Few historians know as much about the Civil War as James M. McPherson. In "Embattled Rebel: Jefferson Davis as Commander in Chief" (Penguin Press, $32.95), McPherson reconsiders the poor reputation of the president of the Confederacy. Though his sympathies are with the North, the dean of Civil War scholars argues Davis been unfairly maligned by history.
The war was fought by men, but Karen Abbott's lively "Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War" (Harper, $27.99) showcases another side of the conflict with the intrigues of a socialite, farm girl, an abolitionist and a widow who seduced northern politicians as she gathered intelligence for the Confederacy.
William Sherman famously said of Ulysses S. Grant "we stand together always." In "American General: The Life and Times of William Tecumseh Sherman" (NAL Caliber, $28.95), the late John S.D. Eisenhower, son of Dwight D., ably tells the story of Grant's partner as he brought total war to the deep South and broke the will of the Confederacy.