Here are a few gems from one of my favorite sites on the Internet, Project Gutenberg. This site provides tens of thousands of free texts, including historical documents, classic fiction, philosophy, and lots more. I try to read at least a few items from this vast and growing collection every month. Here are some of my absolute favorite finds from the Project Gutenberg collection, a series of novels by Joseph Altsheler. This first book, Before the Dawn, is not actually in the series, but I read it first and liked it well enough to read more.
The rest of these novels follow two boys who wind up on opposite sides during the Civil War. Altsheler was a journalist who lived in the generation after the war. He didn’t experience the war first-hand, but he interviewed lots of soldiers from both sides and did a lot of additional research to write these books, and the result is a story that immerses the reader in the human sides of this bloody and often vicious war. These are fiction books, of course, but well-researched and as true to fact as the stories allowed, so if you like learning stuff while you are reading for pleasure, these books offer a lot to learn.
- The Guns of Bull Run: A Story of the Civil War’s Eve
- The Guns of Shiloh: A Story of the Great Western Campaign
- The Scouts of Stonewall: The Story of the Great Valley Campaign
- The Sword of Antietam: A Story of the Nation’s Crisis
- The Star of Gettysburg: A Story of Southern High Tide
- The Rock of Chickamauga: A Story of the Western Crisis
- The Shades of the Wilderness: A Story of Lee’s Great Stand
- The Tree of Appomattox
Oh, and obviously I am far too young for the photo on this post to be one of mine; the photo is from another of my longer-term favorite sites, CivilWarPhotos.net .