It was obviously a massive undertaking. 15 esteemed professors of the day were each assigned a particular topic of the war with the task of determining the key titles within that area. The editors also point out that these volumes contain "bad works as well as good ones" and that "the overall aim of the project was to analyze those volumes familiar and unfamiliar, general or limited, indispensable or useless, for the benefit of anyone delving into the literature of the Civil War."
Close to 6000 titles are listed between the two volumes. In each case the editors state the usual bibliographic particulars, such as author, title, publisher, city, date published, as well as number of pages and trim size. A one or two sentence critical summary of the book then follows.
Since the work is now 40 years old, it obviously lacks all of the important scholarship published since then. Nevertheless, for researchers and those looking to build or expand their Civil War first edition library, it remains an invaluable reference tool.