Shelby Foote is a brilliant storyteller, and his history of the Civil War is a masterpiece. Other histories give you the view from a thousand feet; Fo..Show More »ote shows you what it must have looked like to the birds in the trees. It's often said that he's biased toward the South, but I think that's an exaggeration. He may not be overly fond of Grant, but he lavishes praise on Abraham Lincoln. His "bias," such as it is, comes partly from the narrative device of trying to give equal time to Jefferson Davis, as if he were in the same league as Lincoln. (Sorry, Shelby, but Jeff was a pill and even you can't make him sympathetic.)
I like Grover Gardner's narration a lot. There is some variation in audio quality, as others have noted, but for the most part Gardner is clear and forceful, and the story unfolds almost effortlessly. I can listen to it for hours at a time without fatigue.
The only drawback to listening to this, rather than reading it, is the absence of maps. Foote's book is peppered with maps, large and small, strategically placed throughout the text, and they support the narrative descriptions with economy and precision. I was fortunate in having the book at hand and could follow the maps. Wikipedia also has a number of excellent Civil War maps that can be used for this purpose.
I loved Shelby Foote from the moment I saw him on Ken Burns Civil War. Now my appreciation for him grows. I had read Bruce Catton's books on the Civil..Show More » War and really loved them. Shelby Foote writes a beautiful narrative that expands our of it. I loved the account of U. S. Grant's two day excursion up the Mississippi on a bender. It was hilarious and I am so happy he had officers and friends like the journalist who did his best to corral him and then keep their mouths shut for so many years. What loyalty! A quality hard to find today.