Books: Endgame

THE CIVIL WAR, A NARRATIVE: RED RIVER TO APPOMATTOX

by SHELBY FOOTE 1,106 pages. Random House. $20.

Starting in the mid-'50s, perhaps after publication of Bruce Catton's A Stillness at Appomattox in 1953, Americans developed a kind of hobbyist's passion for the Civil War. It may even have been a subliminally sinister fad. The Supreme Court's 1954 Brown decision reawakened sectional fervors—an Impulse in some to fight it out again, not on crass and specific racial grounds but over the once bloody, somehow romantic battlegrounds of history. Buffs dragged their children in Yankee or...

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