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The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume I, Fort Sumter to Perryville Audiobook

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume I, Fort Sumter to Perryville

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Publisher's Summary

The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume I begins one of the most remarkable works of history ever fashioned. All the great battles are here, of course, from Bull Run through Shiloh, the Seven Days Battles, and Antietam, but so are the smaller ones: Ball's Bluff, Fort Donelson, Pea Ridge, Island Ten, New Orleans, and Monitor versus Merrimac.

The word narrative is the key to this extraordinary book's incandescence and its truth. The story is told entirely from the point of view of the people involved in it. One learns not only what was happening on all fronts but also how the author discovered it during his years of exhaustive research. This first volume in Shelby Foote's comprehensive history is a must-listen for anyone interested in one of the bloodiest wars in America's history.

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.

©1986 Shelby Foote (P)2011 Blackstone Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (2457 )
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4.4 (1502 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Eric 03-20-15
    Eric 03-20-15 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    19
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    Performance
    Story
    "The Civil War brought to life"
    Have you listened to any of Grover Gardner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    All of Grover Gardner's performances are excellent.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes!


    Any additional comments?

    This is one of those histories that has you on the edge of your seat, biting your nails, hoping for an outcome that has long since passed. Even the familiar battles (Gettysburg, Fredericksburg) where everyone knows the outcome, I found myself eagerly listening for the next sentence to find out what would happen. Foote's insight into the terrain, commanders, technology, tactics, and events gives the reader an thorough, all-encompassing picture of the battles and the larger war.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J A 03-07-15
    J A 03-07-15

    JA

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    18
    2
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    Story
    "Terrible audio quality issues. Could not finish."

    It seems like the reader didn't know how to hold the mic properly. Audio would go from quiet to loud and back, but worse than that, the voice would become clipped to the point where the reader sounded like a robot. This went on for anywhere from minutes to hours at a time. I finally stopped less than 10 hours in after a 2+ hour section like this. The book was interesting, but the audio quality was simply too deplorable to proceed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benjamin F. Jacobson 02-27-15 Member Since 2013

    Amature Pedagogue

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    5
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    "Classic History, Engaging Narration"

    Foote's classic historical narrative of the American Civil War is read wonderfully by Grover Gardener. There is an incredible amount of archival research undergirding the history, and Foote's already narrative style (hey, it's in the title!) lends itself perfectly to being read out loud. Although plenty of his research and analysis has become outdated, this is still one of the best and most comprehensive histories of the war. However, as some other reviewers have mentioned, you probably want some familiarity with the war before tackling this trilogy. One certainly need not be an expert, but the depth of detail and frequent lack of context or framing will leave someone without a working knowledge of the war, players, and locations feeling a bit lost sometimes. That said, this can also be a great way to expand and deepen understanding and knowledge of the war for someone who only has a basic familiarity with the war.

    Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JP Muncie, IN 01-24-15
    JP Muncie, IN 01-24-15 Member Since 2017
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    8
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    "Simply outstanding"

    Worth every minute, with outstanding storytelling and personal narratives unlike any other Civil War history. I'm moving on to Vol II immediately!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JT 01-24-15
    JT 01-24-15
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    32
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    "The best account of the Civil War!"

    The narrator was great but I wish he had a southern accent. The book is a classic for any history buff.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William United States 01-13-15
    William United States 01-13-15 Member Since 2011

    Bear

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    67
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    "This book is not entertainment."

    The 37+ hours this book runs as an audio book become tedious. However in my opinion Every high school child in America should be made to read (or listen to) this book. If an attempt would be made to shorten this book, rhe result would be to render it a crippling blow. Everything contained herein is required to provide the reader a goodly understanding of the book as a whole. I would suggest the reader (you) do an Internet search of Civil War maps and have a good bookmark system to recall the maps. That way... one can visualize many of the references contained herein.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yuki Taga 12-02-14
    Yuki Taga 12-02-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
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    "Needs maps (all volumes)"
    What aspect of Grover Gardner’s performance would you have changed?

    There are some jarring discontinuities in voice from time to time. It's as if something was edited by insertion.


    Any additional comments?

    Needs maps. Really, without maps, good maps of those times, some of the story is very difficult to follow. Google maps helps, but not good enough, as some location names have changed, some rivers run different courses now. It needs maps.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mitch Tallahassee, FL USA 08-29-14
    Mitch Tallahassee, FL USA 08-29-14 Member Since 2008

    Mitch

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well-Written, Painful Narration"

    The book is generally well-written. It is less a military history and more a series of biographical vignettes. The book is a bit repetitious, right down to sentence fragments and even whole sentences being repeated in close enough proximity to be noticeable.

    I would prefer a different narrator. Grover Gardner's voice is high pitched and nasal with an almost whinny quality to it. The audio editing, as others have noted, is below average with occasional fluctuations in volume, fullness, etc.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    theCavalier Albuquerque, NM, US 06-20-14
    theCavalier Albuquerque, NM, US 06-20-14 Member Since 2015

    Well, I'm very focused on certain books. You have all the Asimov books I want, but by some unbelievable oversight, no Robots and Empire!

    ratings
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    15
    4
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    "A work for the ages"
    What made the experience of listening to The Civil War the most enjoyable?

    Reviewing Shelby Foote's narrative is almost as complicated as the material it proposes to explain. Brining the Civil War to the average reader (listener) is difficult in itself; it is grim history, and that is the only thing everyone agrees on. Limited to facts, it's dry and short, because every piece of information comes from the writing of those intimately involved in a radical clash of viewpoints, so facts come in the form of dates, names, and sometimes, numbers. Foote endeavored, therefore, to put a narrative forward, not a history, and as such, this is a masterwork. But even Foote had his point of view, as a Mississippian in the late 1950's to early 1960's, and so it is good to know as much history as there is before diving into the nearly six full days of solid narration. Foote's bias is, not surprisingly, toward the south, and is very subtle, so if you know the history as well as the average student, you will find yourself filling in the blanks without thought. Blanks are the primary vehicle of bias for Foote, along with some understatement, a little overstatement, and conclusions that are not wrong, but not provable either. The bias also tends to highlight the deeds of armies, which are not the main focus of the narrative, which makes itself indispensable by tying the economy, politics, interpersonal military relationships, even the weather, into a story that the reader will not put down after the first chapter of dusty names and numbers. In this way it has not only become shorthand for historians, but appeals to academicians and casual readers alike. As I said, it is complicated, but less that 5 stars of 5 is not a credible score.

    The performance is almost flawless. This may sound like hyperbole, but I've listened to it backward and forward, and it doesn't get old; Gardner's reading is both businesslike and interesting, and aside for a problem pronouncing Spanish town names in New Mexico, hits names, dates, intonation, inflection, structure and cadence despite the quaint turn of phrase from the 1860's, the complicated sentences that Foote enjoyed, and the rapid change from dry humor to dark descriptions that litter the text. It is completely enjoyable.

    The weakness of this package is the overall quality. I was disappointed to find that the recording is noticeably uneven, making editing breaks so obvious as to be distracting at times. Even so, the Gardner and Foote make this, warts notwithstanding, something that anyone interested in our country's first major course correction.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JPP Holland 04-14-14
    JPP Holland 04-14-14

    JPP

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
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    "The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 1"
    Any additional comments?

    The quality of Shelby Foote's work is wonderful, so I was pleasantly surprised to be offered the Audible title at a discount to accompany the equivalent Kindle title.

    The "sandpaper" narrator voice took some getting used to, but seemed to fit the book as it went along. Good sound quality, well done.

    My gripe is with the Byzantine ways one has to learn about "whispersync for voice", or, the lack of it in many titles, which is a let down in this case, when the Audible title is offered to precisely that end alongside the Kindle version from the Kindle store.

    The running narration highlights and the narrator voice start out in sync, but get out of it somehow when occasional reading is done seperately and then seem un-sync-able. As the reader is encouraged inside the book to use "Immersion Reading" using the sound controls this first is hilarious, then turns to frustration when nought can be done to sync both media.

    I would strongly advice Audible and Amazon to advice about this better, in advance, or disable Immersion Reading when whispersinc for voice is not available because it is very uncaracteristic to deliver such a frustrating experience.

    JPP Smorenburg

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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