Wednesday, November 03, 2021

A Belated Book Recommendation


Googling back through the blog, I see that I've mentioned a particular work numerous times, by way of comparing non-fiction books I particularly like to it, without ever explicitly recommending that work itself.

Over the course of several decades, I've gone through several paper copies of Shelby Foote's three-volume (Fort Sumter to Perryville; Fredericksburg to Meridian; and Red River to Appomattox) The Civil War: A Narrative (not an affiliate link). I've read them, given them away, or loaned them out and not had them returned, lost track of them in moves, etc.

I grew up reading a lot on the war, especially Bruce Catton's Army of the Potomac and Centennial History trilogies, as well as books on particular battles and people (I highly recommend Steven W. Sears's Chancellorsville and Douglas S. Freeman's Lee's Lieutenants,  but I've personally found no better, detailed, and especially enjoyable general history of the Civil War than Foote's. At nearly 3,400 pages all told, it's quite comprehensive, but never boring. Nor, though Foote was a Mississippian whose love of the South was obvious in his appearances in Ken Burns's film on the war, do I detect much bias in it.

The link, you'll notice, is to the Kindle edition. I've been thinking about buying it for several years, but couldn't force myself over my own objection to paying more than $5.99 for a digital book. Recently, however, events combined to get me that price.

The first volume went on sale for $10.99 (normal price $14.99), and I had a $5 "digital credit" to spend from past "no hurry shipping" bonuses, bringing the price to $5.99.

The remaining volumes came to $20.98 ... but then I got an unexpected $10 Amazon gift card, reducing my out of expense to $10.98 -- $5.99 per volume. So, not being able to locate even a used paperback edition for anything close to that $17.97 total, I pulled the trigger.

I'm glad I did. I am doubly re-reading it. When I have time during the day, I read it on my Kindle. At night, I have Alexa continue where I left off, then the next day go back to some point prior to my falling asleep to it. I'm into the second volume at the moment.

If you find that particular era of American history at all interesting, you'll find it more interesting (and know a lot more about it) after reading The Civil War: A Narrative.

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