The Founding Fathers and the American Revolution
  Name Author Book on Stars Comments
1812: The War That Forged A Nation
Walter R. Borneman
A Benjamin Franklin Reader
Walter Isaacson
4 Collected writings of Benjamin Franklin.
A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic
John Ferling
Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800
John Ferling
3 A deep dive into the contentious election of 1800.
Alexander Hamilton
Ron Chernow
5 A terrific biography on our first Secretary of the Treasury.
An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves and the Creation of America
Henry Wiencek
4 A modern history of our first president.
Angel In the Whirlwind
Benson Bobrick
4 An informative history of the Revolutionary War.
Battles of the Revolutionary War, 1775-1781
W.J. Wood
4 A history of the major engagements of the Revolutionary War.
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life
Walter Isaacson
5 A great biography of Benjamin Franklin.
Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation
Joseph J. Ellis
4 A short, concise read, on our Founding Fathers.
General Washington's Christmas Farewell
Stanley Weintraub
3 An interesting narrative on Washington's Farewell address to his troops.
Henry Adams and the Making of America
Garry Wills
His Excellency: George Washington
Joseph J. Ellis
4 A great modern biography, of or first president.
Jefferson and Madison: The Great Collaboration
Adrienne Koch
4 A great book on the collaboration of these Founding Fathers.
Jefferson the Virginian (Volume 1)
Dumas Malone
5 Dumas Malone's, Jefferson biography is amazing.
Jefferson and the Rights of Man (Volume 2)
Dumas Malone
5 Dumas Malone's, Jefferson biography is amazing.
Jefferson and the Ordeal of Liberty (Volume 3)
Dumas Malone
5 Dumas Malone's, Jefferson biography is amazing.
Jefferson the President First Term (Volume 4)
Dumas Malone
5 Dumas Malone's, Jefferson biography is amazing.
Jefferson the President Second Term (Volume 5)
Dumas Malone
5 Dumas Malone's, Jefferson biography is amazing.
Jefferson and His Time: The Sage of Monticello (Volume 6)
Dumas Malone
5 Dumas Malone's, Jefferson biography is amazing.
John Adams
David McCullough
5 It's a McCullough! - What else needs to be said?
John Jay: Founding Father
Walter Stahr
Negro President: Jefferson and the Slave Power
Garry Wills
3 A new look at the contradictions of Jefferson.
Paul Revere's Ride
David Hackett Fischer
Setting the World Ablaze
John Ferling
Six Frigates: The Epic History of the founding of the U.S. Navy
Ian W. Toll
5 This is an excellent book on the founding of the U.S. Navy.  It does include lots of technical details.
The Creation of the American Republic 1776-1787
Gordon S. Wood
The First American: The Life and Time of Benjamin Franklin
H.W. Brands
4 An interesting read on the life, and times, of Benjamin Franklin.
The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution
Bernard Bailyn
5 A terrific analysis of the causes of the our rupture with England.
The Last of our Fathers: James Madison
Drew R. McCoy
4 A terrific biography of Madison - a Founding Father.
The Spirit of Seventy-Six
Henry Steele Commager and Richard B. Morris
The War of the Revolution (2 Volumes)
Christopher Wood
5 The authoritative history of our Revolutionary War.
Thomas Paine: Collected Writings
Thomas Paine and Eric Foner, Editor
3 The collected works of Thomas Paine.
Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West
Stephen E. Ambrose
4 An authoritative narrative of the Lewis and Clark exbidition.
Washington's Crossing
David Hackett Fischer
4 A great history on Washington's crossing of the Delaware.
The official site for modern photographs of American Civil War Battlefields


Over the years, I have read a significant amount about the Founding Fathers, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War and the Civil War.  I have also studied several presidents, most notably Abraham Lincoln.  Other presidents have made for fascinating research and include Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman.  This partial list, of my personal library, is divided into three sections.

I have included a brief description of the book, and a link to its page on  Reading is a great gift - Enjoy!

Michael Noirot
St. Louis, Missouri

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General history and biographies
  Name Author Book on Stars Comments
A Concise History of the Catholic Chuch
Thomas Bokenkotter
3 An interesting book on the history of the Catholic Church.
A Matter of Character
Ronald Kessler
3 An inside look at George W. Bush.
Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Reg, 101st Airborne Division
Stephen E. Ambrose
4 A narrative of the history of the 101st Airborne Division during WWII.
Ernie Pyle's War: America's Eyewitness to World War II
James Tobin
3 Ernie Pyle was the "soldier's reporter," during World War II.  This book tells his story, the good - and the bad.
Flyboys: A True Story of Courage
James Bradley
5 A great history of the U.S., Pacific based, Air Force pilots that faced Japan.
Martin Guitar Masterpieces
Dick Boak
4 A pictorial history of the signature model C.F. Martin & Company guitars.
Martin Guitars
Jim Washburn and Richard Johnston
4 A great history of the C.F. Martin & Company guitar company - an American success story.
My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir
Clarence Thomas
4 An inspiring autobiography of Clarence White.
Nothing Like it in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad
Stephen E. Ambrose
5 The history of the building of the Transcontinental railroad.
Our Fathers: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church
David France
Sea of Thunder
Evan Thomas
Shadow Divers Robert Kurson 5 A awesome story of adventure.
The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany
Michael R. Beschloss
Theodore Rex
Edmund Morris
5 A great biography on Theodore Roosevelt.
To America: Personal Reflections of an Historian
Stephen E. Ambrose
3 Reflections on key historic events.
David McCullough
5 The authoritative history on Harry S. Truman











Civil War
  Name Author Book on Stars Comments
1864 Lincoln at the Gates of History Charles Bracelen Flood Buy at 5 Check out the complete review, and author interview on my blog:
A Victor, Not A Butcher: U.S. Grants Overlooked Military Genius
Edward H. Bonekemper III
4 This book will change your perception of Grant.
Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years Vol I - II
Carl Sandburg
5 The original authority on Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln: The War Years Vol I - IV
Carl Sandburg
5 The original authority on Lincoln.
April 1865: The Month That Saved America
Jay Winik
5 One of my favorite books on the close of the Civil War.
  Atlanta 1864: Last Chance for the Confederacy Richard M. McMurry 3 A well written summary of Sherman's Atlanta Campaign.  The book needed better maps.
Battle Cry of Freedom
James M. McPherson
5 A complete history of the Civil War, and the causes of the war.  Great pictures.
Black Day of the Army, April 6, 1865: The Battle of Sailor's Creek
Greg Eanes
Blue Lightning
Richard A. Baumgartner
4 A great history of the Wilder's Lightning Brigade.
Brave Men's Tears: The Iron Brigade At Brawner Farm Alan D. Gaff 5 Having read many of the broader Civil War histories, I have started reading a lot more narratives that focus on a battle, or the actions of a specific regiment, or brigade, during a battle.  This book falls into this category.  It is one of the best books I have read, and it focuses exclusively on the Battle of Brawner Farm, that opened the battle of 2nd Manassas.  This would become the "black hat brigade's" baptism by fire, and would lead to their designation, "Iron Brigade" after the battle of South Mountain.
  Cavalryman of the Lost Cause: A Biography of J.E.B. Stuart Jeffry D. Wert Buy at   In queue for review.
Stephen W. Sears
4 Stephen Sears historical works are great.  This is no exception.
  Chancellorsville 1863: The Souls of the Brave Ernest B. Ferguson  4 A very well written book on the Chancellorsville Campaign.
Cold Harbor: Grant and Lee, May 26 - June 3, 1864
Gordon C. Rhea
5 Gordon Rhea has done a wonderful job writing about Grant's Overland Campaign.
Company Aytch
Samuel R. Watkins
4 This is a first hand account, from a Confederate soldier, who fought during the entire war.
Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam
James M. McPherson
4 A brief read on the important Battle of Antietam.
Donnybrook: The Battle of Bull Run, 1861
David Detzer
3 I really enjoyed this book on the Battle of First Bull Run.  It does lack battlefield maps.
Flames Beyond Gettysburg: The Gordon Expedition, June 1863 Scott L. Mingus, Sr. Buy at 5 Book review and interview with author will be published on my blog by June 30:
For Cause & For Country: A Study of the Affair at Spring Hill and the Battle of Franklin Eric A. Jacobson & Richard A. Rupp 4 The definitive work on the battles of Spring Hill, and Franklin, TN.  This work is well researched, and well written.  I would have given it a "5," however, the maps are too few, and not detailed enough.
Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!
George C. Rable
5 This is a very well written book about one of the most decisive Confederate victories of the war.
From Manassas to Appomattox
James Longstreet
5 This book gives a description, of the war, from CS Lieutenant General Longstreet's perspective.
From the Flag to the Cross
Amos S. Billingsley
  From Winchester to Cedar Creek: The Shenandoah Campaign of 1864 Jeffry D. Wert Buy at 4 For a complete review, visit Mike's Blog.
  General Lee's Army: From Victory to Collapse Joseph T. Glatthaar Buy at   In queue for review.
Generals In Blue
Ezra J. Warner
5 An authoritative history on all the Federal general officers.
Generals In Gray
Ezra J. Warner
5 An authoritative history on all the Confederate general officers.
Stephen W. Sears
5 This is a well written history of the battle of Gettysburg.
Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage
Noah Andre Trudeau
4 A very informative, and easy read, on the battle of Gettysburg.
Jean Edward Smith
4 A superb biography on U.S. Grant.
  Grant William S. McFeely Visit Mike's Blog 3 For complete review, visit Mike's Blog
Grant and Sherman: The Friendship That Won the War
Charles Bracelen Flood
4 An interesting read about one of the greatest friendships: Grant and Sherman.
  Grant Takes Command Bruce Catton    
Grant's Lieutenants: From Chattanooga to Appomattox Steven E. Woodworth (editor) 4 Grant's Lieutenants, is a really nice read.  Comprised of essays, by some of the most respected Civil War historians, it sheds new light on Grant's relationships with his key commanders.
Guide to the Battle of Antietam
Jay Luvaas
3 A helpful guide to your tour of Antietam.
Hallowed Ground: A Walk at Gettysburg
James M. McPherson
3 A brief guide to the battle of Gettsburg.
In the Presence of Mine Enemies
Edward L. Ayers
4 An interesting read about the civilian press, and two towns, during the Civil War.
In the Trenches at Petersburg: Field Fortifications and Confederate Defeat Earl J. Hess Buy at 5 Book has been reviewed.  Watch for the review and author interview at
  Ironmaker to the Confederacy: Joseph R. Anderson and the Tredegar Iron Works Charles B. Dew    
Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam
Stephen W. Sears
4 An authoritative read on the battle of Antietam.
Last Flag Down: The Epic Journey of the Last Confederate Warship
Ron Powers and John Baldwin
3 An interesting book, but it relied a significant amount on the diary of the XO, Whittle.
  Lightning Warfare: Forrest's First West Tennessee Campaign - December 1862 Lonnie E. Maness    
David Herbert Donald
5 One of the most respected biographies of our 16th president.
Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney
James F. Simon
  Lincoln and the American Manifesto Allen Jayne 3 This book was an interesting read.  It deals with Lincoln's religious beliefs and how they were influenced by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence and other deists of the 18th and 19th centuries.  This book, while well researched, was hard to follow at times, thus only earning a "3" rating.
  Lincoln and the Decision For War Russell McClintock Buy at 4 Check out the complete review, and author interview on my blog:
Lincoln At Cooper Union
Harold Holzer
4 A very interesting study of the importance of this Lincoln speech.
Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power
Richard Carwardine
4 A detailed account of Lincoln's management of his political machine.
Lincoln's Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural
Ronald C. White, Jr.
4 A detailed analysis of the importance of Lincoln's second inaugural address.
  Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861 Harold Holzer Buy at    
Lincoln's Sanctuary
Matthew Pinsker
4 I really enjoyed this book.  It revealed a whole new Lincoln, to me.
Lincoln's Virtues
William L. Miller
Lincoln's War
Geoffrey Perret
  Long Time Gone: Neighbors Divided By Civil War Les Rolston Buy at   In queue for review.
Master of War: The Life of General George H. Thomas Benson Bobrick Buy at 4 Check out the complete review, and author interview on my blog:
McClellan's War
Ethan S. Rafuse
5 This is one of the best books I have read on McClellan.  A must read for Civil War buffs.
Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman
William T Sherman and Charles Royster, editor
Men of Fire: Grant, Forrest and the Campaign That Decided the Civil War
Jack Hurst
4 A very informative history of the battles for Forts Henry and Donelson.
  Nathan Bedford Forrest: A Biography Jack Hurst 3 A good biography on the "Wizard of the Saddle.  While well written, at times it would be a little difficult to follow and would seem to jump around.  I especially enjoyed the portions of the book dealing with Bedford Forrest in the post-bellum years.
No Better Place to Die: The Battle of Stones River
Peter Cozzens
3 This is a very informative history, but a bit dry.
Pea Ridge: Civil War Campaign in the West
William L. Shea and Earl J. Hess
5 A great history of this very important battle.
  Perryville: This Grand Havoc of Battle Kenneth W. Noe    
Plenty of Blame To Go Around: Jeb Stuart's Controversial Ride To Gettysburg Eric J. Wittenberg and J. David Petruzzi 4 The definitive work on J.E.B. Stuart's controversial ride to Gettysburg.  A must read for any Civil War enthusiast.
Protecting the Flank: The Battles for Brinkerhoff's Ridge and East Cavalry Field Eric J. Wittenberg Visit Mike's Blog 5 For a complete review, visit Mike's Blog.
Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E Lee
Elizabeth Brown Pryor
4 A must read for fans of CS General Robert E. Lee.
Return To Bull Run: The Campaign and Battle of Second Manassas John J. Hennessy 4 An incredible book, on this pivotal battle.  A must read for Civil War buffs.
  Robert E. Lee and the Fall of the Confederacy Ethan S. Rafuse    
  Roll Call To Destiny: The Soldier's Eye View of Civil War Battles Brent Nosworthy 4 This is a very interesting work, by Brent Nosworthy.  With studies on several battles, and Nosworthy's very keen tactical observations, this book is well worth the time to read.
Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862
O. Edward Cunningham
4 A masterful study on the battle of Shiloh.
Shiloh: Bloody April
Wiley Sword
5 My favorite history of the battle of Shiloh.
  Sickles at Gettysburg: The Controversial Civil War General Who Committed Murder, Abandoned Little Round Top, and Declared Himself the Hero of Gettysburg James A. Hessler Buy at   Advanced copy being reviewed.  Watch for review and interview on
  Small Arms at Gettysburg: Infantry and Cavalry Weapons In America's Greatest Battle Joseph G. Bilby    
Soldiers of the Cross
Kent T. Dollar
Stealing the General: The Great Locomotive Chase
Russell S. Bonds
4 A superb work on the Great Locomotive Chase.
Stonewall in the Valley
Robert G. Tanner
4 One of the best biographies of Jackson, I have read.
  Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign: Shenandoah 1862 Peter Cozzens    
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Doris Kearns Goodwin
5 An enlightening history of Lincoln's relationship with his cabinet.  A must read for Lincoln fans.
The Antietam Campaign
Gary W. Gallagher
4 A thorough collection of essays on Antietam.
The Battle of the Wilderness May 5 - 6, 1864
Gordon C. Rhea
5 A comprehensive study on the Battle of the Wilderness.
The Battles for Spotsylvania Court House
Gordon C. Rhea
5 A remarkable history of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House.  One of Rhea's best works.
The Civil War Battlefield Guide, Second Edition
Frances H. Kennedy
4 This is a great guide to the Civil War battles.  I take this on many of my battlefield trips.
The Civil War: A Narrative (Vol 1 - 3)
Shelby Foote
4 A must have for any Civil War buff's library.  Foote gained fame in Ken Burn's Civil War series.
The Coming Fury (American Civil War Trilogy, Vol 1)
Bruce Catton
The Complete Gettysburg Guide: Walking and Driving Tours of the Battlefield, Town, Cemeteries, Field Hospital Sites, and Other Topics of Historical Interest J. David Petruzzi w/Steven Stanley Buy at 5 Check out the complete review, and author interview on my blog:
The Confederacy's Last Hurrah: Spring Hill, Franklin & Nashville Wiley Sword 4 Another great work by Wiley Sword.  This book is a must read, for all Civil War buffs.  Sword's narrative, especially about the battle of Franklin, is great.
The Day Lincoln Was Shot
Jim Bishop
3 A very good narrative of Lincoln's last days.
The Eloquent President: A Portrait of Lincoln Through His Words
Ronald C. White, Jr.
5 One of my favorite studies of Lincoln's speeches.
The Fredericksburg Campaign
Francis Augustin O'Reilly
4 A fine narrative of the Fredericksburg Campaign.
The Gettysburg Gospel
Gabor Boritt
3 A new analysis on the Gettysburg Address.
The Ideals Guide to American Civil War Places
Julie Shively
3 A good reference for Civil War site travelers.
  The Irish Brigade in the Civil War Joseph G. Bilby    
  The Irish General: Thomas Francis Meagher Paul R. Wylie 3 I enjoyed reading this book, as I have a fascination with the Irish Brigade.  However, I was somewhat disappointed that Wylie did not spend more time on the general's time while he was in charge of the brigade.
The Iron Brigade
Alan T. Nolan
The Shipwreck of their Hopes: The Battles for Chattanooga
Peter Cozzens
3 A solid study on the Third Battle of Chattanooga.
The State of Jones Sally Jenkins and John Stauffer Buy at 4 Book review and interview with authors will be published on my blog by June 23:
The Sword of Lincoln: The Army of the Potomac
Jeffry D. Wert
3 A good read about the Army of the Potomac, and how Lincoln leveraged it.
The Unfinished Work Frank Meredith 5 One of my favorite recent books.  Frank does a wonderful job blending historical fact, with fictional characters.  A must read.
This Mighty Scourge: Perspectives on the Civil War
James M. McPherson
4 A series of essays on the Civil War.
This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War Drew Gilpin Faust Visit Mike's Blog 4 For a complete review, visit Mike's Blog.
  The Rifle Musket in Civil War Combat: Reality and Myth Earl J. Hess Buy at   In queue for review.
This Terrible Sound: The Battle of Chickamauga
Peter Cozzens
4 My favorite narrative by Cozzens.  This is a great history of the Battle of Chickamauga.
To Appomattox, Nine April Days, 1865
Burke Davis
4 Widely considered one of the best narratives on the Appomattox Campaign.
To the Gates of Richmond: The Penninsula Campaign
Stephen W. Sears
4 An interesting read on the Peninsula Campaign.
To The North Anna River: Grant and Lee, May 13 - 25, 1864
Gordon C. Rhea
5 Rhea's story of the Battle of the North Anna is great.
Touched By Fire
William C. Davis
3 A picture history of the Civil War.
Trench Warfare Under Grant and Lee
Earl J. Hess
  Tried By War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander In Chief James M. McPherson 3 As a huge James McPherson fan, I was really looking forward to this book.  I found the book easy to read, and fairly entertaining, however there was nothing new for me to learn in the book.  It is written, I believe, with novice Civil War/Lincoln enthusiasts in mind.  I am sure this will be the case with many Lincoln books, as we approach his 200th birthday.
Twilight at Little Round Top
Glenn W. LaFantasie
4 A narrative of the Union defense of Little Round Top, at Gettysburg.  A very nice read.
U.S. Grant: Memoirs and Selected Letters
U.S. Grant and Mary D. McFeely
5 Grant's autobiography.  One of the best!
Upon the Altar of the Nation: A Moral History of the Civil War
Harry S. Stout
  Vicksburg 1863 Winston Groom Buy at   In queue for review.
Vicksburg: The Campaign That Opened the Mississippi
Michael B. Ballard
4 A well written history of one of the War's most pivotal campaigns.
What This Cruel War Is Over
Chandra Manning
3 An interesting read on the causes of the Civil War.
Wilson's Creek
William Garrett Piston and Richard W. Hatcher III
4 A great narrative on the second major battle of the Civil War.






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= Highly recommended by Mike!


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