The Civil War: A Narrative (The Civil War #1-3)
A stunning literary and historical achievement, the three volumes of Shelby Foote's THE CIVIL WAR vividly bring to life the four years of torment and strife that altered American life forever. Presented in a handsome boxed set, these three beautifully bound hardcovers are an essential addition to every American histor...more
3 volumes, 1000 pages each; this is going to take a while. But I've just finished Volume 1 - Fort Sumpter to Perryville and -- since at this rate I won't finish the whole thing for another year -- I thought I'd make some initial notes. Basically -- this is glorious. I'm not a Civil War buff, and I'm certainly not interested in getting down into the weeds of whether Foote gets this or that detail exactly right, or is fair or unfair to this or that general. The things that impress here ...more
This is the last volume which covered Grant arriving in Washington to take up duties as commander—and looking like a scruffy nonentity who was offered a room in the attic of Willard’s Hotel until the clerk saw his name—to the death of Jefferson Davis (Foote is a southerner after all). Really great work—it’s taken me a couple of years to read it.
There I think Fo ...more
I believe it. Often I find myself turning to pen and paper too, although I've never gone so far as dip pens.
Don't be deterred by the length. It's well worth it. The book is written (obviously) as a narrative, not in the sense of historical fiction, but in a prose style most people don't typically ...more
1. Good turn of phrase.
2. Good ability to paint a full personality.
1. Too strong a bias in favor of South.
2. Too strong a bias in favor of covering less important western action.
3. Too much filler. Could have trimmed 25%-33% of total words.
4. For me, needed more and better maps, with dates and times on them.
5. Would have benef ...more
monster “narration” of the civil war. Close to 3000 pages detailing every military and political battle in those horrendous four-plus years of slaughter that stand as a monument to human obstinacy and idiocy. Why I needed to do this, when I’ve already read so much about all this over the years, I can’t possibly explain. Probably a 12-step program ...more
This was the almost late 1980s. I'd somehow become dawn to read Civil War history (this was before Ken Burns' PBS series made its initial run).
When I realized it was a trilogy, I decided to go on to volume three. From there, I went to the first volume and re ...more
Out of all the books I've read, I can't think of another series that leaves me in such a state of awe, both at the history told and the historian who tells it. No amount of hyperbole conveys my love for Foote's masterpiece. These books are history at its best, not ...more
The books are very well written, but I often found myself reading fairly slowly as I flipped back and forth between maps and the narratives of the battles. One par ...more
I am fascinated by the US Civil War and it doesn't take much to get my interest flowing, if the topic is covered. Then there is Shelby Foote's masterpiece.
I don't want to quibble over detail, not that there is much to quibble over, and it can be left to the hard core historians, but Shelby's work is huge, and easy to read - it is a narrative history, after all. It is immense in size and had to be so, as it covers material - not only the handfu ...more
I did, and very much so. He m ...more
This has been called a Masterwork, and it is. Shelby foot may not have written too many books, but it is clear he understood the art and craft of writing, and brought that approachability to over 20 years of research. Its a history book that I was sorry ended ...more
Shelby Foote is clear, cogent, and even-handed. And pretty smart. The action in the West is well-documented. The progression of the war is easy to follow and Foote used primary sources extensively from what I co ...more
Foote achieved the near-impossible in creating a three-volume history of the Civil War that was as difficult to put down at its beginning as it was at its conclusion. Often, knowing that there are five thousand pages before any sort of payoff is enough to prevent one from reading; in the case of Foote's history, this is not the case, or at least it wasn't for me. His background as a novelist shone thro ...more
As a Civil War history buff, I appreciated both the narrative style and the detail with which Mr. Foote writes. He focused not just on the dry battle strategy (although there are many maps and descriptions to provide that information). He focused on the people. And not just ...more
"Comprehensive" doesn't cover it. You'll never hold all the names, notables and nuance in your head; don't bother trying.
One of the few histories of the Civil War that lends the appropriate weight to the Western campaigns; the only one I've read that got the story of Little Round Top right.