While attending college at the University of North Carolina, I got to study history under a number of truly great professors. Focusing on the American Civil War, I soaked up everything I could. I read some great works including James McPherson\'s Battle Cry of Freedom, and got to research in a massive library that included the complete Official Records of the American Civil War (yum).

Despite this, I never managed to read Shelby Foote\'s classic three-volume account of the war, The Civil War: A Narrative. Maybe I just didn\'t have time with all of the assigned reading. Maybe, I was just intimidated. Three hefty volumes of 800 pages each can do that. Either way, I feel like I missed out.

So I have decided, this is the year! I suspect it will take me all year, but I am committed to it. I bought the first volume two months ago, and I\'m about 550 pages into it. Decent progress.

So far, I have to agree that it is a classic work. Shelby Foote has a very smooth, easy to read style. He paints vivid pictures of the main characters and gives just the right amount of detail in most situations. He give equal weight to all of the theatres (even for you Trans-Mississippi fans out there). He covers the politics in just enough detail, but this is, at its heart, a military history, and for at least the first 550 pages, it is a very good one.