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The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 2: Fredericksburg to Meridian
"An unparalleled achievement, an American Iliad , a unique work uniting the scholarship of the historian and the high readability of the first-class novelist." —Walker Percy "I have never read a better, more vivid, more understandable account of the savage battling between Grant's and Lee's armies.... Foote stays with the human strife and suffering, and unlike most Southern commentators, he does not take sides. In objectivity, in range, in mastery of detail in beauty of language and feeling for the people involved, this work surpasses anything else on the subject.... It stands alongside the work of the best of them." — New Republic "Foote is a novelist who temporarily abandoned fiction to apply the novelist's shaping hand to history: his model is not Thucydides but The Iliad , and his story, innocent of notes and formal bibliography, has a literary design. Not by accident...but for cathartic effect is so much space given to the war's unwinding, it's final shudders and convulsions.... To read this chronicle is an awesome and moving experience. History and literature are rarely so thoroughly combined as here; one finishes this volume convinced that no one need undertake this particular enterprise again." — Newsweek "The most written-about war in history has, with this completion of Shelby Foote's trilogy, been given the epic treatment it deserves." — Providence Journal From the Trade Paperback edition.
Foote is a master storyteller
By Shannon Gaw
- October 14, 2010
"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,... read more
Mr. Foote's Legacy
By Charles D. Fletcher
- March 9, 2007
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.
An Iliad of American agony
By William E. Adams
- June 9, 2002
I read all three volumes of the great Shelby Foote's Civil War narrative in the 80s. This volume is yet another of his logically well-integrated, dramatic trio on that war and speaks a soft/loud pianoforte of war from the Southern perspective. It contains many a large gulp of its often hesitantly bitter, prolonged agony from the bloody cup of setbacks and disappointments on both sides of the conflict. Had Foote given us the same mysterious energy without frequently caricaturing the North to glorify the South, it, in my estimation, would've transcended all such history, narrative or not, in the long fog of peace and romancing of the war. Yet it's THE monumental work, forcefully contradicting the rule that only victors write definitive histories of war. I hope its brilliant histrionics are never misused by historical revisionists, or deter America from completing the Spartacan dream of abolishing all vestiges of involuntary servitude.
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