Best Selling Books by Shelby Foote

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release date: Mar 23, 2011
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The Civil War Trilogy Box Set: With American Homer: Reflections on Shelby Foote and His Classic The Civil War: A Narrative (Modern Library)
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the Modern Library publishes Shelby Foote’s three-volume masterpiece in a new boxed set including three hardcovers and a new trade paperback, American Homer: Reflections on Shelby Foote and His Classic Civil War: A Narrative, edited by and with an introduction from Pulitzer Prize winner Jon Meacham and including essays by Michael Beschloss, Ken Burns, Annette Gordon-Reed, and others.

Random House publisher Bennett Cerf commissioned southern novelist Shelby Foote to write a short, one-volume history of the American Civil War. Thirty years and a million and a half words later—every word having been written out longhand with nib pens dipped into ink—Foote published the third and final volume of what has become the classic narrative of that epic war.

As he approached the end of the final volume, Foote recounted this scene in a letter to his friend, the novelist Walker Percy: “I killed Lincoln last week—Saturday, at noon. While I was doing it (he had his chest arched up, holding his last breath to let it out) some halfassed doctor came to the door with vols I and II under his arm, wanting me to autograph them for his son for Xmas. I was in such a state of shock, I not only let him in; I even signed the goddam books, a thing I seldom do. Then I turned back and killed him and had Stanton say, ‘Now he belongs to the ages.’ A strange feeling, though. I have another 70-odd pages to go, and I have a fear they’ll be like Hamlet with Hamlet left out. Christ, what a man. It’s been a great thing getting to know him as he was, rather than as he has come to be—a sort of TV image of himself, with a ghost alongside.”

When Percy read the final book, he wrote to Foote: “It’s a noble work. I’m still staggered by the size of the achievement. . . . It is The Iliad.”

A selection of these letters, along with essays by Jon Meacham, Michael Beschloss, Ken Burns, Annette Gordon-Reed, Michael Eric Dyson, Julia Reed, Robert Loomis, Donald Graham, John M. McCardell, Jr., and Jay Tolson, are included in American Homer, the bonus paperback book available only in the Modern Library boxed set of The Civil War.

Shelby Foote’s tremendous, sweeping narrative of the most fascinating conflict in our history—a war that lasted four long, bitter years, an experience more profound and meaningful than any other the American people have ever lived through—begins with Jefferson Davis’s resignation from the United States Senate and Abraham Lincoln’s departure from Springfield for the national capital. It is these two leaders, whose lives continually touch on the great chain of events throughout the story, who are only the first of scores of exciting personalities that in effect make The Civil War a multiple biography set against the crisis of an age.

Four years later, Lincoln’s second inaugural sets the seal, invoking “charity for all” on the Eve of Five Forks and the Grant-Lee race for Appomattox. Here is the dust and stench of war, a sort of Twilight of the Gods. The epilogue is Lincoln in his grave, and Davis in his postwar existence—“Lucifer in Starlight.” So ends a unique achievement—already recognized as one of the finest histories ever fashioned by an American—a narrative that re-creates on a vast and brilliant canvas the events and personalities of an American epic: the Civil War.
release date: Jul 19, 2021
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Civil War a Narrative; 3 Volumes: Fort Sumter to Perryville; Fredericksburg to Meridian; Red River to Appomattox
The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 1 Fort Sumter to Perryville with Jefferson Davis's farewell to the United States Sentate and ends on the bloody battlefields of the Antietam and Perryville, as the full horrible scope of America's great war beomes clear. Volume 2: Fredericksburg to Meridian focuses on the pivotal year of 1863 and brings to life some of the most dramatic and important moments in the Civil War. Volume 3" Red River to Appomattox, what many Americans called "America's Illiad..
release date: Nov 12, 1986
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The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 1: Fort Sumter to Perryville (Vintage Civil War Library)
This first volume of Shelby Foote's classic narrative of the Civil War opens with Jefferson Davis’s farewell to the United Senate and ends on the bloody battlefields of Antietam and Perryville, as the full, horrible scope of America’s great war becomes clear. Exhaustively researched and masterfully written, Foote’s epic account of the Civil War unfolds like a classic novel. 
 
Includes maps throughout.
 
"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
release date: Jun 28, 1994
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Stars in Their Courses: The Gettysburg Campaign, June-July 1863
A matchless account of the Battle of Gettysburg, drawn from Shelby Foote’s landmark history of the Civil War

Shelby Foote’s monumental three-part chronicle, The Civil War: A Narrative, was hailed by Walker Percy as “an unparalleled achievement, an American Iliad, a unique work uniting the scholarship of the historian and the high readability of the first-class novelist.”

Here is the central chapter of the central volume, and therefore the capstone of the arch, in a single volume. Complete with detailed maps, Stars in Their Courses brilliantly recreates the three-day conflict: It is a masterly treatment of a key great battle and the events that preceded it—not as legend has it but as it really was, before it became distorted by controversy and overblown by remembered glory.
release date: Nov 12, 1986
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The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 3: Red River to Appomattox (Vintage Civil War Library)
This final volume of Shelby Foote’s masterful narrative history of the Civil War brings to life the military endgame, the surrender at Appomattox, and the tragic dénouement of the war—the assassination of President Lincoln.
 
Features maps throughout.
 
"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
 
“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
 
“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. . . . Written in the tradition of the great historian-artists—Gibbon, Prescott, Napier, Freeman—it stands alongside the work of the best of them.” —The New Republic
 
“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

release date: Apr 09, 1991
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Shiloh: A Novel
This fictional re-creation of the battle of Shiloh in April 1862 is a stunning work of imaginative history, from Shelby Foote, beloved historian of the Civil War.  Shiloh conveys not only the bloody choreography of Union and Confederate troops through the woods near Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, but the inner movements of the combatants’ hearts and minds.  Through the eyes of officers and illiterate foot soldiers, heroes and cowards, Shiloh creates a dramatic mosaic of a critical moment in the making of America, complete to the haze of gunsmoke and the stunned expression in the eyes of dying men.
 
Shiloh, which was hailed by The New York Times as “imaginative, powerful, filled with precise visual details…a brilliant book” fulfills the standard set by Shelby Foote’s monumental three-part chronical of the Civil War.
release date: Aug 08, 1995
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The Beleaguered City: The Vicksburg Campaign, December 1862-July 1863 (Modern Library)
The companion volume to Stars in Their Courses, this marvelous account of Grant's siege of the Mississippi port of Vicksburg continues Foote's narrative of the great battles of the Civil War--culled from his massive three-volume history--recounting a campaign which Lincoln called "one of the most brilliant in the world."
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release date: Sep 20, 2016
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The Civil War: A Narrative, Vol. 2: Fredericksburg to Meridian
[Read by Grover Gardner]

Focusing on the pivotal year of 1863, the second volume in Shelby Foote's masterful narrative history brings to life some of the most dramatic and important moments in the Civil War, including the Battle of Gettysburg and Grant's Vicksburg Campaign. The word narrative is the key to this book's extraordinary incandescence and truth: the story is told entirely from the point of view of the people involved. One learns not only what was happening on all fronts but also how the author discovered it during his years of exhaustive research.
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release date: Jan 01, 1986
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The Civil War: A Narrative: Fort Sumter to Perryville, Fredericksburg to Meridian, Red River to Appomattox 3 Volume s Box Set
Foote's comprehensive history of the Civil War includes three compelling volumes: Fort Sumter to Perryville, Fredericksburg to Meridian, and Red River to Appomattox. Collected together in a handsome boxed set, this is the perfect gift for any Civil War buff. Fort Sumter to Perryville "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." -Van Allen Bradley, Chicago Daily News "Anyone who wants to relive the Civil War, as thousands of Americans apparently do, will go through this volume with pleasure.... Years from now, Foote's monumental narrative most likely will continue to be read and remembered as a classic of its kind." -New York Herald Tribune Book Review Fredericksburg to Meridian "This, then, is narrative history-a kind of history that goes back to an older literary tradition.... The writing is superb...one of the historical and literary achievements of our time." -The Washington Post Book World "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 bettered." -Atlantic Red River to Appomattox "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
release date: Apr 15, 2011
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Gone: A Photographic Plea For Preservation
Photographer and architect Nell Dickerson began her exploration of antebellum homesteads with encouragement from her cousin-in-law renowned Civil War historian and novelist Shelby Foote. Her passion for forgotten and neglected buildings became a plea for preservation.

Gone is a unique pairing of modern photographs and historical novella. Foote offers a heartbreaking look at one man s loss as Union troops burn his home in the last days of the Civil War. Dickerson shares fascinating and haunting photographs, shining a poignant light on the buildings which survived Sherman's burning rampage across the Confederacy, only to fall victim to neglect, apathy and poverty.

GONE is a powerfully moving volume that will change how you see the forgotten buildings that hide in obscurity across the Southern landscape.

From the photographer:
The Civil War had been over for exactly ninety years in 1954, when my cousin, Shelby Foote, published--PILLAR OF FIRE--as part of his novel, Jordan County: A Landscape in Narrative. The book's stories painted a vivid picture of a fictitious Mississippi county steeped in Southern culture.

PILLAR OF FIRE took readers into a heartbreaking and commonplace scene late in the Civil War, when Union troops moved through the civilian South destroying not only plantations but also ordinary homes and cabins. Those troops, battle-hardened and bitter from the loss of their own brethren, shared the tragic effects of war.

In PILLAR OF FIRE, they take no joy in burning a home in front of its dying, elderly owner and his frail servants. The cruelty of the circumstances is as much a given for them as the dying man's grief over all the memories that burn with his house.

Now, on the eve of the Civil War's 150th commemoration, my mission is to draw attention not only to the architectural heritage devastated by the war but also the heritage we've lost since then: to neglect, to poverty, and to shame, as the war's infamy colored the attitudes of later generations and tainted the homes those generations inherited. What the war didn't take, time and apathy did. And yet those grand old homes whether mansion or cabin deserve our reverence and protection.
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