Customer Review

214 of 217 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars worth every detail--compellingly readable--thanks, Shelby, November 29, 1999
This review is from: The Civil War, 3-Volume Box Set (Hardcover)
Perhaps the greatest accolade I heard of Shelby Foote's involvement with the PBS mini-series "The Civil War" was the admiring comment that he seemed to have been there. I feel very much the same way about this epic 3-volume set. McPhearson's "Battle Cry of Freedom" may be the standard one-volume history of the Civil War, and a fine work it is, but it offers nowhere near the feeling of proximity to people and events as does this massive labor of love. Foote is so good at so many of the writer/historian's crafts that combine to make this trilogy essential Civil War reading. His skill at bringing a novelist's eye to this material has already been frequently noted. But he also has a wonderful way of giving a reader the feeling for the terrain on which battles were fought, for the ebb and flow of those battles, for the character of the men involved (and what characters! the proud, obstinante Jeff Davis, the rugged, unwashed Grant, the patrician Lee, the moody, tragic Lincoln--who would dare invent them? Yet Foote brings them, and dozens more, to breathing life). He conveys equally well the movement of troops as he does ideas--not to mention the sights, sounds, smells of the era, be they on the battlefield, in the army camp, or the White House. These are books that I will turn to again and again (I just got done re-reading volume 3), because, like no one else, Shelby Foote not only makes me feel like he was there, but that *I* was too.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 25, 2010 8:57:54 PM PDT
********** says:
I think your phrase "the feeling of proximity to people and events" is so apropos. I wasn't certain why this series of books was so compelling to me, but that phrase summarizes it completely.
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