Civil War Era Novels

All Kansas City Public Library locations will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 26, and will remain closed all day Thursday, November 27, for Thanksgiving.

These historical novels all take place during the Civil War or immediately afterward.

Related event:
Robert Hicks discusses A Separate Country, Oct. 6, 2009

A Separate Country
By Robert Hicks
Set in New Orleans in the years after the Civil War, A Separate Country is based on the incredible life of John Bell Hood, arguably one of the most controversial generals of the Confederate Army – and one of its most tragic figures. Robert E. Lee promoted him to major general after the Battle of Antietam. But the Civil War would mark him forever. At Gettysburg, he lost the use of his left arm. At the Battle of Chickamauga, his right leg was amputated. A Separate Country is the heartrending story of a decent and good man who struggled with his inability to admit his failures – and the story of those who taught him to love, and to be loved, and transformed him. 

The Widow of the South book jacket

The Widow of the South
By Robert Hicks
This debut novel is based on the true story of Carrie McGavock. During the Civil War's Battle of Franklin, a five-hour bloodbath with 9,200 casualties, McGavock's home was turned into a field hospital where four generals died. For 40 years she tended the private cemetery on her property where more than 1,000 were laid to rest.

The March
By E.L. Doctorow
In the last years of the Civil War, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman marched 60,000 Union troops through Georgia and the Carolinas, cutting a 60-mile wide swath of pillage and destruction. That event comes back in this magisterial novel.

The Amalgamation Polka
By Stephen Wright
In 1844, Liberty Fish is born to fervent New York abolitionists, but he is also grandson of Carolina slave holders who are just as dedicated to their beliefs as his parents. During the Civil War, and caught between these two conflicting values, Liberty searches for a way and a place to escape the nightmare.

Redemption Falls book jacket

Redemption Falls
By Joseph O'Connor
1865. The Civil War is ending. Eighteen years after the Irish famine-ship "Star of the Sea" docked at New York, a daughter of its journey, Eliza Duane Mooney, sets out on foot from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, crossing a ravaged continent on a quest. Eliza is searching for a young boy she has not seen in four years, one of the hundred thousand children drawn into the war. His fate has been mysterious and will prove extraordinary.

Coal Black Horse
By Robert Olmstead
When Robey Childs's mother has a premonition about her husband, a soldier fighting in the Civil War, she does the unthinkable: she instructs her only child to find his father on the battlefield and bring him home.

The Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War
By Howard Bahr
When a young Confederate rifleman named Bushrod Carter is wounded and taken to a makeshift hospital, he comes under the care of Anna, who has already lost two potential romances to battle. Bushrod and Anna's attempt to forge a bond in the midst of pathos and horror is a powerful reminder that the war that divided America will not vanish quietly into pages of history.

Book descriptions provided by BookLetters.

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