Who is the most readable CW historian?

ucvrelics

Colonel
Forum Host
Regtl. Quartermaster Shiloh 2020
Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Antietam 2021
Joined
May 7, 2016
Location
Alabama
Foote was a storyteller, and he told his story well. It's worth noting that he did not get every detail right-- but I still think that, for the broad scope and sweep of events, it's perhaps unmatched. Credit where credit is due. :thumbsup:
No he did not. I had the opportunity to have drinks with him on 2 occasions and after a few he was in RARE form, but a LOT better then NitWit
 

Johnny Shafto

Private
Joined
Jun 21, 2021
“For the present, though, the cheers were mostly perfunctory along that column of jolted, sleet chilled men. They had had enough of glory for awhile. It was not that they felt they had been defeated. They had not. But they had failed in what they had set out to do, and the man who had led them out of Corinth to accomplish the destruction of “agrarian mercenaries” was laid out dead now in a cottage there.” Shelby Foote

It does resemble poetry in many respects.
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Location
Southwest Mississippi
I had the opportunity to have drinks with him on 2 occasions and after a few he was in RARE form,
Hah !

That I can easily believe.

My ex Father-in-Law was also from the Mississippi Delta and moved to Memphis after the Korean War ... around 1956.
Although he didn't "know" Shelby Foote, he did meet him more than a few times over the years. So they had much in common &
probably knew a lot of the same people.

However, my Father-in-Law was also in "rare form" just about every day after 5:00 pm.
So, I feel like those two probably knew each other better than they both remembered the next day.

:laugh:
 

WScott

Private
Joined
May 6, 2021
I have always enjoyed reading books by Foote, Sears, Rhea and so many more. More recently I have started reading some of the publications from The Emerging Civil War series and I like the writing of Chris Mackowski. This series of publications may provide a more condensed version of the battle but Chris is able to “tell the story” and keep you interested.
 

Vicksburger

First Sergeant
Joined
Dec 16, 2011
Location
Saint Joseph
Clifford Dowdey
Dowdy 2.jpg
 

Georgia Sixth

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Dec 14, 2011
Location
Texas
I recently picked up and quickly put down a new history book - the writer seemed to have lots of facts but the writing was so bad I couldn't follow the thread of the narrative. My husband confessed he'd found that same historian, who is very well regarded, a chore to read as well. So I got to thinking - which Civil War historian writes the most readable books? Books that are so well put together that you can't put them down. Histories that flow like a novel. Obviously I don't mean something that isn't factual. But what writers, in your opinion, really tell the story well?
Gary Gallagher. He's too the point, well reasoned, marshals the relevant facts without overload and redundancy, and is unambiguous in what he's trying to communicate. Edward Ayers is the runner up.
The best prose, however, is from a non-historian, Shelby Foote.
 

IDIC

Cadet
Joined
Jul 21, 2013
Location
UK
I usually go for anything written by Eric Wittenberg (Cavalry is my specialist subject) and Timothy Smith. I have been lucky enough to meet Timothy Smith on a few occasions and have had him as a guide at Shiloh and Corinth, he is magic! Lance Herdegen is my favourite Iron Brigade author.
 

Virginia Dave

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Location
Waynesboro, Virginia
Another vote for Foote. When I was reading his trilogy, I literally could not put it down. I remember one evening I was reading, and had to get ready for work. I contemplated using a vacation day so I could continue to read. No other book has had that grip on me before. I plan on reading it again.
I broke down and bought the audio so I could listen while I drove to and from work everyday.
 

lupaglupa

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Location
Upstate New York
Y'all definitely make me want to read Shelby Foote. I've been daunted in the past by the length of the books. It seems like a big commitment!
 

JPChurch

First Sergeant
Joined
Dec 30, 2016
Location
Manassas VA
I've always been a fan of David McCullough even though he never authored anything about the "CW" as far as I know. He did the narration of Ken Burns "The Civil War" on PBS. If you have any relatives that served in the American Revolutionary war, I recommend "1776." I have several that did. Neat stuff.
 
Top