Non-fiction, fiction--I read widely. Except bodice rippers. I'd rather pull my own eyelashes out than read romance. Avid, happy reader.
I have enjoyed this as much as the first installment--Foote really brings the civil war to life with many personal stories and behind the scenes details. I noticed another review that refered to this book as progaganda, as apparently, it didn't make sense to the reviewer that the North won the war while losing so many battles. I truly have no bias in this matter, and must say that I was a bit surprised to read that review, given that these are factual accounts, all of which can be easily researched for their validity. Far from propaganda, I think this book really highlights the role of luck, folly, and the tendencies for the best laid plans to run amok, and, to me, Foote does an admirable job of showing this on both sides of the conflict.
I think the tendency is to view the war as about ending slavery--and to view it in very black and white terms (pardon the bad pun) with the North against slavery, and fighting to end it. This really wasn't the case, and Foote does a good job of showing the political tightrope act Lincoln had to engage in regarding slavery to avoid losing Northern support for the war--and for his presidency.
I'm no civil war scholar, but I really enjoy historical books generally, and if you do, too, I would imagine you'll enjoy this one. I like a good, long listen if it's engaging, and this definitely fits the bill.
I like the narrator's voice, and would have given him a full rating if not for the sometimes distracting number of words he mispronounces. There are fewer such instances in this volume, though. The first volume is almost comical at times, particularly with respect to the names of towns, which were mangled almost beyond recognition at times (towns in Missouri seemed particularly likely to be mispronounced to the point where those battles and troop movements were tough to even listen to due to the frustration that it wasn't corrected or coached ahead of time).
Nobody could listen to this book in one sitting without a new Guiness book entry : ) --But you'll look forward to getting back to it.
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.