I've read the book several times, and love it. But the narration is just too slow, the pauses after a comma or period are just too long, but sometimes the pause between chapters is almost non existing. I had to increase speed to 1.25 to get through it.
James McPherson, great grandson of Union Gen. James B. McPherson, has provided us with one of the most complete and well written accounts of the Civil War Era, including the economic, political and social dynamics leading up to, impacting on and resulting from the war. In three volumes, this set is a definitive resource for any serious student of the American Civil War.
I would and have. I originally bought the print version of this book for a Civil War class in college, but I held on to that book, replaced it when it was damaged, and now own the audiobook as well. It's a great read and I feel like I find something new each time.
The Oxford History of the United States is a great series in general. Getting away from that, I might compare it to "John Adams" by David McCollough, since it uses a story-telling structure to discuss complex topics in detail without being boring.
It's a bit more than a scene, but I think McPherson do a great job of covering the Mexican-American War, which is important because it introduces a lot of people and themes that become important in the Civil War.
It doesn't come until Part 2 (more on that below), but there's a short mention of two enemy armies camped on opposite sides of the river, singing and laughing with each other, knowing quite well what would happen at sunrise. Like the Christmas Truces of WWI, these really show the humanity of both sides' soldiers.
I have one minor qualm with this book, both related to the audiobook formatting rather than the writing or content. First, some of the chapter breaks are oddly placed. In general, each chapter in the print book is broken into two or three sections, and most of the audiobook chapters follow this pattern. However, there are some chapters that begin in the middle of a thought, e.g., "But the bluejackets soon got some rams of their own." This means that chapter breaks are not necessarily good stopping points. If you're listening in short shifts, such as during your commute, you may need to skip back a minute or two for context.
Also -- and this is a note for prospective buyers rather than a criticism -- although the book itself is a single volume, the audiobook is split in two. This volume covers up to Chapter 13 of the print version, which is roughly Fredricksburg (1862). Volume 2 goes from there to the war's end. Given the book's size, I think that's reasonable. However, I think it's important to note that the single-volume print version and the two-volume audio version are the same.
I have a hard time reading/listening to true fiction books. I think this is because my main reason for reading is to learn and not necessarily just for enjoyment, although I do read many historical fiction books. Favorites history/biography books and science/tech info books.
Great book. Lots of good interesting facts and a great overall history of the war from an unbiased perspective. Should engage anyone looking for a good history of the civil war.
I read the book and was not disappointed in the audio as I've listened to it, or at least large sections of it, over and over. If you want a solid overview of a mind-boggling period of American history this is it.
Writing brought the details of people, events to life. Narration went well and gave emotion this story.
I don't know if MacPherson got the Union general's name incorrect (unlikely), or a reading problem of the voice actor, but it is incorrect, irritating, and distracting.
Civil War Nut LH
I have the print version of this book, but decided to buy the audio version as well. It's a long book so I can read it faster going back and forth. Also, I listened to the book on tape several years ago and really enjoyed it. I'm not sure if this is the same version I listened to before, but I found myself frowning over some of the narrator's pronunciations or mispronunciations. (Some of these were fixed in Volume 2.) Otherwise, the narrator has a pleasant reading voice.
As for the book itself, I remembered the beginning being a little boring for me and that was true this time as well. While the information is interesting, it's a little long-winded in the events leading to the War. I'm not much for too many numbers and statistics. Still, the background information would explain a lot to people who haven't read much on the Civil War.
I kept the print version handy for some parts that were a little easier to comprehend when reading rather than listening. It was well worth the credit, though.
this detailed but gripping history of the lead up to and early years of the civil war flew past. I am immediately going to start volume two!
I picked this book because I have recently been visiting quite a few Civil War battlefields, and was looking for a narrative to help put what I was learning at these sites into a greater picture, and how everything fit together. This definitely accomplished that, but it's 13 HOURS until this book arrives at Fort Sumpter, and then another 2.5 hours until the next battle at Manassas. I found myself forwarding ahead and listening at high speed because I just couldn't take it anymore.