Amy Ryan
June 29, 2005 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Don’t recognize Shelby Foote? Imagine his honeyed Mississippi-bred drawl, maybe with a fiddle playing a mournful air behind him, as he dispenses grand historical perspective during Ken Burns’ The Civil War. The celebrated PBS documentary made Foote an unlikely TV star (and bestselling author) when he was in his 70s. Not that this encouraged him to trade his dip pen and inkwell for a word processor. I wanted to pay homage to the historian and novelist, who died Monday at 88, and recommend some of his books. Fortunately, USA Today has done all the heavy lifting for me.

addCredit(“Shelby Foote: Rogelio Solis/AP”)

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