[music up] "My Dearest Eliza, today Shelby Foote died . . ."

from the AP, cut down:

“Foote’s soft drawl and gentlemanly manner on the Burns film made him an instant celebrity…”

They got that right. I can still see and hear him clear as a bell years later.

Is that “Ashokan Farewell” I hear playing? :frowning:

My dad gave me the books to read long before I saw the documentary in high school. I love the way he wrote (it’s no wonder it took him twenty years, doing it by hand). What I really can’t believe is that he was almost 90. I had no idea he was that old.

Ah, nuts. First Joseph Campbell (d. 1987) and now Foote. The two people who always grabbed my attention whenever they spoke. Very few storytellers, when finished, make me think, “Tell me another…”


Damn. I read his Civil War narrative, all 3,000 pages, twice. And I’m sure I’ll do it again.

I have a little Foote-related anecdote that I’d like to offer.

In 1996 my wife and I vacationed in Camden, Maine and I was visiting one of the local bookstores. When I asked one of the clerks for a particular title (I don’t remember now which one) virtually every one of the dozen or so heads in that store turned in my direction. It was the Southern accent, I’m sure.

One of the clerks commented on how much I looked like Shelby Foote and that, coupled with the accent, they were surprised at how young “he” looked! I’m 20+ years his junior, but was flattered to be mentioned in the same sentence as he. I offered to autograph any of his books, which got a big laugh from all those who had perked up when I had spoken.

Since that time whenever people want to see a photo of me, I link to one of his and say that some folks in Camden, Maine think there’s a resemblance.

Not too long ago there was a longish interview on C-SPAN’s “Book Notes” with Foote that had been recorded quite a few years back. He was a character!

Very sad to hear of Shelby Foote’s passing. He was the last of an Old School of Southern writers, and a master of the slow art of storytelling. Saw him speak many a time when I lived in Misssissippi, and was always mesmerized by the combination of thick, slow Delta accent and incisively sharp intellect.

A true story I love that illustrates this: During a documentary filming of music along the Mississippi, the director was a hyper madman, constantly on the cellphone, while typing on his laptop, while driving :eek: Yammer yammer yammer, wouldn’t take time to absorb anything, but had a camera and nice funding.

While filming Shelby Foote on the bow of a Mississippi riverboat during a tour, the director was going willy-nilly, all hopped up, and filmed Mr. Foote, disgruntled at the asshole behavior of the director. He talked some, answered poorly though -out questions, and basically endured it as a favor to the folks he liked who organized it.

At the end of filming, the director was still off in his yaya speed world, “Great stuff Shelby, thanks!”

Whereupon Shelby Foote looked right at him with those rheumy blue eyes, with that beautiful Delta drawl, and said, “Ah buhlieve, Sir, that when you take the tahm to review your effahts, you will see that you hayu’ve come up with naught.”

Man, they don’t make 'em like that anymore! Plus, he wrote his books in longhand, on yellow legal pads. Sigh passing of a slower, well-thought, articulate era. I’m glad to have heard that resonant voice.

According to NRP, not just long hand. But, with a dip pen!

I loved this man. I mourn his passing.

Oops. Of course I meant NPR.

Not a criticism, Eve, just my opinion: Mr. Foote’s passing is neither mundane nor pointless. Nonetheless, I thank you for sharing!

Thanks also to Shelby Foote, who has enriched my life immensely through his decades of writing and oratory. He was one of the very few people whom I was as happy hearing as reading. (He also simplified my gift-buying through the years: Each Christmas, I buy a nicely-bound volume of Mr. Foote’s work for my brother, who shares my love. I’m never able to justify the cost of beautiful bindings for my own library, but for gifts? Sure!)

Man…I didn’t read this guy’s books, but I did hear him on “Civil War” on TV.

When I visited Athens, GA last summer I met a man who had the exact same accent as Shelby Foote. I told my friend (who was friends with this man) that whenever I feel sad I want to be able to call this fellow and have him say something mundane to me. Like recite the time.


he was that old? wow. Then again, I guess “Civil War” (the TV series) is kind of old now too.

Eve, you’re obviously out of practice in naming these threads. The title should have been “One Foote in the grave”

An account of his funeral.

He is buried among the men he wrote about.