The Civil War: A Narrative, Vol. 1 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.
A Blackstone Audio production.
The only reason I can offer 4 stars here is because Shelby Foote’s brilliant and compelling voice has inspired me for decades. I thought to purchase this as an audio book to listen again and again to master the details of this voluminous effort. Foote has had his critics but these volumes have withstood time because the blend of scholarship and narrative voice is so compelling. Now only to be ruined by a narrator whose articulation, timber, tone, and enunciation renders this, to my ears, unlistenable. I will keep my eye out for Grover Gardner and make sure never to make this mistake again.
Fabulous. Like CNN 120 years early
I know 40 hours seems like a long time, but it isn't. I couldn't believe it was over when I finished it, it passed that quickly. Where the Ken Burns/PBS Civil War series put you in the settings of the Civil War and explained what happened, this book goes a step beyond. It points out the foolishness of many events, the frustrations that were felt, the mistakes based on the lack of information available at the time. In these ways, you weren't just watching the events, you were living them and, more important, understanding them as they happened. This is why the Foote books are even better than the PBS series, which was one of the best things ever broadcast. Even better still, if you have any interest in the subject, this book (as the later do as well, I'm sure) covers the battles and movements and events that never get any coverage anywhere, not school, not books, not even Ken Burns. The stories of the Western battles from ships on the Mississippi to the brief encounters in New Mexico were news to me, as was the behind-the-scenes struggles of the South to gain support from Europe. I knew it happened, now I know the details. Until they invent a time machine, there is no more thorough way to experience the Civil War.
Civil War Vol 1
i have read the complete series and they are truly epic. completely unbiased and written with no agenda or political position. just the truth. no doubt the audio version will be equally great. you will not get this information in any classroom or textbook. should be required reading for all students.