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The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume II, Fredericksburg to Meridian | [Shelby Foote]

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume II, Fredericksburg to Meridian

This volume is dominated by the almost continual confrontation of great armies. For the fourth time, the Army of the Potomac (now under the control of Burnside) attempts to take Richmond, resulting in the bloodbath at Fredericksburg. Then Joe Hooker tries again, only to be repulsed at Chancellorsville as Stonewall Jackson turns his flank, a bitter victory for the South, paid for by the death of Lee's foremost lieutenant.
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Publisher's Summary

This volume is dominated by the almost continual confrontation of great armies. For the fourth time, the Army of the Potomac (now under the control of Burnside) attempts to take Richmond, resulting in the bloodbath at Fredericksburg. Then Joe Hooker tries again, only to be repulsed at Chancellorsville as Stonewall Jackson turns his flank, a bitter victory for the South, paid for by the death of Lee's foremost lieutenant.

In the West, during the six-month standoff that followed the shock of Murfreesboro in the central theater, one of the most complex and determined sieges of the war has begun. Here, Grant's seven relentless efforts against Vicksburg show Lincoln that he has at last found his killer-general, the man who can "face the arithmetic".

With Vicksburg finally under siege, Lee again invades the North. The three-day conflict at Gettysburg receives book-length attention in a masterly treatment of a key great battle, not as legend has it but as it really was, before it became distorted by controversy and overblown by remembered glory.

Don't miss the other volumes in Shelby Foote's Civil War: A Narrative series.

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.


©1963 Shelby Foote; (P) Blackstone Audiobooks

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  •  
    Christopher Morton 11-30-04 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Best of the Three Volumes"

    This series is easily the best Civil War work out there. Foote is
    magnificent, giving more than just battle details, giving details about the politics, society, and personalities that make this war the defining moment of our nation. The narrator is magnificent. A must listen and well worth the hours (and I mean hours) of listening.

    26 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jimmy out of this world 04-23-05
    jimmy out of this world 04-23-05 Member Since 2001

    jimmy

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    "An exhaustive look at our most defining moment"

    Mr. Foote delivers the second of three volumes here, and spares no
    detail. I've studied the Civil War off an on since I was a child, and
    have discovered through this series that I know nothing.
    Aside from being minutely informative, this series is also entertaining,
    as any 60-hour audiobook should be. There is plenty of colorful turn
    of phrase here, and a lot of the wit of Lincoln, and others, is entirely
    new to me.

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada 09-01-06
    Peter Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada 09-01-06 Member Since 2006
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    "A fantastic Story Telling of a Truly Horrific Time"

    The civil war was truly a defining moment in American history ! Shelby Foote was a man who through his pen brought us face to face with the titanic figures of this war. He brings us into the personal lives of so many "yankees" and "rebs" common foot soldiers, officers, Generals, civilans, and the common folk; I found it both terrifing and unbelievable as letters are read, relationships long since gone into history once again alive and breathing life into my ears.

    I laughed heartily and I cried deeply for the people of this historical event called the Civil War. I love Shelby's way of writing and his gentle, warm southern charm; this comes seeps through the book everywhere. The late Mr. Foote was brutally honest to both sides and maintain a fair and very well balanced view of the civil war.

    I cannot do this book justice in writing this review by my words - this book - The Civil War by Shelby Foote is something that you Audible listener MUST experience for yourself !! As you listen time fades away as you stand transfixed on the events unfolding right there before your eyes and ears.

    Every single person must listen to this book as it touchs on every single issue that you will every encounter in your life. Download this book now YOUR experience is waiting !! :)

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wolfpacker Memphis, TN 07-22-08
    Wolfpacker Memphis, TN 07-22-08 Member Since 2005

    Curtis

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "If You Have Time, Read All Three Volumes"

    This book is far different and far better than I expected. It truly is a narrative and not a dull history treatise. It is written impartially from neither a Southern nor Northern perspective. The noble intentions and motivations of participants from both sides come through vividly.
    You should read all three volumes. It will give you a broad perspective on the Civil War. Unlike any other history I've read on this war, these books will impart an understanding of what went on in the West, the North, and such places as Florida and Arkansas. I hardly knew the war touched those last two states.
    Anyone who has seen the Ken Burns Civil War series will see the similarity to the amusing anecdotes related by Shelby Foote in that series. If you enjoyed his contributions to that show and have any level of interest in the American Civil War, you will enjoy this great book!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken Arlington, TX, United States 11-28-09
    Ken Arlington, TX, United States 11-28-09 Listener Since 2007
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    "Outstanding"

    although I could have hoped for a better voice for the reading, it is still a outstanding listen it will keep you, listening for hours.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 08-22-13
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 08-22-13 Member Since 2007

    Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton.  In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!! 

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "OUTSTANDING SERIES!"

    As a black American who grew up in Washington, DC, I never had ANYTHING good to say about the Confederacy. Reading this series only proved my personal credo "Racism is born out of ignorance". Guess who was a hypocritical, ignorant racist? ME!!! I discovered that I knew about as much about the Civil War as I was taught in school about African-American and black Americans - NOTHING!!! Oh, we got a smidgen on George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass but only enough to fill a thimble. Although my family home was just 3 blocks from Fort Stevens where the Confederate army almost took Washington and where President Lincoln was almost killed by a Confederate army, we never learned the amazing story behind the fort which we used as a playground.

    This series of books covers the Civil War from "A to Z". They are extremely well-researched, providing little-known information about this historical fight. I came away with a new respect for the South for fighting and dying for a cause in which they believed in totally. I learned that the Civil War wasn't about white people hating black people (although there were quite a few whites who held the ridiculous belief that we weren't even humans). The war between the North and South was more about the economic necessity for cheap labor to maintain America's dominance in agriculture which fueled Europe's dominance as an industrialist giant. And the proof was in the South's total destruction after the Emancipation Proclamation. Rich plantation owners were broke, busted and bankrupt. No cotton or sugar - no money.

    I have a new-found respect for Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and Robert E. Lee and the multitudes of Confederate soldiers who lost their lives fighting to maintain their way of life. Of course, as a descendant of slaves, I'm glad that the North prevailed. It's just unfortunate that the South couldn't see past their noses and let over 20,000 skilled black artisans (carpenters, blacksmiths, seamstresses, etc.) leave for the North instead of revamping the South by becoming the nations center of furniture makers, ironworks, and purveyors of clothes for the rich and poor. To compound the country's total lack of vision, the alleged Northern abolitionists lost out also because it gave these new black citizens jobs as cooks, maids, nannies - actually, let's just call "a spade a spade: "Mammies" - butlers, house boys, and manual laborers.

    That said, Shelby Foote gives a well-rounded objective insight into a much misunderstood war that didn't really advance America's narrow-minded view of the people it brought to these shores in bondage and oppressed for more than a century after this horrible conflagration. But I thank him for helping me see the Confederacy from a different and enlightening perspective. I had lived in Atlanta, GA for 15 years when I read this book. My northern family and friends couldn't understand how I could stand the "racist South" with its "good ole boy" attitude. That is something I have never experienced in Georgia. I don't worry about the Confederate flag or the hero leaders of the Civil War which are carved in the side of Stone Mountain, like Mount Rushmore. In all my years there, I was never called a "nigger" not once. Yet, after moving to Phoenix, AZ, I was called "nigger" four times in my first six months here. Has this country learned nothing? I still consider myself a "Georgia Peach".

    According to Shelby Foote's amazing account, the south has nothing to be ashamed of for fighting for what it believed was right at the time. Now if the whole country can learn from past mistakes and move forward as a COMPLETE country - white, black, brown, red, yellow or purple with pink polka dots - we will be ready as a nation to defend our shores from foreign threats. Reading this book is the first step in the right direction,

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Alexandria, VA, United States 05-30-12
    Sarah Alexandria, VA, United States 05-30-12 Member Since 2005

    I'm a 60 yr old former English major and grad student. It's been fascinating revisiting the books I studied in my 20s, read aloud to me.

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    "Superb story packed with detail"

    Shelby Foote's trilogy comprises 132.5 hours on Audible and took me most of 5 months of short errands and a couple of long drives in my car to listen to in its entirety. It was fascinating. At first the narrator's voice and quirks annoyed me, but by the fifth or sixth hour I had adapted to his voice and found it well suited to the narrative. The battle of Gettysburg takes up a large portion of this volume, as it should. I found maps online and in the physical copies of this book so that I could better follow the action of this battle. I was moved by sorrow at many points and kept thinking of all the futile charges resulting in death for so many. Both sides believed so strongly in their cause, and both suffered greatly as a result. Foote quotes from letters, diaries, speeches, and personal reminiscences written after the war to paint a vivid picture of the generals and ordinary soldiers who fought these battles and slogged through these long, muddy marches with little food and often no shoes. The devastation of the countryside is hard to imagine as I drive, hike and bicycle through many of the peaceful eastern battlefields today. Foote has allowed me to understand what these places and the people of a different, not so distant time experienced and why. Listening to this long audiobook is a huge investment but so well worth it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 03-31-08 Member Since 2002
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    "Amazing Detail"

    Excellent narrative on a complex topic, flows nicely. Constant mix of interesting side stories about the lives and interactions of people involved in the different battles of the many armies and navys fighting throughout the south and midwest. Many of the battles presented with much excitement and ausome details.

    The author has succeeded at presenting a very balanced account of the peoples and governments views and opinions, politics and moods of both the Union and Confederate countries and how all were affected.

    Nothing else in the history of the USA has done more to forge this country into what it is today... this is a very moving account of why, covered in three volumes.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Boots Vidal Junction, CA 10-20-12
    Boots Vidal Junction, CA 10-20-12 Member Since 2011

    Jim Bronson

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    "Gen. McClellan is finally gone!"
    Any additional comments?

    When I first started reading this series, I purchased volume 1 in a hard back book. After about the third chapter I realized for me to understand the geographical narrative I need to have a map. Inside the hardback book on both and covers there was a map however very generalized. While searching the Internet to find maps I discovered audible.com. And found that the entire three volume series of the Civil War by Shelby Foote was available. It seemed to me that listening to the book would be much easier than trying to read it while at the same time trying to study the maps I have collected. We can only hope that someday this three volume series will be made into a miniseries, which of course would be the miniseries of all time.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shukhrat Martinez, GA, United States 01-12-11
    Shukhrat Martinez, GA, United States 01-12-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing"

    There were a few technical glitches in this volume but at the end I almost forgot about them. Second volume is even better than the first one!
    Shelby Foote's work is truly monumental. I did not feel any significant bias.
    Narrator is simply amazing. I am very glad that I bought it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • Vivian
    New Malden, United Kingdom
    8/31/11
    Overall
    "Keep the faith"

    It takes quite an amount of challenge and re-listening to get the best from this classic. However it is full of interesting aspects of the main characters in the war and I will return many times. Don't look for the common man interest - its all about big egos and even bigger risks.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Graham
    Brixham, United Kingdom
    3/4/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent"
    Would you listen to The Civil War again? Why?

    Although quite a commitment, very rewarding.


    What other book might you compare The Civil War to, and why?

    As a narrative history, together with it's two companion volumes this book stands apart.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    There are to many to mention individually. Many scenes will live with me for a long time.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Really to many to mention.


    Any additional comments?

    Highly recommended. But as mentioned elsewhere quite a commitment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • chris
    london, United Kingdom
    12/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Value for money or just tedious"
    What did you like best about The Civil War? What did you like least?

    This is the audiobook equivalent of war and peace. 47 hours - and this is just one of three volumes. It goes on forever. Get all 3 volumes and it runs to almost 150 hours.
    That said it must be one of the most comprehensive books covering the American Civil War of all time. It is well read and describes all the battles and the men behind them. The quotes from historical records add authenticity to what is really a historical text written in a story like manner.
    Whilst it took a long time to get used to who was who, with a variety of terms for each side, I had a long time to get used to them. For example, there was greybacks, confederates, butternuts, rebs all meaning the same thing. Then it was using the generals names to refer to one side or the other, and even the state they came from! I didn't know if a Virginian regiment was meant to be from the North or South. Grant and Lee I knew, but there were loads of others I didn't. It was sometimes confusing. If it was a written book I would have been highlighting the words to help me remember them.
    The relative numbers of men who died on each side was stated in great accuracy for every battle where it was known. Sometimes 94 on one side and 11 on the other; then 24307 on one side and 5933 on the other. It somehow desensitised me to just how many people died in horrible conditions.
    As a learning tool it was great, but towards the end I was desperate for it to be over.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Shelby Foote? Why or why not?

    Yes, but it would need to be shorter.


    What does Grover Gardner and Ken Burns (introduction) bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    It is always easy to listen whilst driving. If I had to sit and read this book I would NEVER have finished it.


    Do you think The Civil War needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    It would be interesting to see how things developed after the end of the war. There was some information of Davis, but how we got from there to a unified thinking of the UNITED STATES might be useful.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • David
    Basingstoke, United Kingdom
    6/13/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A narrative indeed"

    This book recounts the start of the American Civil War and presents the history as a series of historical events in chronological order linked with extracts from correspondence and news stories of and on those involved on both sides.It does not get into great detail nor overly analyze these events but simply presents them in as much context as is appropriate.

    The narrator gives an excellent performance for the type of book and presents the material clearly.

    I have very little knowledge of the American Civil War and found this audiobook very useful in putting in context the little I did know, while not attempting to overload me with unnecessary detail.

    A good listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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