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The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 2: Fredericksburg to Meridian (Vintage Civil War Library) by [Foote, Shelby]
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The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 2: Fredericksburg to Meridian (Vintage Civil War Library) Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 146 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in Vintage Civil War Library (3 Book Series)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A stunning book, full of color, life, character and a new atmosphere of the Civil War, and at the same time a narrative of unflagging power. Eloquent proof that a historian should be a writer above all else. I predict that Foote's three volumes will be a turning point in the writing of Civil War history."

-- Burke Davis

"This first of a three-volume history of the Civil War is so good that the reader is apt to mistrust his instant and overpowering enthusiasm. If the subsequent works in the series are its equal, novelist Shelby Foote will have written one of the finest histories ever fashioned by an American."

-- Wirt Williams, Los Angeles Times

"The quality is high; the tone, cool and objective, yet lighted with excitements.... Foote's narrative style is first-rate, vivid, and refreshing. When the trilogy is completed it will most likely stand as the most thorough history of the-Civil War yet done."

-- Hudson Strode

"Here, for a certainty, is one of the great historical narratives of our century, a unique and brilliant achievement, one that must be firmly placed in the ranks of the masters ... a stirring and stupendous synthesis of history."

-- Van Allen Bradley, Chicago Daily News

"A great, hulking book ... great in quality as well as in size. Not only does the author achieve a wonderful breadth of coverage, he also recounts the events of the war with an impressive depth of understanding. His book is a major achievement in the literature of the Civil War: good research superbly written."

-- Richard B. Harwell, Chicago Sun Tribune --Review

"A stunning book, full of color, life, character and a new atmosphere of the Civil War, and at the same time a narrative of unflagging power. Eloquent proof that a historian should be a writer above all else. I predict that Foote's three volumes will be a turning point in the writing of Civil War history."

-- Burke Davis

"This first of a three-volume history of the Civil War is so good that the reader is apt to mistrust his instant and overpowering enthusiasm. If the subsequent works in the series are its equal, novelist Shelby Foote will have written one of the finest histories ever fashioned by an American."

-- Wirt Williams, Los Angeles Times

"The quality is high; the tone, cool and objective, yet lighted with excitements.... Foote's narrative style is first-rate, vivid, and refreshing. When the trilogy is completed it will most likely stand as the most thorough history of the-Civil War yet done."

-- Hudson Strode

"Here, for a certainty, is one of the great historical narratives of our century, a unique and brilliant achievement, one that must be firmly placed in the ranks of the masters ... a stirring and stupendous synthesis of history."

-- Van Allen Bradley, Chicago Daily News

"A great, hulking book ... great in quality as well as in size. Not only does the author achieve a wonderful breadth of coverage, he also recounts the events of the war with an impressive depth of understanding. His book is a major achievement in the literature of the Civil War: good research superbly written."

--Richard B. Harwell, Chicago Sun Tribune

From the Inside Flap

FREDERICKSBURG TO MERIDIAN
"Gettysburg...is described with such meticulous attention to action, terrain, time, and the characters of the various commanders that I understand, at last, what happened in that battle.... Mr. Foote has an acute sense of the relative importance of events and a novelist's skill in directing the reader's attention to the men and the episodes that will influence the course of the whole war, without omitting items which are of momentary interest. His organization of facts could hardly be better."--"Atlantic

Product Details

  • File Size: 10761 KB
  • Print Length: 1014 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (January 26, 2011)
  • Publication Date: January 26, 2011
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004C43G6A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,267 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 2, From Fredericksburg to Meridian" is Foote's second book in his magnum opus and considered by some sources to be the best. I began with Volume II because of my interest in 1863, Stones River, Gettysburg and Chickamauga, and all those subjects received a very detailed treatment. I remember perusing the book in the early 1980s and wanted to read it, but was intimidated by its size. After all, it was only one of three 2.5" thick books in the series. After watching (and re-watching) Foote's interviews in Ken Burns' "The Civil War", I became so fond of the man that I bought the whole set, both in print and in audio. The books have a permanent spot in my nearest bookshelf and the audio is in a permanent playlist on my iPhone.

Volume II begins with Jefferson Davis' 1863 trip around the Confederacy to rally his constituents, and takes us through the battles of Fredericksburg, Stones River, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga. We lose Stonewall Jackson, see the rise of Nathan Bedford Forrest and Ulysses Grant, and witness the fall of Rosecrans and Bragg. It does not just focus on the well-known activities of the Army of the Potomac vs. the Army of N.VA, but interposes scenes from all theaters of the war as well, as the other branch of service (Navy). It's not just a military history, as we learn of such items as the infighting in both White Houses, international ramifications of the War, and the dysfunctional inflationary economies and riots in Southern cities like Richmond and Northern cities like New York.

Foote is a master storyteller and his riveting and personal accounts may make the reader forget they are reading non-fiction history.
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There can be no doubt that Sheby Foote is a learned man with a firm grasp of his subject. Sometimes the reading is fun, because he knows all the dish, about all of the insider stories, on all of the major players, and this gives a rich dimension to historical background, and puts a real human face on things. On the other hand, his gift for detail is almost annoying at times; he has has a tendency for run on paragraphs that had me heaving deep sighs now and again. And the role call of names! Well it was more distracting than a Russian novel. I just couldn't hope to keep up, and I don't think anyone who wasn't a passionate student of the civil war, could ever hope to, on the level that Foote, lays it it out in this Trilogy.

Yet I learned many interesting things about Lincoln, and saw battles from his unique perspective, and found his take to be rather absorbing, many times. And above all, I loved the way he took a more impartial view of the conflict, telling the facts, strengths, and aspirations of both sides. Too often, it is the victor's tale that is predominately told, and the loser's version is more or less a footnote. That is less the case in Foote's work, and since this was a war that was fought barely 150 years ago, I think it's important to understand what happened and why, from both perspectives. After all 500,000 men died in just 4 years time. That was a significant percentage of the population. And in so very many ways, the political climate of our times, and in some ways, even the social climate today, has never been more divided, just as it was back in the times, of the Civil War. There is a part of me that is troubled in knowing that this could happen again, so I seek to understand it. For me, Foote can be a part of this process of enlightenment.
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Format: Paperback
He has left us with a view of our Civil War, that was never captured before, and has not been since. This volume begins with the horrific carnage at Fredericksburg and the crises in Lincoln's cabinet in the aftermath. As in Vol. 1, Foote transitions smoothly from politics to battlefield, and from the war in the East to the campaigns in the West, and stays highly readable every page of the way.
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Format: Paperback
Shelby Foote's installment of his 3-volume history on the Civil War covers the period from Fredericksburg (December 1862) to Meridian (February-March 1864).

In between those times are covered such things as:

1. Major campaigns (Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Stones River/Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, etc.).
2. Lesser-known engagements (Helena, Grierson's Raid, Brandy Station, etc.).
3. Various political alliances forming against or for Presidents Lincoln and Davis.
4. Relationships between Northern and Southern generals.

The second volume is a smooth if not very long read. The narrative is engaging and helps the reader to understand basic elements of the Civil War. The title is a great introduction for someone who wishes to gain a foundational understanding of the war. For those who want a deeper knowledge, then I strongly suggest reading books on individual battles by several excellent authors (Gordon Rhea, Peter Cozzens, Stephen Sears, Mark Bradley, Harry Pfanz, Earl Hess, etc. - too many to completely list!).

One major complaint I have are the maps - not enough and lack detail in the individual battle maps. I realize this is not necessarily the author's fault.

Still, a good read and recommended for the person who wants a comprehensive, foundational knowledge of the Civil War.
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