Shelby Foote, Dead at 81

Posted by on June 28, 2005

This was a bad day for history geeks like myself. There were two people who opened my eyes to the American Civil War. The first was Ken Burns and his incredible documentary. Mr. Foote was featured throughout the piece doing commentary as well as reading the many quotes. I was intrigued by Mr. Foote’s ability to tell of the events in such a way as if he had lived them. When I purchased Foote’s 3 Volume Civil War work he quickly became the single most important person in my REAL Civil War education. What I saw in the Burns work was amplified 10 fold in Foote’s Civil War work. I had grown used to reading scholarly Civil War treatments and found them dry and difficult to wade through. Shelby Foote’s work read like a story that was impossible to put down. I remember ripping through the first book in a day and half.

I am a reenactor and know many more reenactors who became one after reading Foote’s work. If Shelby Foote has a legacy beyond his children and grandchildren, it has to be the dedicated living historians who use his work as an example of what Civil War research and scholarship is all about.

A loss felt by all who study the American Civil War. Rest in Peace Shelby Foote.

Last modified on June 28, 2005

Categories: History
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