Don't miss the other volumes in Shelby Foote's Civil War: A Narrative series.
©1974 Shelby Foote; (P)1997 Blackstone Audiobooks
It's an incredible book, and the narration is beautiful. If you can't have Shelby Foote reading it himself, Grover Gardner is a good alternative. Foote carries the story well past the usual Appomattox tableau, with a riveting description of Lincoln's assassination, a careful exploration of the consequences of that act, and a long, elegiac, unbearably sad narration of the winding down of the war and the outcome, especially for the freed slaves. Everybody lost. The long national nightmare ended in the age of the robber barons and union busting; and blacks found themselves frozen out, hunted down, and at times massacred by North and South alike.
It took me about a year of off-and-on listening to work through all three volumes. It was worth every second. I can't recommend this audiobook too highly. Yes, you need other viewpoints for balance, but no one else tells the story in such an utterly enthralling way and with such captivating and humanizing detail.
You will spend 145 hours listening to all three of these volumes. You will not regret a minute. This is history at its finest - a succession of compelling stories laced with the most outstanding characterizations you can imagine. Shelby Foote's genius lies in his almost conversational style - it's as though he's sitting next to you chatting. Could not recommend this more highly.
I am so glad that I invested the many hours it took to listen to all three volumes of this fantastic history.
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!
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 !! :)
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.
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.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
If you're only going to read one book on the Civil War, this should be it. It's comprehensive, balanced, and readable. It's extremely long, but worth every minute of it.
I've just finished Volume III. The whole trilogy deserves the same 5 stars. Not since I
saw Ken Burn's PBS "The Civil War" have I come across anything nearly as well done and
entertaining. I don't recall how long the other two volumes were (nearly as long or longer, maybe)
but not one of those hours disappointed me. Sometimes I'd get a little confused...so much action, so
many characters, hard to keep it straight in my mind all the time...but then I'd go back a little
and hear the part again and I'd get back on track. Altogether magnificent storytelling.
Grover Gardner kept it all moving and fresh and even, exciting for me. A pleasant and well
paced narration. He made it all live, again. Glad I get to keep the set.
I have a colleague at work from India who is a true student of the modern American scene.
After I started reading Foote's work, it occured to me that today's US cannot really be
understood unless one understood that war and the context it was fought in and the consequences
of it. I highly recommended it to him.
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 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.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.