Virginia History Books

Browse selected volumes on popular topics, such as the Civil War, the American Revolution, Fredericksburg, and the surrounding counties. These titles are updated frequently, so check back often for more recommendations. Most books can be requested and checked out from your home library branch. Use the menu below to limit your search to areas that interest you.

For students wanting historical tales--true and otherwise--check out our lists of Virginia History Books for Kids.

Bleeding Blue and Gray: Civil War Surgery and the Evolution of American Medicine

By Ira M. Rutkow

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"...surgeon and medical historian Rutkow argues that it is impossible to grasp the realities of the Civil War without an awareness of the state of medicine at the time. The use of ether and chloroform remained crude, and they were often unavailable--so many surgical procedures were performed without anesthesia, on the battleground or in a field hospital. This meant that "clinical concerns were often of less consequence than the swiftness of the surgeon's knife." Also, the existence of pathogenic microorganisms was still unknown, as was disinfection. From the soldiers who endured the ravages of combat to the government officials who directed the war machine, from the good Samaritans who organized aid commissions to the nurses who cared for the wounded, this book presents a story of suffering, politics, character, and, ultimately, healing."
(From the publisher's description)

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Bloody Roads South: The Wilderness to Cold Harbor, May-June 1864

By Noah Andre Trudeau

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In this authoritative chronicle of the great 1864 Overland Campaign in Virginia, Noah Andre Trudeau vividly re-creates the brutal forty days that marked the beginning of the end of the Civil War. In riveting detail Trudeau traces the carnage from the initial battles in Virginia's Wilderness to the gruesome hand-to-hand combat at Spotsylvania's "Bloody Angle," to the ingenious trap laid by Lee at the North Anna River, to the killing ground of Cold Harbor.
Through fascinating eyewitness accounts, he relates the human stories behind this epic saga. Common soldiers struggle to find the words to describe the agony of their comrades, incredible tales of individual valor, their own mortality. Also recounting their experiences are the women who nursed these soldiers and black troops who were getting their first taste of battle. The raw vitality of battle sketches by Edwin Forbes and Alfred R. Waud complement the words of the participants.
From the publisher's description

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Brabbling Women: Disorderly Speech and the Law in Early Virginia

By Terri L. Snyder

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Outspoken Virginia women left their mark in the proceedings of the colonial courts.  Author Terri Snyder exhumes and examines the circumstances surrounding some cases that touched on women's issues.

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Brady's Civil War

By Webb Garrison

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This is a collection of Civil War images photographed by Mathew Brady and his assistants. On page 79, view the destruction on the Fredericksburg battlefield caused by a single projectile fired by gunners of the 2nd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery. Pages 152 and 153 show federal engineers rebuilding the town's infrastructure. Although the caption states that the rail track near the Potomac is being repaired, the photograph clearly refers to the Rappahannock. The photograph on page 232 shows the remains of the Phillips house that had been seized by General Burnside during his assault on the town. Look on page 251 for the last Fredericksburg photograph that Brady took. He used a telescopic lens and climbed to the top of a railroad bridge to make this photo of a group of men under the command of Robert E. Lee.

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Building Early American Furniture

By Joseph W. Daniele

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From the Early American Society series.  Another volume owed by the CRRL is Building Colonial Furnishings, Miniatures, and Folk Art.

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C.S.S. Virginia: Mistress of Hampton Roads

By John V. Quarstein

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A lengthy account of the naval battle. Available to read in the Virginiana Room.
Part of the Virginia Regimental Histories series.

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Caring for Your Historic House

By Heritage Preservation and the National Park Service

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"Leading preservationists provide expert advice, illustrated with photographs and explanatory line drawings, on every aspect of the subject, including: -- structural systems, roofs, and windows-- masonry, woodwork, plaster, paint, and wallpapers-- mechanical and electrical systems-- kitchens and bathrooms-- landscaping-- fire protection, insurance appraisals, and tax and estate planning-- developing and carrying out a maintenance plan-- identifying appropriate materials and procedures for repair-- determining if professional help is needed, and choosing the best help available."
(From the publisher's description)

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Chesapeake Rumrunners of the Roaring Twenties

By Eric Mills

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Focusing on the Chesapeake Bay area, Mills (a journalist and historian associated with the U.S. Naval Institute) depicts those on both sides of the law during prohibition--bootleggers, still-operators, and mobsters, as well as the police, federal agents, Coast Guardsmen, and temperance crusaders. His account draws from local lore, with the backing of newspaper reports and government documents.
(From the publisher's description)

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Chesapeake Waters: Four Centuries of Controversy, Concern, and Legislation

By Steven G. Davison

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"...chronicles four centuries of public attitudes about the Bay - and legislative responses to them - from 1607, the date of the first English settlement in Jamestown, Virginia, to the close of the twentieth century. In the last few decades, wide-reaching measures by federal and local governments have influenced how people use the Bay: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency completed a massive study of Bay quality; the Chesapeake Bay Program was launched; the Critical Area Protection Act went into effect."
(From the publisher's description)

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Civil War Medicine: 1861-1865

By C. Keith Wilbur

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A good choice for getting a grounding in the subject or school reports. Many illustrations.

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