I’m not sure when I first became aware of the American Civil War series of books put out by the people at Time-Life. However, I do remember wanting a complete set. Back in the day, the books were released incrementally. So much per volume, released once a month or so.


My set of the Civil War Series books from Time–Life

This past summer, for my birthday, I received a complete set of these wonderful books—my wife loves me. When I first received the series, I thought they’d make nice reference material, but did not intend to read them cover-to-cover. I considered them nice volumes with good illustrations and pictures, but thought the narrative would be shallow. I was wrong and have determined to read all 28 volumes this year. The twenty-eight volumes in order are:

  1. Brother Against Brother – The War Begins
  2. First Blood – Fort Sumter to Bull Run
  3. The Blockade – Runners and Raiders
  4. The Road to Shiloh – Early Battles in the West
  5. Forward to Richmond – McClellan’s Peninsular Campaign
  6. Decoying the Yanks – Jackson’s Valley Campaign
  7. Confederate Ordeal – The Southern Home Front
  8. Lee Takes Command – From Seven Days to Second Bull Run
  9. The Coastal War – Chesapeake Bay to Rio Grande
  10. Tenting Tonight – The Soldier’s Life
  11. The Bloodiest Day – The Battle of Antietam
  12. War on the Mississippi – Grant’s Vicksburg Campaign
  13. Rebels Resurgent – Fredericksburg to Chancellorsville
  14. Twenty Million Yankees – The Northern Home Front
  15. Gettysburg – The Confederate High Tide
  16. The Struggle for Tennessee – Tupelo to Stones River
  17. The Fight For Chattanooga – Chickamauga to Missionary Ridge
  18. Spies, Scouts and Raiders – Irregular Operations
  19. Battles For Atlanta – Sherman Moves East
  20. The Killing Ground – Wilderness to Cold Harbor
  21. Sherman’s March – Atlanta to the Sea
  22. Death in the Trenches – Grant at Petersburg
  23. War on the Frontier – The Trans-Mississippi West
  24. The Shenandoah in Flames – The Valley Campaign of 1864
  25. Pursuit to Appomattox – The Last Battles
  26. The Assassination – Death of the President
  27. The Nation Reunited – War’s Aftermath
  28. Master Index – An Illustrated Guide

There is one additional volume.

soldierA 432-page excerpt hardcover variant edition, its chapter organization roughly following the series title order as released, was concurrently published in 1990 by educational publisher Prentice Hall as Brother against brother, Time-Life Books history of the Civil War (ISBN 0139218181), as well as by Time-Life itself in a dust jacket for the general populace under the same title (ISBN 0809478471), and was subsequently reprinted as The Time-Life history of the Civil War by Barnes & Noble Books in 1995 (ISBN 1566199026). Renowned Civil War historian James M. McPherson (who had not contributed to the main series) provided the foreword for the excerpt edition.1

I own that volume too—it’s the one in the red slip cover in the picture.

I have read the first volume and will be posting a review of it soon. Other reviews will appear here as I write them.

Why do I read and blog about the Civil War? It’s over 150 years old after all. I read about it because I grew up near Gettysburg and have always had an interest in that war. I also read about it because there is no other event like it in our history. The Revolutionary War made us a nation, but we were not truly united until the Civil War. Historian Shelby Foote remarked that before the war people spoke of the United States as “are”—the United States are… signifying a group of states. After the war people began to speak of the United States is…, as if it were one entity. In an ironic turn of history, a war for disunion brought unity and made us an “is.” That’s why I study this war and write about it.
1 from Wikipedia