Civil War - U.S. -- fiction

March by Geraldine Brooks

March by Geraldine Brooks

“If war can ever be said to be just, then this war is so; it is action for a moral cause, with the most rigorous of intellectual underpinnings. And yet everywhere I turn, I see injustice done in the waging of it. “ - March

In Louisa Alcott’s Little Women, Mr. March’s largest role in the narrative is that his daughters are perpetually waiting for his letters home. In March, Geraldine Brooks traces his story as he enlists to become a Union chaplain, experiences many horrors of war, and eventually finds himself tutoring freed slaves (“contraband”) on a destitute cotton plantation. His cheerful letters home to Marmee contrast with the terrible details he confides to the reader but does not write home about: the pervasive racism; cruelty; and suffering that he encounters in a number of different encounters.

If you like Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCaig

Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCaig

This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids.  You can browse the book matches here.

Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCaig: "Through Rhett's eyes we meet the people who shaped his larger than life personality as it sprang from Margaret Mitchell's unforgettable pages: Langston Butler, Rhett's unyielding father; Rosemary his steadfast sister; Tunis Bonneau, Rhett's best friend and a onetime slave; Belle Watling, the woman for whom Rhett cared long before he met Scarlett O'Hara at Twelve Oaks Plantation, on the fateful eve of the Civil War. Of course there is Scarlett. Katie Scarlett O'Hara, the headstrong, passionate woman whose life is inextricably entwined with Rhett's: more like him than she cares to admit; more in love with him than she'll ever know." (Book summary)

If you like Rhett Butler's People, then you may also like:

These titles are works that offer new takes on classic books:

March by Geraldine Brooks
Imagines the Civil War experiences of the father of the "Little Women" family.



Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Did you ever wonder what caused Mr. Rochester's wife to go mad? This novel tells her story.




Red Moon at Sharpsburg

Rosemary Wells

When the Civil War breaks out, life in the South is transformed and nothing remains the same. India Moody must summon the courage she didn’t know she had to plunge into one of the war’s most tragic and terrifying events—the Battle of Antietam, known in the South as Sharpsburg—in order to get medicine to her desperately sick father. As she struggles for survival during the Union’s brutal occupation, India gets an education in love and loss, the senseless devastation of war, and the triumph of hope in the face of despair.

High School
Middle School

Bold Sons of Erin by Owen Parry

Bold Sons of Erin cover

You have to love living in Fredericksburg! I enjoy walking my dogs through the forest paths of the Fredericksburg Battlefields, but you have to be out of the park by sundown because the park police lock the gate.  One evening I was hurrying down the darkening path before sunset when I heard footsteps behind me.  When I turned around to see who was walking behind me, I saw a Confederate soldier coming out of the shadows of the path.  I was being followed by a ghost and I don’t even believe in ghosts!  I made a mental note to talk to my Supervisor at the library about getting some time off for my mental health.  As I came to the edge of the woods and climbed up the hill into the clearing with a little extra daylight I could see that there were Confederate soldiers milling around everywhere.  I had to be smack dab in the middle of a re-enactment.  Whew! That was relief - scratch the request for a mental health day!

If you love mysteries and the Civil War, then you might enjoy Owen Parry books.  The main character is Major Abel Jones, who is an unassuming tiny man who walks with a limp and uses a cane.  He is a Welsh immigrant to America who serves in the United States army, but previously served in the British army in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Now he is a secret investigator for President Lincoln.  In Bold Sons of Erin, Major Abel is sent by Lincoln to investigate the sudden death of General Stone.  The book begins with Abel arranging to dig up the grave of General Stone.  When it is opened, he finds the body of a young girl who has been stabbed to death buried in the grave of the General. 

Witness in Heaven

By Gilbert Morris

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The tenth book in Gilbert Morris's sweeping and personal history of the Civil War, "A Witness in Heaven" retells the classic Pygmalion tale--set against the gold fields in Colorado and the war-ravaged landscape around Richmond.

Part of his Appomattox Saga.

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Nowhere Else on Earth

By Josephine Humphreys

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"In the summer of 1864, the citizens of Robeson County on the banks of the Lumbee River in North Carolina have become pawns in the devastation created by the Civil War. The Indian community, loosely known as Scuffletown, lives in fear of the marauding Union Army but is also hectored by the desperate Home Guard, hell-bent on conscripting the youth into deadly forced labor in the forts and salt works of the Confederacy.

"These are the circumstances under which we meet sixteen-year-old Rhoda Strong, the daughter of a sweetly morose Scotsman and his formidable Lumbee wife. Rhoda is fiercely loyal to her family but is also fiercely in love with young Henry Berry Lowrie, who, although being hunted as an outlaw, is cut of heroic cloth and is, finally, a man whose moral fiber dictates his every move."

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Marching through Culpeper

By Virginia Beard Morton

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"From 1861 to 1865, Culpeper County - located between Washington, D.C. and Richmond - changed hands numerous times and witnessed the movement of more troops than any locale in the nation. The book's characters, based on real soldiers and citizens, relate an authentic day-to-day feel of how it all happened, and the bloodshed and inconceivable privations that they endured. Through this unique Southern vantage point, we gain a perspective of the war rarely seen in traditional history books.

"At the heart of the story are spirited eighteen-year-old Constance Armstrong and her childhood friend, Frank Stringfellow. Constance, strong and intelligent, supports her family by running a bookstore. Two Rebels and a Yankee vie for her affection amidst the chaos of war. Frank, an irrepressible daredevil, becomes a scout and spy for J.E.B. Stuart and undertakes countless hair-raising adventures.

"On and off the battlefield, Marching Through Culpeper exposes the human side of such heroes as John Pelham, J.E.B. Stuart, A.P. Hill, and George Armstrong Custer. This rich tapestry of life in a war-torn community is a story of the human spirit and the power of love."

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By Janet Dailey

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The Civil War threatens to destroy the romance between a Harvard-educated Cherokee Indian and the daughter of a Union officer, in a fast-paced novel... .
The sequel to The Proud and the Free.

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Mother of the Bride

By Patricia Tichenor Westfall

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It would be a challenge enough for perpetual list-maker Molly West, the director of a meal-delivery program in southern Ohio, to plan an ordinary wedding for her daughter. But this is no ordinary wedding. Molly's daughter wants the ceremony to be a costumed Civil War reenactment - and the date is only two months away. To complicate matters, Sheriff Matins warns Molly that an escaped convict is on his way to their Appalachian county, intent on disrupting more than just the wedding plans.

Then a bridesmaid finds a skeleton hidden in the caves beneath her historic home - caves once used by slaves fleeing the Confederacy. Is the skeleton the remains of a forgotten Union soldier, or a more recent victim of an unsolved murder? When the case brings local stories of Civil War-era struggles back to life, Molly and her friends realize that their tight-knit community hides more than one unpleasant secret.

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By Marilynne Robinson

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"In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames is the son of an Iowa preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision of Christ bound in chains and came west to Kansas to fight for abolition: He 'preached men into the Civil War,' then, at age fifty, became a chaplain in the Union Army, losing his right eye in battle. Reverend Ames writes to his son about the tension between his father - an ardent pacifist--and his grandfather, whose pistol and bloody shirts, concealed in an army blanket, may be relics from the fight between the abolitionists and those settlers who wanted to vote Kansas into the union as a slave state. And he tells a story of the sacred bonds between fathers and sons, which are tested in his tender and strained relationship with his namesake, John Ames Boughton, his best friend's wayward son.

"This is also the tale of another remarkable vision--not a corporeal vision of God but the vision of life as a wondrously strange creation. It tells how wisdom was forged in Ames's soul during his solitary life, and how history lives through generations, pervasively present even when betrayed and forgotten."

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