Cover To Cover is the anchor program for GPB’s literary coverage. Cover To Cover features a collection of distinctive Southern voices interviewing Georgia writers, Southern writers, and writers dealing with the South. The GPB Southern Lit Cadre will provide you with a varied, weekly glimpse at fiction, non-fiction, history, poetry, and even the occasional ‘old school’ nod to Flannery O’Connor or William Faulkner.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Winston Groom's Vicksburg, 1863

Stan Deaton spoke with Winston Groom about his latest novel Vicksburg, 1863. He gives us this preview:

Winston Groom is a masterful storyteller, as one would expect from the man who wrote the novel Forrest Gump. Now the author of fourteen previous books of both fiction and non-fiction has brought his considerable skills to bear on retelling the story of one of the most important battle of America's most crucial war. Vicksburg, 1863 is Groom's latest offering, and it's a good one. One reviewer wrote that Groom's approach to the Civil War follows that of Bruce Catton and Shelby Foote, and that's pretty good company to be in.

Groom's got a great cast of characters to work with, and they're all here in vivid detail: Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, Jefferson Davis, Joseph E. Johnston, John Pemberton, Earl Van Dorn, along with other Americans, black and white, northern and southern, who have been lost to history. His conclusion, that the loss of Vicksburg was a turning point in the war and the Confederacy's greatest setback, is not a surprise. But Groom takes it one step further: he argues that after Vicksburg fell in early July 1863, the Confederate high command should have realized that there was no possible way to win the war militarily, and they should have stopped fighting and sued for peace at that point, nearly two years before the war actually ended. It's an intriguing argument, and one of history's great "what if?" moments.

In this interview, he talks about all of this plus his years at the University of Alabama, his time in Vietnam, and the challenges of writing fiction and non-fiction."

You can listen to Stan Deaton’s interview with Winston Groom this Sunday night at 8 on GPB.

Listen to this episode