Book Reviews, History

Civil War Research Book Review: The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle by Robert E. Denney

18Follow the story of the Civil War as it unfolds in the words of the people who lived through it. With records of daily events from January 1, 1861 to May 30, 1866, this fascinating chronicle includes illuminating background information on the population of America, its society and economics, the issue of states’ rights, and even medical practices of the day. Here is a major contribution to the legacy and recorded history of the Civil War.

I have heard back from several of you, and know that I’m far from the only Civil War fan out there. I thought you’d be interested in taking a better look at my research shelf. Since the fourth Monday of the month is History week on the blog, I decided to bring you a review on one of my research books on the 4th week of every month. I hope you enjoy the new review series!!

This was one of the first research books I picked up, and it remains a goldmine.This isn’t the only chronological book out there. If you’ve never seen one before, they’re well worth checking out! There’s nothing like having a full overview of the entire war at your fingertips.

What I Loved: It’s not possible to go into a great amount of detail since the book covers so much ground, but several other books detail the various battles. Where a Chronicle shines is in showing you what happened EVERY day of the way. It may seem simple, but just knowing what day of the week it was became extremely helpful to me as I wrote my novels. I had the pleasure of working with two different chronicles so far, but this one included excepts from letters, journals, and newspapers. I really enjoyed reading the experiences of the people along the way.

What I Didn’t Like: It’s my personal belief that when you bring historical facts to the table, you leave your opinions behind. The author never added his own voice to the work, but I did notice that nearly all (if not all) excerpts were from the Union perspective. This doesn’t hur the average person’s ability to enjoy and learn from it, but when I was digging deeper into the feelings of the Southern people during certain events, say…the surrender of Lee, I was greatly disappointed. Since the excerpts are more of an addition and not the purpose itself, I still greatly enjoyed it and can highly recommend it.

Buying Options: I do most of my used book shopping on Amazon and Since books come and go so quickly on these sites you’ll have to check for the best prices when you’re ready to purchase. But I did notice more buying options on Amazon. Both sites have copies listed at extremely reasonable prices. At the date of this post, I was able to find copies for under $5, making this an especially wonderful addition to your Civil War collection.

Sample: You can peek into the book from the Amazon link. I checked it out myself. You’ll have to pass several pages before coming to the actual chronicle, but they do show several entries to give you an idea of what the book has to offer.
I’ve also quoted the book here on my blog and you can read that entry here.

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