This book is great! Superb narration by Grover Gardner. The details by Shelby Foote are amazing. Was interested mostly in Gettysburg Battles as we had visited the area.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
If you're only going to read one book on the Civil War, this should be it. It's comprehensive, balanced, and readable. It's extremely long, but worth every minute of it.
An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.
God help us!
US Grant because he wasn't brilliant and he had to keep going even though people said he was a drunk and not a leader. He persevered until by the end of the book Congress wanted to give him an honor that only Washington and Winfield Scott had recieved. The book made him very human.
He is a wonderful narrator that hits the right nuances at all the right times.
No way. Long book that is perfect for listening to a chapter or two at a time. Savor it!
I was disappointed that despite the blurb saying Gettysburg was given book length treatment, it didn't feel like enough to me. However, the entire book was wonderful and I learned so much on this time during the Civil War.
50yrs old / audible member for 5 yrs library. 75% nonfiction, 15% classics and 10% fiction. History/Science/biography/Eng.18th cent fiction
This trilogy by shelby foote is the most remarkable reading/listening experience Ive ever had!. Foote's writing is jaw dropping, stunning and unforgettable. I could go on forever about this series and it wouldn't , couldn't do it justice. THIS TRILOGY IS A MUST READ>
Being a Civil War history buff, I love the way Mr. Foote works in all the anecdotes of military and civilian life throughout the telling of the story. The extra details about a person's habits as well as what was happening in other theatres of the war at the same time tie the story of the war together in a way that I have not seen before. The story surrounding the loss of Stonewall Jackson, as well as J.E.B. Stuart's problematic quest for glory and how those two missing commanders allowed Lee to blunder into the Federals at Gettyburg (in a fight over some shoes!) is so well told that I have listened to it a number of times. Highly recommended!
you will not get any better description of the war and what was arround it. strongly recomended, though technicaly speaking narating is not perfect (but nighther the war...)
Reviewing Shelby Foote's narrative is almost as complicated as the material it proposes to explain. Brining the Civil War to the average reader (listener) is difficult in itself; it is grim history, and that is the only thing everyone agrees on. Limited to facts, it's dry and short, because every piece of information comes from the writing of those intimately involved in a radical clash of viewpoints, so facts come in the form of dates, names, and sometimes, numbers. Foote endeavored, therefore, to put a narrative forward, not a history, and as such, this is a masterwork. But even Foote had his point of view, as a Mississippian in the late 1950's to early 1960's, and so it is good to know as much history as there is before diving into the nearly six full days of solid narration. Foote's bias is, not surprisingly, toward the south, and is very subtle, so if you know the history as well as the average student, you will find yourself filling in the blanks without thought. Blanks are the primary vehicle of bias for Foote, along with some understatement, a little overstatement, and conclusions that are not wrong, but not provable either. The bias also tends to highlight the deeds of armies, which are not the main focus of the narrative, which makes itself indispensable by tying the economy, politics, interpersonal military relationships, even the weather, into a story that the reader will not put down after the first chapter of dusty names and numbers. In this way it has not only become shorthand for historians, but appeals to academicians and casual readers alike. As I said, it is complicated, but less that 5 stars of 5 is not a credible score.
The performance is almost flawless. This may sound like hyperbole, but I've listened to it backward and forward, and it doesn't get old; Gardner's reading is both businesslike and interesting, and aside for a problem pronouncing Spanish town names in New Mexico, hits names, dates, intonation, inflection, structure and cadence despite the quaint turn of phrase from the 1860's, the complicated sentences that Foote enjoyed, and the rapid change from dry humor to dark descriptions that litter the text. It is completely enjoyable.
The weakness of this package is the overall quality. I was disappointed to find that the recording is noticeably uneven, making editing breaks so obvious as to be distracting at times. Even so, the Gardner and Foote make this, warts notwithstanding, something that anyone interested in our country's first major course correction.
If you are interested in the graceful and compelling use of the language, seek out Shelby Foote. If you couldn't care less about the Civil War but love a well turned phrase, buy this book. If you are interested in the Civil War and value a well turned phrase, this is manna from the gods. Don't pass it by. Grover Gardner is fine but I couldn't help wishing ole Shel' was still around to add his laconic and often bemused, voice to the whole thing. Sorry I missed that.
Shelby Foote's Civil War narrative is one of the best records of American history that I have come across. He does an amazing job of walking the reader/listener through the "story" of the civil war. His descriptions of major players and their person histories help to give context and appreciation to all sorts moments in the war, big and small. He manages to describe the war in great detail without coming across as just listing facts, but as one who is intimately aware of how it all fit together and and loves to tell the story.
The audio set is narrated by Grover Gardner, who does a solid job of reading. It took me a bit to adjust to his voice, as it wasn't quite what I had envisioned in my head prior to beginning, but by the time you are a few hours in, it sounds and feels natural and right.
Picking up any of the volumes is a LARGE commitment, with each volume has a play time of around 40 hours, and the total for all three parts coming in at about 130 hours. With this in mind, it is likely that most will not jump in and run straight through all three, and probably not a single volume either.
The second volume is the longest of three, but also deals with the "busiest" mid-section of the war, including the battle of Gettysburg and fall of Vicksburg. I noticed that there were a number of recording level inconsistencies in this volume that I had not noticed in the first. Often there would be sections at a significantly lower or louder volume. Most of these were only for a few sentences, which makes me believe they were re-reads edited in much later, but there are a few longer sections as well.
In any case, if you want to learn what happened in the American Civil War, get this book and listen/read it.