The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume I begins one of the most remarkable works of history ever fashioned. All the great battles are here, of course, from Bull Run through Shiloh, the Seven Days Battles, and Antietam, but so are the smaller ones: Ball's Bluff, Fort Donelson, Pea Ridge, Island Ten, New Orleans, and Monitor versus Merrimac.
The word narrative is the key to this extraordinary book's incandescence and its truth. The story is told entirely from the point of view of the people involved in it. One learns not only what was happening on all fronts but also how the author discovered it during his years of exhaustive research. This first volume in Shelby Foote's comprehensive history is a must-listen for anyone interested in one of the bloodiest wars in America's history.
Bonus: In partnership with Audible and Playtone, the television and film producer behind the award-winning series Band of Brothers, John Adams, and The Pacific, this audiobook includes an original introduction written and read by acclaimed documentarian Ken Burns. For more from Audible and Playtone, click here.
©1986 Shelby Foote (P)2011 Blackstone Audio
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.
"fabric artist and quilter"
For those that have a little knowledge of the American Civil War this book is the ultimate in understanding the background from a political point of view on both sides and also the background to each of the battles and campaigns from a military point of view, again for both North and South.
This book is a tour de force. The author has gleaned information that is both pertinent but more importantly is also interesting. At times it is actually amusing, at other times it is very moving.
Grover Gardner does a wonderful job of narrating this book - for such a long book you need a voice that is comfortable to listen to, but authoritative and learned without being pompous, Grover fits this bill very well. I am so looking forward to the next volume.
Absolutely! I'm sure that the nuance of emotions could not rise off the printed page as well.
As a West Point graduate, I was educated deeply in the strategy and tactics involved in the war. What was not taught were the aspects of the personal idiosyncracies of the major personnel; the impacts on the civilian population nor the political interactions. This history filled in all the cracks.
Every moment was a garden of delight.
As this is a huge file, be prepared to sacrifice shelf space.
Shelby Foote's history of the Civil War is an interesting read (or listen) though it is not without its critics, most of whom appear to take him to task for accuracy. He is not, in their view, a real "historian," and in this they may be correct. Those considerations aside, I enjoyed volume 1, though the audio version suffers from two weaknesses. First, I did not like the narrator's voice. Indeed, the audio book would have been far better if narrated by Foote himself, whose voice is perfectly suited to the material. Second, there is an annoying audio artifact - best described as a faint echo - on the version I downloaded. Whether an artifact of recording or downloading, it is real and, once noted, irritating.
yes, the book opens a window to the past
the entire volume is a joy
Mr Foote understands the period like no one else i've read.
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