In the third and last volume of this vivid history, Shelby Foote brings to a close the story of four years of turmoil and strife which altered American life forever. Here, told in rich narrative and as seen from both sides, are those climactic struggles, great and small, on and off the field of battle, which finally decided the fate of this nation.
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.
©1974 Shelby Foote; (P)1997 Blackstone Audiobooks
After trying out the first volume, I went on to listen to all three. The writing is detailed enough to be interesting but moves quickly enough that the reader never feels stuck at any one battle or on any one character. The author's tone is reasonably neutral and he gives all the different participants, both North and South, their due but over time it becomes increasingly obvious where the author's heart lies. If the preamble to the US Constitution states that all men were created equal, it becomes apparent in small ways over the course of the books that Southern soldiers and especially Southern officers were created more equal. The Confederate armies (they are never referred to as "Rebels")behave more bravely and nobly in every battle and win nearly every battle though they are sometimes required by circumstances, as at Gettysburg, to make strategic withdrawals. It therefore comes as something of a surprise at Appomattox when General Lee, much against his will, is prevailed upon to surrender his army to avoid further bloodshed. Some may also not know that President Lincoln was killed by "a Northern bullet." Reconstruction is given short shrift as is General Grant's life after the war, but the trilogy concludes with a full account of the long life of Jefferson Davis (who outlives most of the other principals)who never deigns to request a pardon and so can never re-enter political life but lives to become a symbol of Southern ideals. If you are from the South, this will probably appeal greatly to you and if your sympathies are more Northern (as mine are) then it will give you a greater appreciation for why the Civil War was fought in the first place and how the two points of view could not otherwise be reconciled. The writing is never dull and that is saying a lot for a work of this length. I can freely recommend it to those with some patience and a willingness to see both sides of a conflict.
Shelby Foote is very even-handed in his history of the Cvil War
I think most of us who bought the audio, became interested because of Ken Burns's Civil War documentary.
There was a lot of cut and paste with the audio book. There were a lot of vocal insertions by the reader/narrator--why, I have no idea--but they were very annoying.
This three volume narrative of the Civil War is simply outstanding. It is expertly written combining Union and Confederate war operations as well as political positions from both points of view. Worth every moment.
I drive over 30,000 miles every year, and books from Audible make the drive time a wonderful experience. History, fiction, mystery, etc.
I am finishing the final volume of this wonderful history. I drive about an hour per day and more often than not, I regret the end of my journey because there is so much more story to listen to. Masterful work! My thanks to the author and narrator for a job very well done.
If you read one book about the Civil War, this is the one. Best of the three volumes in terms of literary quality. Foote waxes philosophical without ever being preachy and gives safely probable interpretations of the facts without being facile. The reader is quite listenable as well.
As is true about all three volumes, even if you don't care a bit about the American Civil War, listening to Shelby Foote's prose is worth the ticket every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Grover Gardner gets it. You should too.
In my lifetime I have read numerous books on the civil war. Nothing however comes close to matching this three volume narrative. From the opening of the first volume to the close of the third I was enthralled and captivated by the story as it unfolded.
I already have. Numerous times. History is fascinating. And history suffers from having historians as authors. Some historians can research amazingly and know their subject better than any other woman or man on the planet. But in my experience when said historian attempts to write about said history the books and articles read like an instruction manual for a VCR. Shelby Foote's writing and story telling is enthralling in all three volumes of this series. Mr. Foote kept me listening through the parts that are absolutely depressing to hear, filled with suffering of individuals, armies from both sides, or the land the events take place in. And his insights into the time, the people, and the character of the Civil War are second to none.
There are far too many to pick. Nathan Bedford Forrest's constant dominance over far superior numbers and making everyone who he fought against appear cowardly and inept. Lincoln's near constant political brilliance even when "the bottom is out of the tub." Robert E. Lee's sincere and tragic plight. Sherman's austere yet clear vision on how to win the war. And Grant's complete lack of fear in battle and ability to see what needed to be done.
The characters are not so much performed by the reader but the characters of the Civil War are some of history's most fascinating character studies and Foote brings them to life with his words moreso than anything else I have read or listened to on the subject.
If history book authors could write with the fine research and knowledge that Shelby Foote shows in this and his other two volumes, I would, through reading said books, know more than most college professors. Sadly, this is not the case. With Foote's passing the world lost an amazing writer, and from what I have seen in interviews and his stealing the show in the Burns documentary, we lost a great man that comes but once in a generation. Thank you for reading this.
I like to read but listening is better.
The third volume in the series tells the story of the North's victory, the South's defeat, and the aftermath. Foote does a wonderful job of tying it all together. The death of Abraham Lincoln is covered in detail. The first character introduced in the series was Jefferson Davis, and he is also the last character to be covered in the series. Sherman is the star of this final volume.
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