Purpose of this LibGuide: This
guide is intended to be used by young people, parents, teachers, and
home-schoolers to find outstanding historical fiction from picture books
to novels for teens centered around the American Civil War. Resources chosen are largely those published within the last twenty years.
Why should we care about the Civil War? This year marks the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War, a conflict that raged from 1861 to 1865 and has left an indelible mark on our history. The war and the larger-than-life-figures, great and small, who participated, are a source of endless fascination to Americans. There are more than 70,000 published volumes on the Civil War, making it the most written about subject in American history, and more books have been written about Abraham Lincoln alone than about any other historical figure with the exception of Jesus of Nazareth and William Shakespeare. Celebrated Civil War historian James McPherson writes about the legacy of the war: “A blend of triumph and tragedy, courage and cowardice, heroes and knaves, selfless sacrifice and selfish profiteering, the war shaped and defined the America that has emerged…since the guns fell silent.”
The Civil War is widely viewed as one of the most important events shaping contemporary American society and culture, one whose consequences and events continue to echo in our collective consciousness 150 years after the first guns were fired at Fort Sumter. In fact, Time Magazine ran a recent cover story, “150 Years After Fort Sumter: Why We're Still Fighting the Civil War,” focusing on continued public debate about the real causes of the conflict Not surprisingly, the war has continued to be a popular subject for novelists as well as non-fiction writers for children and young adults. Dozens of new juvenile titles about the war are released every year. Understanding how the war is portrayed in literature for children is important in acknowledging what kind of messages about the war we are transmitting to the next generation.