Shelby Foote (1916- )

Shelby Foote was born in Greenville, Mississippi in 1916, where he spent most of his childhood and his early adult life. After attending the University of North Carolina from 1935 to 1937, Foote was drafted into the army in 1940. He rose to the rank of captain before being dismissed by court-martial in Ireland in 1944 after traveling two miles beyond the official limit to see his girlfriend (who later would become his first wife); he joined the Marines the next year. Foote published his first novel, Tournament, in 1949. This was followed by three other works -- Follow Me Down (1950), Love in a Dry Season (1951), and Shiloh (1952). Foote's ability to create a realistic portrayal of the War for Southern Independence -- factually accurate, richly detailed, and entering into the minds of men on both sides -- led his editors at Random House to invite him to write a short history of the war to appear for the conflict's centennial. Twenty years later, Foote had produced his massive three-volume history of the war -- Fort Sumter to Perryville (1958), Fredericksburg to Meridian (1963), and Red River to Appomattox (1974). Foote has been a Guggenheim Fellow three times, and has served as a lecturer at the University of Virginia and Memphis State. In the early 1990s, Foote enjoyed a new kind of fame after his featured appearances in a popular television series on the War for Southern Independence. Shelby Foote lives with his third wife in Memphis, Tennessee.


Major Works