The final work in this series begins in December of 1862. Four months before, the Union Army tasted long-awaited victory at the bloody battle of Antietam. Grant continued on towards Vicksburg, Mississippi. The grim battles that lay ahead would be costly: the Vicksburg campaign, Chattanooga, the Battle of the Wilderness, the Battle of Atlanta and the March to the Sea, the siege of Petersburg. There would be two and a half more years of war before Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, followed by Lincoln’s death just six days later.
©1965 Bruce Catton (P)1990 Recorded Books, LLC
This is the third volume of the Centennial History of the Civil War written in the 1960's. There is nothing old fashioned or out of date about the information or the perspective of the writer. Catton's books remain an excellent survey history of the period. I would say Catton's books are as good as Shelby Foote's only shorter. He includes the political and social history so the book is not just about the battles. Bruce Catton was an excellent writer who painted pictures with words. His writing is not just good history it is good literature. His extensive knowledge of the topic went with his talent for pointing out the relevant facts and showing how they affected the different events covered in the book. The author's little word sketches describing particular events and people are so good they are often quoted in other books on this topic. The narration is just as good as the writing. I will definitely look for more of the narrator's books. Even if you are not a fan of history this is an entertaining and interesting book.
This is the third volume of Bruce Catton's centennial history of the Civil War. Starting in December of 1862 with the Union disaster at Fredricksberg to Lee's surrender at Appomatox Courthouse and Lincoln's assassination 6 days later, Mr. Catton weaves together the threads of all the different theaters of the war.
Mr. Catton was actually born in 1899 and as he was growing up he talk to people who had actually served in the war. He has a deep understanding of the sacrifices that the war placed on those who served and those who were at home. He combines this with a masterful skill at story telling to produce a wonderful history of the defining moment of 19th century America.
And his focus is not just on the tremendous battles of the time, but also how President Lincoln had to deal with the politics of winning the war and putting together plans for reconstructing the country once it was apparent that the Union was going to prevail.
You will be astonished at how quickly this book is finished. I highly recommend it.
Nelson Runger is my favorite reader, and I have been waiting so long for Audible to get this series. I wonder why they received permission to publish the third volume in the series but I hope soon they will get the other two: The Coming Fury and Terrible Swift Sword.
The series begins with the final days of Buchanan's administration and events leading up to the war, and the weeks after Lincoln's assassination. No one book can cover every political event and battle but this gives the reader a good sense of the history of that era. Also, listen to Shelby Foote's Civil War and watch the Ken Burns PBS series.
It is no criticism of Catton???s excellent three volume history to say it is a lesser work than Shelby Foote???s Civil War: A Narrative. Foote???s work is on a much grander scale. It is, moreover, great literature. There are no other American histories that really compare. Think Gibbon. No one reads nonfiction better than Nelson Runger. I look forward to the other two volumes.
This is a brilliant and beautifully written exposition of our past. The intelligence and heart of Bruce Catton's laboriously researched history is humbling and inspiring. Nelson Runger's wonderful narration is better than any other I have heard. If you want to understand modern America, the Civil War is an essential part of the puzzle, and you will find no more accessible history of that war than Catton's works.
It's taken about 2 years to listen to all 3 books. I took a break after each volume and then came back after several months and many intervening audio books. Nelson Runger's performance in all three books has been outstanding, and his voice made it possible to complete the trilogy without further interruption. The books themselves are more uneven. The first volume, which explained the political events that led to the war, was excellent, history at its best. Volume 2 was more uneven, and only covered about a year of the war. The final volume did two things I didn't like. First, it compressed the last 3 years of the war and barely outlined major battles, taking less time on them than on some of the relatively minor, opening skirmishes of the war. Second, when it did spend time detailing military movements and tactics, it almost always focused solely on Virginia, and adopts a sort of fawning fandom for Robert E. Lee. Grant is mentioned only as Lee's latest opponent. Sherman is barely mentioned, except as a "brutal man" whose accomplishments are barely listed. There's a lot of the "noble lost cause" mythology here, but it's subtle, and there does seem to be some concern about the fate of the "Negroes". I'm glad I finally completed the trilogy, but it's too much a product of its times.
This 3 volume work is a masterpiece. Given today's political climate, it should be required reading for high school every student. We must never forget the sacrifice and waste caused by political zealots. Catton's masterwork brings the reality of war and its consequences to life in a way few authors have been able to duplicate. Read just after the presidential election of 2016, it reinforced the notion that those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.
Very much enjoyed the series, I highly recommend it for anyone interested in the Civil War.
Comprehensive, well written, and insightful. Obvious why Cartton is found repeatedly within McPherson's footnotes. Enjoyable narration.
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