Shelby Foote, Memphis, and the Civil War in American memory

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Date: Winter 2015
From: Southern Cultures(Vol. 21, Issue 4)
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Document Type: Book review
Length: 5,686 words
Lexile Measure: 1430L

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This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of filmmaker Ken Burns's PBS television series on the American Civil War. In 1990, thirty-nine million viewers tuned in to Burns's eleven-hour documentary, prompting historian Stephen Ambrose to joke that "more Americans get their history from Ken Burns than from any other source." (1) Although monumental in its own right, the series became, for many Americans, their first introduction to southern writer Shelby Foote. From the book-lined study in his home in Memphis, Tennessee, Foote offered a series of memorable insights into the human side of America's defining conflict. All told, Foote made eighty-nine appearances in Burns's program--far more than any other expert--and became an overnight sensation. Foote's stardom allowed his interpretation to permeate the popular mind.

Burns turned to Foote because Foote had labored for twenty years, from 1953 to 1973, writing a massive three-volume work, The Civil War: A Narrative. Although Foote's own southern roots first fueled his passion for the war, his adoptive city of Memphis heavily influenced his interpretation of the conflict. In the Narrative, this Memphis perspective translated into an emphasis on battles in the Western Theater--the fighting beyond the more well-known Virginia battles--as well as admiration for fellow adoptive Memphians, President Jefferson Davis and General Nathan Bedford Forrest. By focusing almost entirely on military events and bringing renewed attention to southern heroes--thereby ignoring the significance of slavery--Foote offered a version of the war that proved popular with white American readers and viewers. Weaving his interpretation throughout the Burns series with colorful anecdotes in his signature drawl, Foote became a living, breathing--and endearing--representation of the South for many Americans.

Foote's Mississippi roots first drew him to the Civil War. Born Shelby Dade Foote Jr. in Greenville, Mississippi, in 1916, Foote moved a number of times during his early childhood as his father advanced within the ranks of the Chicago-based Armour Meats and Company. But after his father's death in 1922, the young Foote and his mother returned to Greenville, and Foote spent his formative years there in the company of memoirist William Alexander Percy and his younger cousin, Walker Percy. In 1935, Foote briefly left the Delta to study at the University of North Carolina, but two years later he quit the university and returned home to focus on his writing. Near the end of 1940, Foote enlisted in the National Guard in the hope of seeing action in World War II, but before ever seeing combat, Foote was court-martialed for driving a company Jeep beyond the allowed fifty-mile limit and was later discharged for the offense. After returning home, he enlisted in the Marines, but the war ended before his deployment to the Pacific. Frustrated by the experience and unable to prove himself in war, Foote threw himself into his writing. He wrote three novels in quick succession, all of which grew out of his Mississippi upbringing, and then planned to write a series of novels about Civil War battles, including Vicksburg, the Battle of Brice's Crossroads (also in Mississippi), and Shiloh, just across the state line in Tennessee. Almost certainly, Foote chose to write first about Shiloh because his great-grandfather, Hezekiah William Foote, had fought there in 1862 as colonel of the Ist Mississippi Cavalry.

Published in 1952, Shiloh offered a glimpse of the interpretation of the Civil War that Foote would later provide both in his trilogy and on camera. In rich and vivid language, Foote told the story of the epic battle from both northern and southern perspectives, narrating four chapters by fictional Confederate soldiers and three by fictional Union soldiers. Still, he heavily favored the South throughout the novel, portraying the Confederate cause as a fight for constitutional liberty and omitting any reference to slavery. Foote instead romanticized the conflict, detailing individual acts of bravery on the battlefield. Unsurprisingly, then, the two arguably most compelling chapters were narrated by the fictional characters Private Luther Dade of Mississippi and Sergeant Jefferson Polly, a scout in Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry. The latter chapter in particular extolled Forrest's bravery and ferocity in battle. Forrest seemed, in Foote's account, the only one willing to take the battle to the enemy.

Shiloh was Foote's most widely read novel, selling more than six thousand copies in its first few months on the shelf. Not only was it a modest commercial success, Shiloh also garnered critical acclaim. Noted Lincoln scholar Roy P. Basler, writing in the Chicago Sunday Tribune, for instance, described Shiloh as "a rattling good story of one of the bloodiest battles in history," while southern historian Avery Craven called it "an original and interesting way to write history and fiction" in the New York Herald Tribune. Even the great William Faulkner, whom Foote deeply admired, thought highly of the work. Faulkner referred to it as "the damndest book I have ever read and one of the best" and later described it as "twice the book that The Red Badge of Courage is." With Shiloh, Foote seemed to find his voice as a writer. (2)

Despite his professional success, Foote's personal life was in shambles. By 1947, his marriage to Tess Lavery had dissolved and, at the time of Shiloh's publication five years later, his second marriage to Peggy Stinson had just ended in divorce. Shortly after, Stinson and their daughter Margaret moved to Memphis, Stinson's hometown. Around this time, Foote decided to abandon his plan of writing Civil War novels and instead began writing about Delta life in the aftermath of the war. But his personal problems intruded upon his plans, and Foote's writing stagnated. He had financial troubles, moreover, compounded by the fact that he now owed child support. In 1953, Foote made a decision. In order to be close to his young daughter, the thirty-seven-year-old writer left the Delta and moved to Memphis, the cultural capital of the region.

The move coincided with the fateful decision to turn his attention to a narrative of the Civil War. For the centennial, Random House hoped to build on the success of Shiloh by asking Foote to write a 200,000-word account of the war. Foote had a different idea. He requested that the work be expanded to three volumes of 600,000 words each, so that he could tell the entire story of the war in dramatic fashion, bringing out the complexities of the lives of the war's military and political leaders. The coming Civil War centennial promised public interest and plenty of sales, and Foote needed the money. So, over the next two decades, Foote wrote about the Civil War from Memphis, creating what would become his legacy work, The Civil War: A Narrative.

Foote composed his great work as two revolutions occurred around him. The first was a revolution in historical writing, a rethinking of how historians practiced their craft. From the late 1950s to the 1970s, historians shifted their emphasis away from high politics, military history, and elites to social history, to examining the lives of the previously voiceless sectors of society. American social historians attempted to write about those whose histories had not been written before, including African Americans, women, workers, immigrants, and the poor. In order to write this new type of history, historians turned away from conventional sources and narratives and adopted new methods, including quantitative models and new theories of analysis. In doing so, they moved away from a straightforward narrative style to a more social science-oriented approach, and in the process, made their work increasingly inaccessible to the public. (3)

Foote was completely unaffected by this revolution in historical writing. He wanted to tell the story of elites--of military leaders and their important decisions that determined the fate of the nation, along with their ongoing relationships with political leaders. He cared nothing about these developments in the historical profession and seemed indifferent to or perhaps even unaware of them. Along with biographies of military leaders, Foote worked solely from the 128-volume Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, the compilation of military reports and correspondence from the war. He wrote entirely in the narrative form--without an analytical framework, without trying to explain either the causes or results of the conflict. Foote was, by his own later description, a "novelist-historian" who accepted "the historian's standards without his paraphernalia" and "employed the novelist's methods without his license." In practice, this meant that Foote attempted to write about the Civil War as the officers and soldiers who lived through it had experienced it, and not through the critical lens of the historian. (4)

The other revolution occurring around him was, of course, the Civil Rights Movement. With this revolution, Foote's relationship was more ambiguous. On the one hand, Foote was far ahead of most white southerners at the time in his opposition to segregation. Stranded on the fringes of the southern aristocracy because of the financial irresponsibility and gambling habits of his paternal grandfather Hugh Foote, Shelby Foote imagined himself as striving for success and respectability. This self-perceived underdog status allowed Foote to criticize the aristocracy and to sympathize with the poor and marginalized, including African Americans. Foote, for instance, had long been suspicious of the Gone With the Wind plantation legend, and reading Albert Kirwan's The Revolt of the Rednecks, a history of Mississippi politics during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, only confirmed Foote's suspicions. The book, published in 1951, revealed the history of southern planters' attempts to pit poor whites against poor blacks, in order to maintain their own wealth and political power. Foote believed Kirwan's interpretation and said so, arguing that the exploitation of African Americans stood as a central fact of southern history. "By the time I was 24, I realized there was not a shred of clothes on my back, not a mouthful of food in my stomach, not a book on my shelf that didn't come out of exploiting blacks," he noted. "And I was as thoroughly ashamed of that as I could be." (5)

Because his mother's family was Jewish, Foote himself had experienced discrimination in his fraternity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which contributed to his support for desegregation of schools and black civil rights in general. "The main problem facing the white, upper-class South is to decide whether or not the Negro is a man," Foote stated to a reporter in 1968, just after Martin Luther King's assassination in Memphis. "If he is a man, as of course he is, then the Negro is entitled to the respect an honorable man will automatically feel to an equal." (6)

On the other hand, Foote wrote about the Civil War from a white southern perspective, perhaps even with a certain bias. His Narrative depicted the Radical Republicans--the era's foremost champions of black rights--in a negative light, and he completely overlooked the role that African Americans played during the Civil War era in helping to push the slavery issue to the forefront. Tellingly, the name of Frederick Douglass, the most prominent black activist of the era, did not appear in the index of any of the volumes of the Narrative. This lack of interest in analyzing the causes of the Civil War and the ongoing role of African Americans in the conflict meant that Foote downplayed the significance of slavery and wrote as if the war were a massive fistfight or duel--an affair of honor--devoid of any larger ideological meaning. In a 2001 interview, Foote reiterated the point: "No soldier on either side gave a damn about the slaves--they were fighting for other reasons entirely in their minds." In other words, to Foote, the Civil War was a brothers' war, a white man's war. To this end, in the first volume of the Narrative, Foote focused on the close relationships between the opposing generals, many of whom attended West Point together. Admitting that slavery was a cause of the war would have forced the recognition of an ideological divide--at least among political leaders, if not among common soldiers--that clearly distinguished the North from the South. (7)

Writing in the midst of the revolutions in historical writing and civil rights, Foote offered a unique western perspective on the war. Allan Nevins and Bruce Catton, two midwestern journalists turned popular historians, were also producing multi-volume histories of the Civil War at the time. Nevins's work brought to light the economic and political factors in the war, while Catton offered detailed accounts of military campaigns. But both historians emphasized the Virginia battles in their interpretations. By comparison, Foote placed a greater emphasis on the Western Theater. Writing from Memphis, a Mississippi River town located about halfway between St. Louis and Vicksburg, Foote saw the conflict from a different point of view. He understood the significance of the Mississippi River in a strategic sense, and he wrote about the riverine battles in great detail, describing the fall of Fort Donelson, the siege of Vicksburg, and the Battle of Brice's Crossroads, for example, as major events in the war. Foote indicated at the end of the Narrative that he saw this western emphasis as his primary contribution: "In all too many of these works [on the war] ... the notion prevailed that the War was fought in Virginia--while elsewhere--in an admittedly large but also rather empty region known vaguely as 'the West'--a sort of running skirmish wobbled back and forth, presumably as a way for its participants, faceless men with unfamiliar names, to pass the time while waiting for the issue to be settled in the East." In contrast, Foote argued that Vicksburg was just as decisive as Gettysburg, "if not more so," and that "Donelson, with its introduction of Grant and Forrest onto the national scene, may have had more to do with the outcome than either of the other [battles] had." (8)

Foote's locale also allowed him to identify with two Confederates with Memphis connections. The first was Jefferson Davis. Another Mississippian who ended up in Memphis, Davis emerged as the tragic hero of Foote's trilogy. Foote began the first volume with Davis's eloquent farewell speech on the floor of the United States Senate in 1861, and he began the second with Davis's late 1862 speech to the Mississippi legislature. Foote concluded the last volume with Davis's postwar life in Memphis, where Davis himself set out to write a multi-volume history of the war (not unlike Foote's own) after his release from prison. With ironic self-consciousness, Foote wrote of Davis's life in the Bluff City: "Bustling Memphis, hot in summer, cold in winter--the scene of his loss, moreover, of the third of his four sons--seemed unconducive to the peace he believed he needed for such work. Who could write anything there, let alone a full-fledged two- or three-volume history of the war?" Foote clearly identified with Davis, concluding his third volume with Davis saying, "Tell the world that I only loved America," a line that suggests the common bonds that united northern and southern political leaders. In 1964, as Foote began work on his third volume of the trilogy in Memphis, local residents completed a decade-long fundraising campaign and erected a statue of the Confederate president, situated prominently in a riverfront city park. (9)

Foote expressed even greater admiration for Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest was not one of the South's most important generals. He was, as one scholar puts it, "a minor player in some major battles and a major player in minor battles." In all of his writing and musings about the war, however, Foote gave Forrest a starring role, even making him the hero of Shiloh. The two most compelling scenes in the novel involve Forrest. In the first, knowing that Yankee reinforcements are on the way at the end of the first day of battle, Forrest attempts to wake the slumbering Confederate commanders in an effort to get them to attack before the Union forces arrive. Foote depicted Forrest as the only one who was both alert to what was happening and willing to fight. In the second important scene, at the very end of the battle, Forrest charges ahead and finds himself surrounded by Union soldiers. Under attack from the enemy, all the while slashing his saber, Forrest lifts a hapless Union soldier onto the saddle of his horse, uses the bluecoat as a human shield, and manages to escape his attackers while dropping the soldier somewhere along the way. Later, Foote incorporated this story into the first volume of his Narrative and repeated it in several interviews, including in Burns's documentary. (10)

The story that Foote loved so much was probably apocryphal. According to General Sherman's official account of the battle, a group of Union soldiers did indeed charge at Fallen Timbers, the name of the engagement at the end of the Battle of Shiloh. Although multiple sources agree that Forrest sustained an injury in this charge, the first account that mentions the human shield story is a 1902 Forrest biography written by a Confederate veteran, Captain J. Harvey Mathes. The integrity of this source is questionable, not only because it appeared in print forty years after the Battle of Shiloh, but also because Mathes himself never fought under the general. Forrest biographer Robert S. Henry later incorporated the shield story into his work, "First with the Most" Forrest, published in 1944. Foote cited Henry's biography in Shiloh, and presumably found it there. (11)

Forrest was, and remains, a controversial figure. Making his name and living in Memphis as a slave trader, he participated in the massacre of black federal troops at Fort Pillow in 1864 and famously served as first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan after the war. Despite Forrest's record as a staunch defender of slavery, Foote did not or would not see Forrest as a symbol of racial oppression. Instead, Foote identified with him. Like Foote, Forrest had come from a humble background, lacked formal education, and lost his father at a young age. But mostly it was Forrest's mythical bravery that enchanted Foote. Echoing the interpretation of Forrest's biographer Andrew Lytle, Foote called Forrest the "most man in the world" in Shiloh. Foote admired Forrest's eagerness to attack the Yankees before reinforcements arrived and his willingness to charge into the thick of Union soldiers. Foote consistently and publicly defended Forrest against those who sought to emphasize the unsavory aspects of his past. Moreover, Foote described him as one of the two "authentic geniuses" produced by the war (Abraham Lincoln was the other) and argued that Forrest's war record revealed his natural abilities as a military strategist and tactician. (12)

Forrest is buried in a Memphis city park, alongside his wife Mary Ann Montgomery, underneath a statue of him on horseback. Erected in 1905, at the height of the Lost Cause movement, the Forrest monument has long been a source of controversy. In 1986, for instance, the Memphis chapter of the naacp advocated the removal of the Forrest statue and called for the renaming of what was then known as "Forrest Park." As protesters gathered in the park, Foote made a sudden appearance at the rally, where he vigorously defended the general's reputation. In an interview in the midst of this debate, Foote offered his own thoughts on the controversy. "The day that black people admire Forrest as much as I do is the day when they will be free and equal, for they will have gotten prejudice out of their minds as we whites are trying to get it out of ours." Foote clearly proved unsympathetic to the negative view of Forrest within the black community. Perhaps Foote so admired Forrest's bravery and skill because of his own frustrations in being discharged and never seeing combat in World War IL "I felt cheated," he revealed decades later in an interview, "as though I was dealt out of the big adventure." Foote the frustrated warrior placed great value on personal deeds of heroism, and he saw plenty of that in the Civil War, especially among the Confederates, who, in his mind, fought valiantly against overwhelming odds. (13)

At the end of the trilogy, Foote employed his two Memphis heroes to affirm white southerners' tenacity and bravery. In the final pages of the third volume, Foote movingly described the death of Nathan Bedford Forrest in the Bluff City in 1877 as Jefferson Davis sat at his bedside. Afterward, the ex-president served as a pallbearer at the funeral and, in Foote's telling, delivered a memorial oration in which he attested to Forrest's extraordinary heroism. In a conversation with the Tennessee governor that day, Davis lamented the Confederacy's underutilization of Forrest's talents. "The trouble was that the generals commanding in the Southwest never appreciated him until it was too late," the ex-president reflected. Foote is seemingly alone in claiming that Davis delivered an oration at Forrest's funeral. Many sources attest to Davis's presence as a pallbearer, but there is no apparent record of an oration. Davis's description of Forrest illustrated Foote's heroic conception of the war, stretching all the way back to the novel Shiloh.I4

In the final analysis, Foote's writing of the Narrative was an exercise in seeing and not seeing. Foote saw honor, heroism, bravery, and tragedy in white men fighting and dying. Although he saw black exploitation and aspiration in his own place and time, he did not see it as clearly in the nineteenth-century conflict about which he wrote.

Foote dominated Burns's 1990 documentary on the Civil War, and his version of the war determined the overall interpretive thrust of the film. Burns gave Foote a platform, and Foote stole the show. Burns admitted as much in a letter to Foote a few months before the airing of the series, confiding, "It is clear to anyone with eyes in his head that you are the presiding spirit of my feeble effort." The audience agreed, and Foote became an instant celebrity. For a time after the series aired, Foote received about twenty phone calls a day at his Midtown Memphis home. He appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and found himself the subject of profiles in USA Today, Newsweek, and People magazine. Although Foote claimed not to care for all of the attention, he certainly loved what the series did for his book sales. Through the middle of 1991 alone, Foote sold 400,000 volumes of the Narrative, prompting him to thank the filmmaker responsible for his success. "Ken, you've made me a millionaire," Foote said in a phone conversation. (15)

Audience response to Foote's overnight stardom demonstrated the wide popular appeal of his interpretation. Conceiving of the war solely as a military struggle between whites, while emphasizing both national unity and southern bravery, the Burns series became the most popular PBS documentary in history. Burns's television audience welcomed the bearded, grandfatherly Foote, who related colorful anecdotes in a mellifluous Mississippi drawl. To viewers of all regions, Foote epitomized the chivalrous, genteel South. Letters poured in. One fan addressed his letter to "Mr. Shelby Foote--Southern Gentleman," and argued that "we of the North have much to be proud of in our Southern brothers and I shall never again think of a Southerner as I have in the past." Foote represented a South with which much of white America, regardless of region, could easily sympathize, even admire. Foote's provincial perspective actually complemented Burns's focus on national reconciliation after the war. Fans at once admired Foote's brave homeland and at the same time applauded its reintegration into the nation. One adoring fan declared Foote a "national treasure," while another wrote that Foote's "narration has brought this country a little closer together." And audiences specifically appreciated Foote's Memphis perspective with its dashing southern heroes. One viewer from Wisconsin wrote to ask for book recommendations: "One thing that I simply have to find is a biography of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Know any good ones?" (16)

Late-twentieth-century Americans valued the Foote-Burns version of the war, precisely because it emphasized the heroism of whites on both sides of the conflict. To be sure, the film represents neither a restatement of the Lost Cause nor an apology for the Confederacy. Burns celebrates the triumphant Union, and the film features a variety of experts, including Barbara Fields, an African American scholar who speaks eloquently in the series' final episode about how the Civil War represents an attempt to realize the promise of America. "If some citizens live in houses and some live on the street, the Civil War is still going on," she argues. If Foote's is the dominant voice, it is certainly not the only voice in the series. Nevertheless, by emphasizing military conflict over political debate, by privileging valor over ideology, and by accentuating white heroism over black activism, the Foote-Burns interpretation of the Civil War gave PBS's mainstream American audience something to feel good about. (17)

The Foote-Burns perspective certainly seemed credible to the viewing public. Since the late nineteenth century, monuments like those in Memphis--and across the South--had by their very presence attested to the nobility and bravery of Confederate soldiers, thus offering silent support for the white heroic understanding of the war. But such a view obscured the agency, heroism, and sacrifice of African Americans, thousands of whom had fled plantations or enlisted in the Union military in the name of freedom and in opposition to the Confederacy. Few monuments in the South attest to their actions. There is no memorial to the black soldiers stationed at Fort Pickering in Memphis, for example, some of whom were indiscriminately slaughtered in a city-wide massacre in 1866. An in-depth exploration of these more complicated and contested themes would have produced a very different documentary series. Burns made no secret of his belief that American history should be used as "a tonic, something that has a possibility of healing the great divisions that bedevil our country today." Whether or not they were conscious of Burns's intent or of their own favorable response to it, television viewers appreciated the unifying national narrative that the series presented. (18)

If the public was quick to embrace the Foote-Burns interpretation, professional historians were skeptical. The revolution in historical writing that occurred from the late 1950s through the 1970s led many historians to emphasize slavery in their interpretations of the war, putting them at odds with Foote's sentimental military narrative. In Ken Burns's The Civil War: Historians Respond, an edited collection of essays published in 1996, some of the leading lights of the profession took the filmmaker to task. Noted historian of American women Catherine Clinton, for example, criticized Burns for focusing solely on men. She described Burns's "wholesale neglect of women--black and white, northern and southern, nurses and spies, disguised in uniform or on the home front" as a "wasted opportunity" to tell a larger story. Eric Foner, moreover, charged that the documentary neglects the consequences of the war. Instead of attempting to discuss the Reconstruction era, Burns chose instead to romanticize the veterans' reunions of the early twentieth century. In doing so, wrote Foner, Burns espoused "a vision of the Civil War as a family quarrel among whites, whose fundamental accomplishment was the preservation of the Union and in which the destruction of slavery was a side issue and African Americans little more than a problem confronting white society."

More recently, in a 2011 essay on Foote's legacy, historian Annette Gordon-Reed argues that Foote's three-volume Narrative bears "the very strong mark of memory as opposed to history." As she notes, "Foote's love of his home state, Mississippi, and the memories of that war which grew up with many white southern males of his generation, are what power the narrative." In other words, Gordon-Reed suggests that regional nostalgia and romanticism--rather than historical scholarship-- lay at the heart of Foote's interpretation. (19)

Foote, who always took professional criticism in stride, would surely have agreed that, as a "novelist-historian," he--and Burns--had produced something other than history. Foote refused to use footnotes in his trilogy, a fact that allowed him to occasionally stray beyond that which could be confirmed in the historical record, as he did with the Forrest human-shield story and the illusory Davis funeral oration for Forrest. And Foote certainly understood the power of memory. In the final volume of the Narrative, in referring to the veterans' reunions after the war, the writer offered his own thoughts on the importance of remembrance: "Memory smoothed the crumpled scroll, abolished fear, leached pain and grief, and removed the sting from death." (20) Eager to tell a heroic story that fulfilled his own fascination with martial glory, Foote produced a grand narrative that focused on military actors and events and that mostly neglected slavery and the black experience. Apt to ignore lingering racial conflict and distrust, viewers hailed Burns and Foote for producing a compelling--and unifying--interpretation of the nation's Civil War. Twenty-five years after the airing of the Burns series and ten years after Foote's death in Memphis, their contribution to the popular American memory of the war endures.

NOTES

The authors wish to acknowledge the work of Carol McCarley, Jordan Redmon, Lauren Peterson, Elizabeth Gates, and Bill Short in processing the Shelby Foote Collection at Rhodes College, as well as Steve and Riea Lainoff for their ongoing support of the Collection. The authors also acknowledge the helpful suggestions of Stuart Chapman, Charles Hughes, and the anonymous reviewers for Southern Cultures.

(1.) "Ken Burns America," PBS, accessed June 17, 2015, http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/about -the-filmmakers/ken-burns.

(2.) Stuart Chapman, Shelby Foote: A Writers Life (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2003), 137; R. P. Basler, Chicago Sunday Tribune, April 6, 1952, 3, as quoted in Chapman, Shelby Foote, 138; Avery Craven, New York Herald Tribune Book Review, April 6, 1952, 4, as quoted in Chapman, Shelby Foote, 138; Malcolm Franklin, Bitterweeds: Life with William Faulkner at Rowan Oak (Irving, TX: The Society for the Study of Traditional Culture, 1977), 59.

(3.) On the social history revolution, see the classic essay by one of the great social history practitioners of the age, Darrett B. Rutman, "The New Social History in America," in Small Worlds, Large Questions: Explorations in Early American Social History, 1600-1850 (Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1994), 16-33.

(4.) Shelby Foote, Civil War: A Narrative, Volume One (New York: Random House Inc., 1958), 815.

(5.) Albert Kirwan, Revolt of the Rednecks: Mississippi Politics, 1876-192; (Lexington : University of Kentucky, 1951); Shelby Foote, interview by Bill Kauffman, "Live With Shelby Foote," The American Enterprise, January/February 2001.

(6.) Shelby Foote, interview by Bob Mottley, "Writer Critical of 'Tokenism' in South," Roanoke World-News, April 18, 1968, as published in William C. Carter, ed. Conversations with Shelby Foote (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1989), 18.

(7.) Shelby Foote, interview by Brian Lamb, In Depth with Shelby Foote, C-SPAN, September 2, 2001.

(8.) Allan Nevins, Ordeal of the Union, 8 vols. (New York: Scribner's, 1947-1971); Bruce Catton, Centennial History of the Civil War, 3 vols. (New York: Doubleday, 1961-1965); Chapman, Shelby Foote, 159,162; Foote, Civil War: Volume One, 125, 337; Shelby Foote, Civil War: A Narrative, Volume Three (New York: Random House, Inc., 1974), 1064-1065.

(9.) Foote, Civil War: Volume Three, 1051-1052, 1060.

(10.) Charles Royster, "Slaver, General, Klansman," Atlantic Monthly 271 (1993): 126; Shelby Foote, Shiloh (New York: Random House, Inc., 1952), 153-154, 214.

(11.) Report of Brig. Gen. William T. Sherman, U.S. Army, April 8, 1862, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, series 1,10 vols., part 1 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1894-1917), 640; Capt. J. Harvey Mathes, General Forrest (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1902); Robert Selph Henry, "First with the most": Nathan Bedford Forrest (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1944); Foote, Shiloh, 226.

(12.) Andrew Lytle, Bedford Forrest and His Critter Company (Seminole: The Green Key Press, 1931); Foote, Shiloh, 150; Foote, C-SPAN, September 2, 2001. See also Court Carney, "The Contested Image of Nathan Bedford Forrest," Journal of Southern History 67 (2001): 601-630.

(13.) Commercial Appeal, May 12, 1988. The controversy over the park continues. In the wake of the racially charged shooting in Charleston this past June, there have been renewed efforts to remove the brass statue and the remains of Forrest and his wife. On July 7, the Memphis City Council unanimously passed a resolution to begin the two separate processes of relocating the bodies and removing the statue. Because the park is a war memorial, any changes to it must be approved by the Tennessee Historical Commission. On the history of the monument controversy, see also Wanda Rushing, Memphis and the Paradox of Place: Globalisation in the American South (Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, 2009), 42-52; Tony Horwitz, Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War (New York: Pantheon Books, 1998), 149.

(14.) Foote, Civil War: A Narrative, Volume Three, 1052-1053.

(15.) Ken Burns to Shelby Foote, April 23, 1990, Shelby Foote Collection (Box 37, Folder 3), Rhodes College Archives, Memphis, Tennessee, hereafter cited as "Foote Collection." Chapman, Shelby Foote, 263.

(16.) James A. Murphy, To Shelby Foote, n.d., Foote Collection (Box 42, Folder 7); Russ Van Overberghe, To Shelby Foote, April 24, 1995, Foote Collection (Box 42, Folder 7); Murphy, Foote Collection (Box 42, Folder 7); Joel Lillo, To Shelby Foote, March 8, 1993, Foote Collection (Box 42, Folder 7).

(17.) Ken Burns, The Civil War, Florentine Films, 1990, Episode Nine.

(18.) See Stephen V. Ash, A Massacre in Memphis: The Race Riot that Shook the Nation One Year After the Civil Wir(New York: Hill and Wang, 2013); Ken Burns, "The Movie Maker as Historian: Conversations with Ken Burns," interviews by David Thelen, Journal of American History 81 (December 1994): 1048.

(19.) Catherine Clinton, "Noble Women as Well," and Eric Foner, "Ken Burns and the Romance of Reunion," in Robert Brent Toplin, ed., Ken Burns's The Civil War: Historians Respond (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 67, 112-113; Annette Gordon-Reed, "History and Memory: A Critique of the Foote Vision," The Civil War/ American Homer: A Narrative (New York: Random House, Inc., 2011), 63.

(20.) Foote, Civil War: Volume Three, 1047.

by Timothy S. Huebner and Madeleine M. McGrady

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A443549705