“Everyman his own historian,” is a quote bandied about in many classrooms, but it is rarely more true than when it is describing Civil War folk. I use the word folk because I have no wish to begin a Sumter-like flame war among readers. There has been enough discussion in the world at large about buffs, fans, experts, academic historians, antiquarians, battlefield walkers, and fiction writers to fill many more pages than those of a simple blog.
We are what we are, and any change in one’s status is a decision that is strictly personal. Here at ECW, we respect all until given a reason to change our opinion.
I have been writing for this blog for almost a year, have read many book reviews (and written a few) and seen countless references to volumes of Civil War history. This makes me think that perhaps it is time to look at our own libraries. After all, that is where both our money and our mouths are.
My plan is to choose the ten books I think should be in everyone’s personal Civil War library. My choices will reflect my personal views, my experience, and my taste, but I am an easy-going, open-minded sort of person who can graciously lose an argument when truly bested.
I will begin my series with an upcoming review of Bruce Catton’s iconic trilogy Mr. Lincoln’s Army, Glory Road, and A Stillness At Appomattox. I use the titles because Catton wrote several trilogies about the Civil War, and even I got confused when doing some amazon,com research.
I would like to open this series to discussion and suggestions, and even a post or so if I neglect to include a reader’s nomination for The Best Book Ever Written About . . ..
The 100th, or Centennial of the Civil War resulted in the increase of available information on the War. The 150th, or Sesquicentennial, is doing the same. Let us spend our money wisely.
 Carl Becker, “Everyman His Own Historian,” American Historical Review, Vol. 37, Issue 22, 221-236. http://www.historians.org/info/AHA_history/clbecker.htm.