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 am an Audible listener since 2002. I travel over 30,000 miles each year serving as a Microsoft Market Manager. The miles fly by!!!
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.
I have concluded listening to this third and final volume of an intoxicating and deeply satisfying literary and historical intercourse. I am thrilled with the experience, all 120 plus hours of incredible reading by Mr. Gardner. I am only troubled that my ecstacy is over such a horrific and mournful fratricide. How can a story so terrible be so beautiful to behold?
As far as I am concerned, this three volume work is the greatest piece of narrative non-fiction ever written. Grover Gardner is always great, and his voice and Shelby Foote's (different though they are) seemed to be in perfect harmony. An unforgettable experience from start to finish.
I hate to give this only four stars because of the passion, skill, and immense work that went into it. But the problem is, I think these narratives give the reader (listener) an extremely lopsided view. Because I don't know the whole truth, I can only point to the discrepancies between Foote's narratives and what I do know.
Why was the war fought? Foote would have us believe that the cause was Southern commitment to Freedom--that the South sought self-government. Despite (admittedly) firing the first shot, she simply wanted "to be let alone." The idea that what the South truly sought was freedom to enslave is not mentioned anywhere in all these million-plus words. Southern blindness at the time was psychologically understandable, but at the remove of more than a century it is disappointing that a Southern writer would spend so much time and space trying to make the Southern cause look good. Yes, the South believed they were in the right, but the author needed to provide some balance to this belief. He does not do so.
What about the battles? Foote's description of the battle of Gettysburg in Volume II goes on for a very long time, and yet the Union side simply does not exist. Chamberlain's defense of Little Round Top is not mentioned. No Union leader is portrayed. If the Union had a strategy or a battle plan, you won't find out about it here. Pickett's Charge, yes, that's lovingly detailed, but the South had already lost the battle by then. So how much was left out or skewed in descriptions of the other battles? Can we trust Mr. Foote? Unfortunately, I'm afraid I do not.
Despite Gardner's kind of monotone narration and frequent mispronunciations and the poor production values mentioned in other reviews, much of this is quite glorious. But it's too much a Southerner's apologia. Overall, it makes me want to go back (where?!) and find out what really happened.
Absolutely, What a well written and well narrated series.
It’s the story of America and how it was shaped.
The simple yet sharp sense of humor of the average soldier on either side
Collide of cultures
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