The “Best” or the “Most Popular” of Civil War Books

Hello, I am alive and still kicking though my blogging has not reflected that as I have been drowning and swimming these past few weeks of my first foray as an A.P. U.S. history teacher.

Anyway, I have been reading — when I can — my fellow bloggers and there has been some chatter concerning a “50 greatest books on the Civil War of all time” via the Old Baldy Civil War Roundtable of Philadelphia who apparently published the results of a poll that resulted in the said list. Eric was happy by the listing of his books while Kevin, predictably, bemoaned that the list reflects the old guard of 55+ white men. (This link is in check with this observation.)

I have no idea if this list reflects old racist white men or stupidity or whatever, but I would bet you that these books outsell and are vastly more popular than the majority of social, racial, or gender based Civil War books that Kevin wishes dominated these lists. Right or wrong, maybe we should call these lists not the “Best” but the “Most Popular.” For the fact of the matter is that history books that deal with great historical figures and great historical events have always and will always dominate such lists. Nothing racial, ageist, sexiest, or anything else about it. Always has been and always will be.

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3 Responses to The “Best” or the “Most Popular” of Civil War Books

  1. Chris,

    Whether it’s best or most popular, I’m still tickled to find one of my books on such a list.

    Having said that, I do agree with you about re-titling the thing.


  2. Your point is well-taken: In Western history, white men have constituted the vast majority of office-holders, military leaders, industrialists, etc. Therefore, most history books are going to focus on – you guessed it – white males.

    However, this did get me thinking about one of my favorite CW books and it doesn’t exactly fit the “old white men” mold: “Sam Bell Maxey and the Confederate Indians” by John C. Waugh (Class of 1846, Reelecting Lincoln, et al) I highly recommend it for those who may be looking for an entertaining read on a Civil War subject that hasn’t been done to death.

  3. Pingback: Blog 4 History: American & Civil War History » Blog Archive » Kevin, Excuse me, Levin, Wants a Link…

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