If you like "Gods and Generals" by Jeff Shaara...

Thank you for requesting a Book Match from the Central Rappahannock Regional Library. You asked us to match Gods and Generals by Jeff Shaara, and mentioned that you liked well-written biographies. Let’s start with novels which, like Gods and Generals, are historical fiction. Some feature actual historical figures, some chronicle actual events using fictional characters. Some are set in the Civil War, most deal with war.

The killer angels : a novel / Michael Shaara
A sweeping journey to the heart of a country sundered by war--a dramatic and unforgettable novel that brings to life the Battle of Gettysburg. (catalog summary)

Fredericksburg / Kirk Mitchell
A riveting, historically accurate account of one of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War. This gritty novel of the brutal fight wall chronicles the lives of six Irish-Americans, revealing their sufferings and aspirations in both the Old World and the New World. (catalog summary)

Manassas / James Reasoner
"Manassas", by James Reasoner, is the first novel in The Civil War Battles series based on the Brannon family of Culpeper County, Virginia. This initial volume describes the mood in the South prior to the outbreak of hostilities and follows one of the Brannon sons into the army and onto the scene of the first major battle of the war. (catalog summary)

Sharpe's eagle : Richard Sharpe and the Talavera campaign July 1809 / Bernard Cornwell
Bernard Cornwell's action-packed series that captures the gritty texture of Napoleonic warfare…Captain Richard Sharpe prepares to lead his men against the army of Napoleon at Talavera in what will be the bloodiest battle of the war. After their cowardly loss of the regiment's colors, the men's resentment toward the upstart Sharpe turns to treachery, and Sharpe must fight to redeem the honor of his regiment. (catalog summary) Fictional characters.

A close run thing : a novel of Wellington's army of 1815 / Allan Mallinson
The adventures of a British cavalry officer during the Napoleonic Wars. He is Matthew Hervey, 23, whose many acts of daring include a secret mission which enables the Duke of Wellington to win the Battle of Waterloo. (catalog summary)

The sunne in splendour / Sharon Kay Penman
In this stirring historical novel, Sharon Kay Penman redeems Richard III from his villainous role in history as the hulking, evil hunchback. This dazzling recreation of his life is filled with the sights and sounds of battle, and the passions of the highborn. Most of all, it brings to life a gifted man whose greatest sin was that he held principles too firmly for the times in which he lived, and loved too deeply to survive love's loss. (catalog summary)

You may also enjoy the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian, part of which was recently made into the movie Master and Commander, the Horatio Hornblower series by C.S. Forester, or anything by Shelby Foote!

For well-written biographies:

Blue latitudes : boldly going where Captain Cook has gone before / Tony Horwitz
Tony Horwitz vividly recounts Cook's voyages and the exotic scenes the captain encountered: tropical orgies, taboo rituals, cannibal feasts, human sacrifice. He also relives Cook's adventures by following in the captain's wake to places such as Tahiti, Savage Island, and the Great Barrier Reef to discover Cook's embattled legacy in the present day. Signing on as a working crewman aboard a replica of Cook's vessel, Horwitz experiences the thrill and terror of sailing a tall ship. He also explores Cook the man: an impoverished farmboy who broke through the barriers of his class and time to become the greatest navigator in British history. By turns harrowing and hilarious, insightful and entertaining… (catalog summary)

Founding brothers : the revolutionary generation / Joseph J. Ellis
An illuminating study of the intertwined lives of the founders of the American republic--John Adams, Aaron Burr, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. (catalog summary)

Skeletons on the Zahara : a true story of survival / Dean King
When the American cargo ship Commerce ran aground on the northwestern shores of Africa in 1815 along with its crew of 12 Connecticut-based sailors, the misfortunes that befell them came fast and hard, from enslavement to reality-bending bouts of dehydration. King's aggressively researched account of the crew's once-famous ordeal reads like historical fiction, with unbelievable stories of the seamen's endurance of heat stroke, starvation and cruelty by their Saharan slavers… By the time the surviving crew members make it back to their side of civilization, reader and protagonist alike are challenged by new ways of understanding culture clash, slavery and the place of Islam in the social fabric of desert-dwelling peoples. (Publishers Weekly)

Theodore Rex / Edmund Morris
The second entry in Morris's projected three-volume life of Theodore Roosevelt focuses on the presidential years 1901 through early 1909. Impeccably researched and beautifully composed, Morris's book provides what is arguably the best consideration of Roosevelt's presidency ever penned. (Publishers Weekly)

Do any of these appeal to you? If I have missed the essence of what you would like, please don’t hesitate to write us back!

Michele R. Brown
Reference Librarian