suggested Reading: Debuts | Historical Mystery Stars
    Updated 9/7/00
  • In the Fall
    Author: Lent, Jeffrey
    Publisher: Atlantic Monthly $ 25 ISBN: 0871137658
    starKirkus starPW starBooklist
    "An extraordinary first novel that bears no resemblance to a first novel" (Jim Harrison), In the Fall tells the heartrending story of three generations of an interracial American family, from the end of the Civil War to the Great Depression.

    The Other Side: A Novel of the Civil War
    Author: McColley, Kevin
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster $ 24 ISBN: 0684857626
    In the tradition of Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels, the author of Praying to a Laughing God takes an epic look at the Civil War through the eyes of one young man, as he makes a harrowing journey from the innocence of Ohio farm life to the violence of the battlefield.


    Buckskin Line
    Author: Kelton, Elmer
    From a six-time Spur Award winner comes the story of a Texas Ranger who carries heavy burdens. The father and brother of the woman he loves have been lynched, and he is fated to meet the Comanche warrior whose band killed his family.

    Prayer for the Dying
    Author: O'Nan, Stewart
    starBooklist starPW starLJ
    Dark, poetic, and chilling, A Prayer for the Dying asks if it's possible to be a good man in a time of madness as members of a town succumb to a fatal epidemic.

    Faded Coat of Blue
    Author: Parry, Owen
    A riveting and original tale of crime, detection, and punishment set amid the blood and tumult of the American Civil War - for fans of such books as The Alienist and Cold Mountain.


    Author: Banks, Russell
    This brilliant recounting of the events surrounding John Brown's legendary raid on the armory at Harper's Ferry is a masterpiece of modern American storytelling.

    The Silent
    Author: Dann, Jack
    The internationally bestselling author of The Memory Cathedral now renders an extraordinary novel about a boy coming of age during the Civil War.

    On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon
    Author: Gibbons, Kaye
    In the year 1900--on the afternoon she suspects might be the last in her long, eventful life--Emma Garnet Tate Lowell sets down on paper what came before, determined to make an honest account of it. She recalls her life on the plantation, her marriage to a Boston surgeon, her survival of the Civil War, and the terrible secret which shaped her father's life.

    A Soldier's Book
    Author: Higgins, Joanna
    starBL starPW
    In this powerful and historically accurate novel, a young Union soldier, on his way to the notorious Andersonville prison camp, shares the horrific details of a world that is growing ever more barbaric and absurd, with its "dead lines, " starvation, cruelty, filth, and false rumors of exchange.

    Jacob's Ladder: A Story of Virginia During the War
    Author: McCaig, Donald
    starPW starLJ
    A novel that resonates with the bitter glory and deep human shame of the Confederacy. Against the epic canvas of the Civil War, the people, black and white, of one Virginia plantation fulfill their unforgettable destinies.

    Dead March
    Author: McMillan, Ann
    The first in a new mystery series that takes place during the Civil War. Two women from opposite ends of society investigate the murder of a slave woman and risk their lives to find the killer and save the life of an innocent child. Also: Angel Trumpet: A Civil War Mystery

    Author: Robertson, David
    starLJ starPW
    In the tradition of The Alienist and Time and Again, this spellbinding first novel recounts the tragic coming of age of a young man, who is unwittingly manipulated into helping John Wilkes Booth assassinate President Lincoln.

    prior to 1998

    Author: Bahr, Howard
    Title: The Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War
    One of the most riveting Civil War novels since Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels", this powerful book tells the story of a young Confederate rifleman who comes under the care of a young Southern woman who, even in the midst of battle and defeat, manages to find ways to express her love.

    Author: Bass, Cynthia
    Title: Sherman's March
    Bass treats this infamous turning point in our country's past with exquisite and tragic detail and breathes new life and honesty into an event that has long since ossified from truth into legend. Told from the perspectives of three different characters, this novel shows both the utter devastation of the march--and its utter necessity.

    Author: Cornwell, Bernard
    Title: Copperhead: Starbuck Chronicles #2

    Author: Dyja, Thomas
    Title: Play for a Kingdom
    starPW starKirkus
    An extraordinary novel of our nation in the cauldron of the Civil War, Play for a Kingdom vividly recreates America in the counterpoint of the bloody battle of Spotsylvania, and a series of baseball games played between two companies on opposite sides of the war.

    Author: Frazier, Charles
    Title: Cold Mountain
    The #1 national bestseller and National Book Award Winner. A Confederate soldier's trek brings him into intimate and sometimes lethal converse with slaves and marauders, bounty hunters and witches, both helpful and malign, as he makes his way to his home in the Blue Ridge mountains .

    Author: Gurganus, Allan
    Title: The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells ALl
    A major literary event . . . an astonishing first novel of the South from the Civil War to the present in the voice of the woman who lived through it all. Sections of the book have appeared in Paris Review, Antaeus, Harper's, Atlantic and The New Yorker.

    Author: Quinn, Peter
    Title: Banished Children of Eve
    It's the third year of the Civil War and the North is about to impose its first military draft, sparking in New York City the most devastating and destructive riot in American history. Quinn brings to life a pivotal period in this country's history through a myriad of characters.

    And, of course:

    Author: Brown, Rita Mae
    Title: High Hearts

    Author: Crane, Stephen
    Title: The Red Badge of Courage

    Author: Foote, Shelby
    Title: Shiloh

    Author: Jakes, John
    Title: North and South

    Author: Mitchell, Margaret
    Title: Gone with the Wind

    Author: Nagle, P.G.
    Title: Glorieta

    Author: Olds, Bruce
    Title: Raising Holy Hell

    Author: Shaara, Jeff
    Title: The Last Full Measure and Gods and Generals

    Author: Shaara, Michael
    Title: The Killer Angels


    Ann Arbor Library Booklist
    American Civil War Web Site
    Civil War@ Smithsonian
    Springfield Library Civil War Booklist

    Seeing Stars

    Annotated lists of books receiving at least one starred review from one of four major review sources: Booklist, Kirkus, LJ and PW.

    2012 Lists

    more stars lists...

    Hotlists@ Google Docs

    Crime Fiction... 2012 | 2011

    Fiction... 2012 | 2011

    (lists of new and notable books - lists are sortable and can be downloaded)


    book mark Overbooked

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