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.
This first of a remarkable three-part work of history is told entirely from the point of view of the people involved in it. The narrative begins here, with all the major battles of course, but also the smaller ones: Balls Bluff, Fort Donelson, Pea Ridge, Island Ten, New Orleans, and Monitor versus Merrimac.
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