"A MODEL OF WHAT MILITARY HISTORY CAN BE": THE FIRST VOLUME OF SHELBY FOOTE'S CIVIL WAR, SIGNED IN THE YEAR OF PUBLICATION
FOOTE, Shelby. The Civil War. A Narrative. Fort Sumter to Perryville. New York: Random House, (1958). Large octavo, original gray cloth, cartographic endpapers, original dust jacket. $2600.
Scarce first edition of the complete first volume of Foote's authoritative and engrossing history, inscribed in the year of publication: "Fred Guyton, Jr—Shelby Foote. Memphis, Nov. '58," in original dust jacket.
"A sweeping overview of the war from a decidedly different perspective… Foote is a master storyteller of the war, and his accounts are riveting" (Eicher 740). Despite this three-volume, million-word history, two decades in the writing—this was the only volume published at the date of the inscription—"Foote remained relatively unknown before his role in Ken Burns' [documentary film] The Civil War made him a cultural icon. Since that event, Foote has become widely viewed as an authority on the Civil War, and more generally, as a representative of an era and region whose place continues to be central to our country's understanding of itself" (University of Mississippi). "His mission was to tell what he considered America's biggest story as a vast, finely detailed, deeply human narrative… A model of what military history can be" (New York Times). First editions signed by Foote are much sought-after and increasingly scarce. This first edition was inscribed in the year of publication and would have been the only volume of the set available for purchase at that time. First printing in first-issue dust jacket, with "11/58" on rear flap. Dornbusch III:1387. Wright 339.
Book near-fine, with only faint tape residue to preliminaries and spine. Dust jacket very nearly fine. A desirable signed copy.