I am living proof that the universe has a sense of humor.
This series is the best historical review of the civil war I have ever come across. It is well written, accurate in its facts and presented in a cohesive format. I do however have a gripe about the production of this audio production. At times it seems as if the narrator changes pitch from one section to another. It seems as if he took a coffee break and then returned back to work. Another gripe is the sound of the narrator taking a deep breath, a really deep breath, when he reads another sentence. I am not one to to pick over the smallest detail but this is worth mentioning in my opinion.
That being said, I highly recommend this series for anyone looking to dig deeper into the American civil war.
This second book in this series is more focused on the actions of the armies because during this time, there were more battles fought. Those who hate the Confederacy will find this volume hard to swallow because there is no condemnation of their ideals that follow their battle successes. It is a very good continuation of Foote's efforts in his first volume and the development of the leading general's personalities is done particularly well. The historical accuracy of some of Foote's sources has come into question recently, but as a historical narrative, it is very enticing.
Mark in NH
Of course, the content is fantastic as lauded everywhere. My complaint, if it is one, has to do with the reading. Mr. Gardner's narration in the first volume was terrific, and it is again here. However, there seems to be many more audio "patches" in this volume, spots where the audio tone of voice, quality and volume jarringly switch. Same voice, just much different in sound. Fine once you get used to each incarnation, but it's very off putting to have the voice change so often as it does. Sometimes from one to another, and back again within in what must be the same page of the physical book, sometimes it seems mid-paragraph. Other than that annoyance, excellent.
Foote's narrative history of the war is beautifully written. Once you start reading (or listening), you're hooked. This 3-vol. set of recordings, however, leaves a lot to be desired. There is background feedback which is very prevalent in volumes 1 and 2, and the narrator mispronounces many names (example, Kanawha). In vol. 2, his respiratory difficulties are very prevalent, and his breathing and swallowing are very distracting. The most unforgivable aspect of the recordings however, is found in the third and final volume in which entire seven-hour chunks of the book are not broken into subsections. When listening on an iPod, it's very easy to brush the controls and cause it to go backwards or forwards an entire section. When there are no subsections, this means holding the fast forward (or reverse) button down through hours of narration trying to find your place. It only happened to me once, but that was frustrating enough. The book gets 5 stars, but the audio version leaves a lot to be desired.
At the end of the day, Foote is a Southerner, who is trying to put the best face on a bad cause and a horrendous defeat. Foote neglects the genocide of The Southern military leadership, who were relentlessly sent into dubious battles until their was no one left to lead, He belittles Chamberlain's work at Gettysburg, accuses the North of abusing blacks - omitting any serious mention of their treatment in the South, describes one southern victory after another until, wholly crap, the South is defeated. Foote's story takes volumes to obscure and bury in detail the stupidity of the event.