Civil War 150 Readers
Download reading and discussion guides that include: a selection of primary documents drawn from the four-volume series The Civil War: Told by Those Who Lived It, published by The Library of America, with introductions by eminent scholars and discussion questions.
Civil War Reader #1 (Single-page spread) | Civil War Reader #1 (2-page spread)
Civil War Reader #2 (Single-page spread) | Civil War Reader #2 (2-page spread)
Civil War Reader #3 (Single-page spread) | Civil War Reader #3 (2-page spread)
Civil War Reader #4 (Single-page spread) | Civil War Reader #4 (2-page spread)
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EDSITEment! - The American Civil War
EDSITEment! - Literature of the Civil War
Suggested Reading for Further Study
Causes behind the Civil War:
Gallagher, Gary. The Union War. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011.
Foner, Eric. Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War. New York: Oxford University Press, 1970.
McPherson, James M. For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
Simpson, Brooke D., Stephen W. Sears, and Aaron Charles Sheehan-Dean, eds. The Civil War: The First Year Told by Those Who Lived It. New York: The Library of America, 2011.
Slavery, Abolition, and Race:
Andrews, William L., and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., eds., Slave Narratives. New York: The Library of America, 2000.
Blight, David, ed. A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Own Narratives of Emancipation. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Books, 2007.
Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., ed. Frederick Douglass: Autobiographies. New York: The Library of America, 1994.
Horton, James Oliver, and Lois E. Horton. Slavery and the Making of America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Jacobs, Harriet A. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Edited by L. Maria Child. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000.
Oakes, James. The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007.
Women in the War and on the Home Front:
Blanton, DeAnne, and Lauren M. Cook. They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the American Civil War. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2002.
Faust, Drew Gilpin. This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008.
Giesberg, Judith Ann. Army at Home: Women and the Civil War on the Northern Home Front. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009.
Bearss, Edwin C. Fields of Honor: Pivotal Battles of the Civil War. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 2006.
Groom, Winston. Shiloh, 1862. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 2012.
Hyslop, Stephen. Atlas of the Civil War: A Complete Guide to the Tactics and Terrain of Battle. Edited by Neil Kagan. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 2009.
Keegan, John. The American Civil War: A Military History. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
McFeely, Mary Drake, and William S. McFeely, eds. Ulysses S. Grant: Memoirs and Selected Letters. New York: The Library of America, 1990.
Lincoln and His Legacy:
Boritt, Gabor S. The Lincoln Enigma: The Changing Faces of an American Icon. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
Carwardine, Richard. Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006.
Donald, David Herbert, and Harold Holzer. Lincoln in the Times: The Life of Abraham Lincoln, as Originally Reported in the New York Times. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005.
Fehrenbacher, Don E., ed. Abraham Lincoln: Speeches and Writings, New York: The Library of America, 1989.
Foner, Eric. The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010.
Goodwin, Doris Kearns. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005.
Guelzo, Allen C. Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999.
Holzer, Harold, ed. The Lincoln Anthology: Great Writers on His Life and Legacy from 1860 to Now. New York: The Library of America, 2009.
Lehrman, Lewis. Lincoln at Peoria: The Turning Point: Getting Right with the Declaration of Independence. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2008.
McPherson, James M. Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief. New York: Penguin Press, 2008.
Neely, Mark E., Jr. The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
Swanson, James L. Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer. New York: Harper Perennial, 2007.
Williams, Frank J. Judging Lincoln. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2002.
Wilson, Douglas L. Lincoln’s Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006.
Gallagher, Gary, Stephen D. Engle, Joseph T. Glatthar, and Robert K. Krick. The American Civil War: This Mighty Scourge of War. Oxford: Osprey, 2003.
McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
Sears, Stephen W., ed. The Civil War: The Second Year Told by Those Who Lived It. New York: The Library of America, 2012.
Related Web Resources
Please visit the following websites for additional information regarding topics introduced in the Civil War 150 readers.
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History’s History by Era
Material on nineteenth-century culture and the Civil War
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History’s Online Journal History Now
- Primary Sources on Slavery (Issue 2, Winter 2004)
- Abolition (Issue 5, Fall 2005)
- Lincoln (Issue 6, Winter 2005)
- Abraham Lincoln in His Time and Ours (Issue 18, Winter 2008)
- New Interpretations of the Civil War (Issue 26, Winter 2010)
United States Civil War
Basic background information concerning the Civil War.
National Park Service Civil War Website
A critical analysis of the Civil War through the stories, people, and places that were central to the war.
The Making of America
A digital library of primary source material covering the antebellum period through Reconstruction. Search collection by title, author, or subject to find Civil War resources.
Civil War Trust
Civil War battlefield information as well as educational resources.
The Civil War
A companion site to Ken Burns’ Civil War documentary. Includes an image browser, maps, biographies, and related links.
Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861–1877
Selected primary source content available online at the Library of Congress.
Documenting the American South
A wide range of maps, photographs, printed works, Confederate currency, manuscripts, and diaries.
The Valley of the Shadow
A collection of original letters, diaries, newspapers, and speeches detailing the lives of two American communities, one Northern and one Southern.
The Civil War in Art
Resources to help teachers and students learn about various Civil War topics and events through art.
A Sampler of Civil War Literature
Online access to fifteen Civil War stories from the pages of Harper’s Weekly.
Have Fun with History
A compilation of short videos pertaining to different topics throughout the Civil War.
The Presidential Elections 1860–1912
Cartoons, posters, campaign materials, and other information concerning key presidential elections during the Civil War and beyond.
A House Divided: America in the Age of Lincoln
A useful overview of the Civil War, including its causes, content, and consequences.
Various drafts of the war’s most famous address with supporting documents and commentary from the Library of Congress.
Civil War Maps
Maps collected from the Library of Congress, the Virginia Historical Society, and the Library of Virginia.
Civil War Battles by State
A selection of Civil War maps organized by state.
Poetry and Music
A collection of poems and songs written during and after the war.
Civil War: Letters and Diaries
A collection of letters, journals, and diaries of soldiers who fought in the Civil War.
Civil War Biographies
A collection of short biographical descriptions of some of the major Union and Confederate military personalities with regards to their involvement in the Civil War.
Civil War 150: National Portrait Gallery
Links to a series of seven exhibitions from the Smithsonian related to the Civil War and the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.
Selected Civil War Photographs
Scenes of military personnel, preparations for battle, and battle after-effects.
The Samuel J. May Anti-Slavery Collection
An extensive collection of anti-slavery pamphlets, literature, and correspondence.
Civil War Women: Women and the Home Front
A collection of women’s diaries, letters, and memoirs from the Civil War. (After selecting a topic, refine your search to archival materials on the left-hand sidebar to access primary source materials).
For Young Audiences
Lessons on Slavery, the Crisis of the Union, and the Civil War and Reconstruction
(6–12) Lesson plans from the National Endowment for the Humanities EDSITEment website are built upon the analysis of primary sources, through which students are asked to critically examine the Civil War.
Discovering the Civil War
Information concerning the National Archives’ Civil War exhibit as well as additional educational materials to accompany the exhibit. (To access additional resources select the Resources or Education links on the main page).
Civil War Trust
(K–12) A resource for students with maps, photos, and games.
The Civil War
(9–12) Lesson plans and activity ideas for topics in the Civil War.
The Lincoln/Douglas Debates of 1858
(9–12) A comprehensive collection of transcriptions from Democratic and Republican newspapers covering the Lincoln-Douglas debates. This site also includes a video discussing the debates and a series of images, maps, and lesson plans.
(6–8) Information regarding Lincoln’s life from Illinois to his role as president. Includes valuable links to Lincoln’s writings.
Letters, Telegrams, and Photographs Illustrating Factors that Affected the Civil War
(6–8) A lesson plan including creative writing assignments, oral history projects, and document analysis. Students are asked to use documents and photographs from the period to discuss important factors in winning the war.
(K–5) A collection of oral histories meant to encourage students to look at the lives of slaves and compare slave life to the lives of free African Americans after the Civil War.
Africans in America: The Civil War and Reconstruction
(9–12) A collection of images, documents, stories, and biographies that relate to the debate over slavery in America and the changing role of African Americans over time.
The Battle of Bentonville: Caring for Casualties of the Civil War
(6–8) Images and lesson plans that ask students to discuss changes in caring for the Civil War wounded.
Not Just a Man’s War
(9–12) A lesson plan that looks at the role of women during the Civil War.
Famous American Trials: Trial of the Lincoln Assassination Conspirators, 1865
(9–12) A detailed review of the trial of John Wilkes Booth and his conspirators. Includes extra educational resources and games.
The Civil War: A Film by Ken Burns, 1990 (680 min)
(TV-PG) This TV miniseries documentary from PBS traces the course of the Civil War from the abolitionist movement through all of the major battles to the beginnings of Reconstruction.
Civil War Combat: America’s Bloodiest Battles, 2011 (200 min)
(NR) This series explores four particularly harrowing battles of the Civil War: Shiloh, Antietam, Gettysburg, and Cold Harbor. Filmed on location, the Civil War reenactments provide insight into how the war might have looked to the soldiers who fought it.
Gettysburg and Stories of Valor: Civil War Minutes III, 2004 (180 min)
(NR) This documentary covers the Gettysburg battlefield, examines rare Civil War artifacts, and tells the personal stories of the men who fought in the war.
Civil War Minutes: Confederate, 2007 (75 min)
(NR) These episodes feature the rarely told stories and artifacts of Confederate soldiers.
Civil War Minutes: Union, 2011 (180 min)
(NR) This series examines the lives of Union soldiers throughout the Civil War.
The Underground Railroad, 1999 (95 min)
(NR) This TV documentary tells the story of the Underground Railroad, an informal network of people and hiding places that helped African American slaves escape the American South.
Gone with the Wind, 1939 (238 min)
(PG) Set during the Civil War and Reconstruction, this American classic examines the tensions that underlay the conflict through the lens of a love story.
Gettysburg, 1993 (271 min)
(PG) This film walks through the battle of Gettysburg focusing on Confederate General Robert E. Lee and Lieutenant General James Longstreet, and Union Colonel Joshua Chamberlain. It explores not only the battle itself but also the historical context surrounding the war.
Gods and Generals, 2003 (219 min)
(PG-13) This film follows the rise and fall of legendary Confederate war hero Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson from 1861 to 1863. Prequel to Gettsyburg.
Glory, 1989 (122 min)
(R) This film tells the story of the 54th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, an all-African American unit comprised of Northern freemen and escaped slaves. It focuses on their brave assault on the Confederate Fort Wagner in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1863.
Cold Mountain, 2003 (154 min)
(R) This Civil War love story follows the perilous journey of a wounded Confederate soldier trying to return home to his sweetheart in North Carolina.
Ride with the Devil, 1999, (138 min)
(R) This drama, taking place in divided Missouri, follows the “irregular” warfare that was fought during the Civil War. It explores the division between the bushwhackers and the jayhawkers and the tension between those who participated in the Civil War outside of the context of the Northern-Southern division.
Andersonville, 1996 (167 min)
(NR) This TV movie tells the story of the most notorious Confederate prisoner-of-war camp during the Civil War.
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