Saturday, February 16, 2008

That Wonderful Book

Our friends over at Civil War Interactive are taking a readers poll to come up with the 50 best books on the Civil War. Go check it out here.

My vote would have to go to the classic that sparked the imagination of so many of us when we were still little:
The Golden Book of The Civil War Published in 1961 by American Heritage.

This simple (some would argue "simplistic") book with its wealth of photographs, graphics, and those wonderfully detailed battlefield map/illustrations with all the little soldiers scurrying around, captured the fancy of two and a half generations of children and propelled many of us to become lifetime learners (and teachers) on the subject of the ACW.

I still have my copy that my dad gave me in 1961, I was nine, we were going to Gettysburg, and I haven't looked back!

Reading is FUNdamental!
Ranger Mannie

Update 2/17  Oh my, do read the comments.


Barry Summers said...

I have to agree with you Mannie. My Grandma gave me my first one back 1968. Maps with the troops fighting are still in my head.

Barry Summers

Anonymous said...

I've got the same book! It had the same impact on me as well! It's tattered and torn and I've signed my name in the cover on many April 12th's since I was eight or nine.

Barry (FL Deputy)

Jim Rosebrock said...

I agree. Its all where it started for me. I got this book when I was a kid and it set in motion, my great interest in the civil war.

Jim Rosebrock
NPS Volunteer, Antietam National Battlefield

Anonymous said...

You're spot on Ranger Mannie! My copy of this cherished book from my boyhood still occupies a special spot in my Civil War library of about 200 volumes (and in my heart as a gift from my father). Even as an adult I love to pull it off the shelf to study those illustrated 3-D battlefield maps. I hadn't thought about including it in my picks, but thanks to your gentle reminder, it'll get one of my votes.

Anonymous said...


I still have mine, too. It's about 40 years old, and looks it. Can't beat the maps with the little guys on them.

Anonymous said...

Count me in, too. I got mine in 1964, at age 6. Still have it.

The maps have a hypnotic effect--time travel without leaving your chair!

Dave Morehouse
Hopkins, MN

Anonymous said...

I still have my copy too. This was one of two books that got me into the Civil War - this and MacKinlay Kantor's "Gettysburg". I think of The American Heritage book and those great maps with little soldiers come to mind. And I think of Kantor's book and I remember the great pen and ink drawings with Kantor's writing.
What great memories!

Anonymous said...

I'll be the odd-ball here. I grew up with the two volume, slip cased, American Heritage: The Civil War, which was the original "adult" version I suppose, published in 1960. My other favorites were David Donald's, Divided We Fought and Fletcher Pratt's, Civil War in Pictures. Once I started school I discovered in the library a copy of the National Gallery of Art's Catalog from 1961 entitled, The Civil War: A Centennial Exhibition of Eyewitness Drawings. With these I was hooked. Growing up about ten miles from the Manassas Battlefield helped too, along with annual family visits to Gettysburg.

Mike said...

I had a similar experience with that book and I talked about it on my blog here.