The readings selected above outline a good introduction to the different facets of the Civil War and are intended to provide you with a good background on the conflict. McPherson's work stands as a good guide to the long term conflicts that led to the Civil War. In it, you will find lots of background information on the people, movements and crises that led our nation to the Civil War.
Gienapp's and Goodwin's books are about Lincoln and the moments Lincoln experienced as this nation was moved to war. Gienapp's work is especially useful, as it delves into how Lincoln, as first a President–Elect and later a President, responded, or did not respond, to the different crises of Antebellum America, while offering multiple perspectives into the conflicts of the time. Goodheart's work can also be included in this group as it explores what led to April 1861 being a critical moment in American History,
For different perspectives on the Civil War refer to Turtledove's and Wilmot's fictional works. Both ask the question what if the South had won the war and such a question is useful when thinking about the Simulation in this unit. If your students finished the simulation and particular enjoyed it, you might "re–do" the simulation changing some critical points. Turtledove and Wilmot offer some creative re–imaginations of this critical moment that can help you and your students also reimagine this time.