By Chet Yarbrough
The Civil War: A Narrative, Vol. 2, Fredericksburg to Meridian
Written by: Shelby Foote
Narrated by: Grover Gardner
“America’s Civil War”
SHELBY FOOTE (AUTHOR AND HISTORIAN)
Shelby Foote’s history of America’s Civil War is a classic for all who wish to understand the culture and strength of American democracy. America, like most nations, is a diverse country. Societal differences make the United States both strong and weak. Strength comes from limited freedom within a government of checks and balances. Weakness comes from the nature of human beings who violate moral and ethical standards defined by society.
ROY MOORE (DEFEATED IN RECENT ALABAMA ELECTION BASED ON ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT.)
The norms of society are shaped by human experience. Religion, money, power, and prestige drive Americans to achieve fame and success; as well as infamy and failure.
Foote recounts the interplay between civilian and military leaders in America’s civil war who show how these drives shape American society. The evil of slavery tangles itself into the Civil War’s human experience. Slavery is reviled by some; while fully endorsed by others.
Generals, political leaders, and soldier/citizens on both sides of the Civil War demonstrate various levels of good and bad behavior. Some vie for the money, power, and prestige of command. Some fight for the glory of God whom they feel is on their side. Some fight because they are paid to fight. Some fight because they can exercise power over another. Some fight for the spoils of war. Some fight to win the accolade of those who follow their lead. Others vie for nothing more than the desire to win against an opposing force.
There are heroes and villains in this Civil War. Foote tells the story of America’s Civil War from his voluminous research and personal perspective.
Foote offers facts that show both sides of the conflict have honorable and flawed leaders. He, like all human beings, does not escape his own prejudices. There seem hints of Southern sympathy and ethnic prejudice. Even the best historians are human; neither omnipresent or omniscient.
The listener/reader judges for themselves based on their own beliefs and experience. Lincoln, Davis, Stanton, Halleck, McClellan, Mead, Rosencrans, Lee, Grant, Sherman, Longstreet, and Stonewall Jackson are heroes with flaws. Each chose their path which leaves them to historian’s and reader/listener’s judgement.
All of us are shaped by heritage and experience. All desire a degree of money, power, and/or prestige.