Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cosmic America Office Hours: What Was the First Civil War Book I Ever Read?

Greetings Cosmic Americans!

Joel from New Hampshire just had to know - so here you have it. The Civil War by Bruce Catton was a Christmas gift from my grandparents back in 1980. I read it cover to cover, loved it, and I have been a Catton fan ever since. My 1980 edition has been with me through all my travels...the well-worn dust jacket should serve to illustrate that.

[caption id="attachment_2005" align="alignright" width="201" caption="My 1980 edition of The Civil War by Bruce all its glory. "][/caption]

At 13, I had looked in to the Civil War already and I had seen a number of things that caught my attention. Naturally, the family yarns about our Confederate ancestors from Lawrence County, Alabama kept me spellbound. But Catton's work was the first that drove some of the principle issues home. Even way back then, I had a sneaking suspicion that Civil War history would be my life's work. It was either that or becoming a rock star. If I could only figure out a way to combine the two....

And remember - if you have a question about the Civil War and want it answered on Office Hours - tweet me or just post it in the comment section!



  1. I think mine was James McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom. I actually have not yet read Bruce Catton's series or Allan Nevins' works...yet.

  2. Catton, Stillness at Appomattox--I was 13. I reread it as an homage after I defended my dissertation. Its still held up.