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The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 1: Fort Sumter to Perryville (Vintage Civil War Library) Paperback – November 12, 1986
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In 1954, Shelby Foote was a young novelist with a contract to write a short history of the Civil War. It soon became clear, however, that he had undertaken a long-term project. Twenty years later Foote finally completed his massive and essential trilogy on the War Between the States. His three books are prose masterpieces with lively characterizations and gripping action. Although Foote never sacrifices the truth of what happened to his penchant for artistry, his skills as a novelist serve him well. Reading all three of these books will take some time, but they are worth the investment--especially if you, like Foote, have a touch of sympathy for the South's lost cause.
"Here, for a certainty, is one of the great historical narratives…a unique and brilliant achievement, one that must be firmly placed in the ranks of the masters."—Van Allen Bradley, Chicago Daily News
"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 an historian should be a writer above all else." —Burke Davis
"To read this great narrative is to love the nation—to love it through the living knowledge of its mortal division. Whitman, who ultimately knew and loved the bravery and frailty of the soldiers, observed that the real Civil War would never be written and perhaps should not be. For me, Shelby Foote has written it.... This work was done to last forever." —James M. Cox, Southern Review
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Top customer reviews
If you saw the Ken Burns PBS series on the Civil War you saw the man with a twinkle in his eye as he told you a story about one of the many events that constituted the war. His gentlemanly charm and an occasional twinkle in his text makes for fine reading. Do keep in mind that there are different opinions about many of the topics Shelby writes. Some compare him to Bruce Catton a noted historian of a slightly earlier age who won plaudits for his tomes on the war.
But having read Catton, Foote, and others I am convinced that they have something to offer as we try to understand what really happened and why many things did happen during the course of a war where a nation fought both to stay together and to tear itself apart.
Foote's volumes are a read so be prepared for hours of enjoyment of reading the captured discource of a uniquely talented man.
I don't know if any of that is true. But, I love to read (I have my whole life) and have been voracious about it since I was a little kid-- Shelby Foote's, Civil War (all three volumes) are by far, my favorite books I have ever read. I never thought I would say that about a History book/s. They were so Good the first time I read them in Hard back form that when I finished the Third volume, I started reading volume One again. When I saw they were available in electronic version I picked them up immediately. This about the seventh time I have read them (not exaggerating, excellent books).
If you like good reading at all, and are even a slight fan of History in General, I highly recommend Shelby Foote's Civil War (whether in e-version or not doesn't matter).
For anyone with interest in the conflict beyond passing, I highly recommend this first volume. It earns its place easily amongst its similar peers. Intrigued, I am on to the second volume.