Books by William C. Davis

William C. Davis, a native of Independence, Missouri, was educated in northern California, spent 20 years in editorial management in the magazine and book publishing industry, then left the industry in 1990 to spend the next decade working as a writer and

Released: Jan. 15, 2015

"A fresh look at the sources and a careful eye to leadership and character places this book high atop the list of recent Civil War histories."
"The cheering proved to be our folly." Thus said Robert E. Lee, chiding Southern vanity at the outbreak of the Civil War, the setting for this thoughtful study of command. Read full book review >
Released: April 20, 2011

"Not only does Davis cast a bright light into these murky corners of our national past, he does so with a grace and clarity equal to the best historical writing today."
Davis (History/Virginia Tech; The Pirates Laffite: The Treacherous World of the Corsairs of the Gulf, 2005, etc.), presents a significant study of an obscure but highly revealing moment in American history—the declaration of independence by American settlers of the oft-disputed Territory of West Florida in 1804. Read full book review >
Released: May 2, 2005

"Davis considers the Laffites to have been more entrepreneurs than pirates, ambitious but hapless, 'men of temporal success but lifetime failure.' A splendid telling of their endlessly interesting tale."
Prolific historian Davis (Lone Star Rising, 2004, etc.), director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies, serves up a highly engaging chronicle of the brothers Laffite, anarchist princes of the early republic. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 5, 2004

"An engaging study, full of odd twists and forgotten episodes."
Just in time for the big-budget remake of The Alamo: not a tie-in, but a learned account of how Texas came to be an independent republic, and then the Lone Star State. Read full book review >
Released: April 7, 2002

"There probably have been too many books written about the Civil War—James Thurber once suggested that fines be levied on authors of new ones. Davis, though, admirably sheds some new light on an old topic."
Historian Davis (Lincoln's Men, 1999, etc.) offers a thoughtful social and political history of the Confederacy, without the usual emphasis on armies and battles. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2001

"Solid history and good storytelling in a swift-paced narrative."
A skillfully rendered account of the closing hours of the Civil War. Read full book review >
Released: April 24, 2001

"Told with a sure voice and in clear delight of the period, Davis draws a sharp picture not merely of Toombs and Stephens, but of all the politicking of the Antebellum and Civil War South."
A crisp story capturing the important roles played by Georgia natives Toombs and Stephens in the birth of the Confederacy, from prolific historian Davis (Bluegrass Confederate, 1999, etc.). Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 1999

"While Davis's insights aren't particularly new, his examination of Lincoln from the viewpoint of the average Union soldier confirms 'Old Abe's' undeniable genius as a wartime leader."
A worthwhile, though hardly groundbreaking study of the emotional bonds forged between the average Union soldier and "Father Abraham" Lincoln. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 1998

"A splendid narrative history, perceptive, authoritative, and moving. (b&w photos, map, not seen)"
Distinguished historian Davis ably probes the lives of three legendary figures, finding much to illuminate the nature of frontier life in early America. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 30, 1996

"A fine analysis of the way in which myth-making can distort history. (23 photos, not seen)"
Veteran Civil War historian Davis, expanding on themes delineated in his earlier books (A Government of Our Own, 1994, etc.), outlines the myths and distortions that have traditionally prevented Americans from seeing the Confederacy in its true light. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 15, 1995

"An intimate picture of a vanished world. (Book-of-the-Month Club/History Book Club alternate selections)"
Historian Davis (A Government of Our Own, 1994, etc.) uses the story of an old Indian trail as an opportunity to take a leisurely, pleasurable look at the social and cultural history of the Mississippi/Alabama frontier. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 14, 1994

"Despite its flaws, a useful history of a relatively undercovered aspect of the Civil War. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen)"
An authoritative account from Civil War historian Davis (Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour, 1991) of the would-be Founding Fathers of the Confederacy. Read full book review >
JEFFERSON DAVIS by William C. Davis
Released: Dec. 4, 1991

"A dispassionate, well-researched, and skillful biography of a complex and controversial figure. (Sixteen pages of b&w illustrations—not seen.)"
A fine, objective portrait in paradox, shrewdly detailing how Jefferson Davis's character flaws rendered him woefully unsuited to be President of the Confederacy. Read full book review >