I'm not sure what is meant by a narrative history. I almost didn't buy it because of the title and that would have been a tragedy. The genius of the book and this applies to all three of books is the authors ability to give life to the great characters of the civil war. Grover Gardner is the perfect reader for this book and is able to communicate the irony and humor as well as the tragedy and heroism. Shelby even gave me new insights into Lincoln which I didn't think was possible, Mr. Foote's writing style and story telling is as good as any suspense novel I've ever read. There was a lot of attention given to Jefferson Davis which was fine with me because I didn't know anything about him and Lincoln is more human in this story of the civil war than any I have read. I was sad when I finished the book not because of the story or the people of the story but because it was over. Its been a long time since I've read (or in this case listened to )something I couldn't put down.
Shelby Foote's three-volume work is fantastic. When it comes to historical narratives, it takes the cake as far as detailed accounts of the conflicts, both between the northern and southern military regimes, but also of the inner struggles of major characters on both sides. Not only are key issues covered in detail, but, rather than merely stating facts, the author created an eloquent recital of events that keeps the listener/reader interested. (At least, it did this for me. I imagine that if it was simply a straight compilation of listed facts then it wouldn't be considered the must-read that it is when it comes to a key portion of the US's history.) Whether it's the details of military conflict, the planning before and after such events, the social and political conundrums of the day, the emancipation of slaves, or even the happenings in major characters' personal lives, Foote did an amazing job of setting the events down on paper.
Grover Gardner does an excellent job of narrating this piece, too. Considering the book's large amount of direct quotes of conversations, speeches, and letters, Gardner applies a subtle change to his tone which lets the listener/reader know that quotation marks go around what he's reading - an excellent touch that you'll become familiar with quickly. His voice is very clear and eloquent, too, so there won't be a problem understanding what he's reading. Nicely done, sir!
Absolutely- provided it was someone interested in learning about the civil war in exquisite detail... 3 volumes (>130 hrs) is a bit too much of a commitment for a the casual listener interested in a survey of the civil war.
Grover Gardener does a fantastic job with taking on Shelby Foote's unequaled three volume work on the civil war. I had been intimidated by the shear volume of Foote's narrative and took a chance with this one- I was not disappointed. This truly is a narrative and is perfectly suited to the audio-book medium.While not for the casual reader, if you want to know who was who, who they really were, and what really happened, I don't think there is another book out there to match this one.I highly recommend it to anyone interested in US history.
This probably should not be a novice's introduction to the civil war as it is so detailed that keeping track of all the politicians, generals and battles can be confusing; this is especially true when Foote jumps back and forth between scenes. The chronology is a bit confusing too if you are not familiar with the dates of the battles, especially if two or more battles are being fought simultaneously. I found that having a good civil war map and battle timeline (which I found on the web) helped a great deal. Also, because it is so long, listening to it in fast mode helps get through the massive details quicker.
However, it is very worth while listening to it, as it is an interesting history with lots of background and personality information. A novice will probably want to listen at least twice.
I am looking forward to listening to part II.
I read several other reviewers complaints about the narration, so I listened to the preview to see if it was as bad as they had said. The preview, which I listened to on my laptop's poor speaker, sounded alright. I wasn't thrilled with the vocals, but it was listenable, and the source material (the book content itself) sounded so well written, as I had expected based on all I had heard about this series. So I purchased the book.
Unfortunately, the listening experience didn't follow to my car audio, which is top-notch. I've listened to a number of books there, and all have been fantastic up to now. However, I couldn't make it through the first 5 minutes of this one. The effect I experienced was similar to that you get when you hear fingernails on a chalkboard. I hoped that I had downloaded a lower-quality version, so I shut this book off (actually switched to another book, Hyperion, which sounded great) until I could check, but this was the "High" quality download to my iPhone.
I don't believe that Gardner's voice is the problem, as much as it is the audio encoding of his voice. His somewhat nasal sound results in some seriously disruptive audio once encoded digitally. I'm sure that this could be corrected with re-encoding, and it's a serious shame that such work should be tainted in this way.
I seem to recall from when I signed up that Audible guarantees the books, so I guess I need to research how to take advantage of this since all my other listening experiences have been great so far. I'm going to try a couple of other things first (other devices which might download a difference audio format), and I'll update the review if anything changes.
One of the joys of watching Ken Burns' series was being introduced to Shelby Foote. Listening to such a gentleman tell the story as if he had been there added so much. I've read the books but listening to them has added to my understanding. The saddest thing about today's education is that the young are not taught the truth. Mr. Foote's books are a treasure.
Inflection and pace
What? Did Barbara Walters make up this question?
This work quickly becomes an old friend. Shelby Foote is a magnificent writer, and Grover Gardner is also one of my favourite readers from Audible; he gives it the feel of a timeless classic.
The story needs to told like this. I want to know what happened and not someone opinion of what happened is.
I love history.
Maybe, but not too keen. I may listen to it as a lullaby.
The detailed narrative of battle scene and strategy.
Yes, I have quite a few books narrated by him.
First of a three volume magnum opus, this book gives a fairly even handed account of the war from the perspective of both side, the first volume covers the first two years of the American civil war, the author seemed to have bought the Southern argument that the war was about State right, and not slavery, which I disagree. But otherwise, an exciting volume to read.
I would advise anyone interested in US history and freedom, as an ideal, to read listen to this entire series. Shelby Foote has done all of us a great service in making this huge, complex, sad and sanguinary period of history come to life and take on a coherence not found in many other books covering this material. I would recommend a good Civil war atlas to keep handy for reference so the geography doesn't overcome you. After you recover, I'd recommend The Republic of Suffering, by Drew Gilpin Faust, to understand the profound effect that the Civil War has had on this nation.