One thing I sometimes like to do on my Kindle is roll into the News stand section and check a few magazines out here and there. I get a few subscriptions for free with Amazon Prime, but most are UK history magazines and I wanted something more local. With my current fascination with The American Civil War, I figured I’d see what was out there. Two of the above titles (Civil War Times, and America’s Civil War) are on Amazon electronically, and The Civil war Monitor is available on it’s own website electronically and physically on Amazon. So now the question arises, which one is the best? Are they different enough to justify all three? If I were to pick just one, which would I go for?
Not featured is a Magazine called Civil war Navy, which I was unable to find a digital version of nor North and South Magazine, which I was unaware of until recently. Perhaps one of these days I will look at it by itself. I’m sure there are more I have not found as of yet as well, keep an eye out for future additions to this. If any of my readers have one to recommend, please let me now. I’m sure there are numerous old magazines that were great, but died and it’s exceedingly likely that more will die off, print media is struggling, and there is a glut of content for those that still want it. without further ado, let’s get down to business:
Civil War Times
Founded in 1962, this is the current longest-reigning magazine on the American Civil war out there. It is supposed to focus more on personal stories and biographical information as it’s strong suit. This issue had a TON of articles on Gettysburg, which are fine and informative – but I am going to be honest – Gettysburg has been done to death. there are like thousands of different angles on the battle, and I feel like what has been said about it, is likely getting exhausted at this point. Gettysburg is definitely the D-Day or Waterloo of Civil war history. Please give it a rest unless you have new information. I was also somewhat annoyed with how many advertisements were in this magazine – almost every other page was an add for a combative plate, bowie knife, or some other tchotchke unrelated to The Civil War. I know they got to pay the bills, but maaaan was it a lot. I have a similar issue with other magazines from this publisher.
America’s Civil War
Founded in 1987, this is perhaps the second most popular magazine out there for the Civil War, this time featuring more on battles and analysis rather than biographies. This magazine is by the same publisher as the last, and it suffers some of the same shortfalls – tons of ads, and wall to wall Gettysburg coverage. To be honest, these two doe not seem very different to me.
The Civil war Monitor
Founded in 2011, this is one of the newer magazines in the field, but for me is the most diverse. This issue had articles on naval battles, explanations of smaller battles that are overlooked, descriptions of artifacts being found and archaeology, and plenty of book reviews. Even a small detail like ads being based around historical sites vs the other magazines having random bowie knives and such was a nice change of pace. You can tell that with a quarterly release schedule, much more care is taken to ensure quality product vs a monthly run. I enjoyed this one a lot. I also like the fact that one can sign up for a relatively inexpensive online membership, and get access to every back issue of the magazine.
The bottom line:
For me, the best title was, without a doubt, The Civil War Monitor. The other two are fine, but I’m not as enamored by endless tales of what happened in Gettysburg and other huge battles as others – I feel like these have been documented to death, and wish more obscure stuff would be talked about. That isn’t to say that the articles in The Civil War Times and America’s Civil War were bad, I just found them very interchangeable and I couldn’t possibly tell you why the same publisher releases them both. Perhaps I picked a bad month to check them out or something? I think I will try next month’s as well and see for sure.