Shelby Foote's CIVIL WAR NARRATIVE has serious flaws, thus, his books should not be viewed as factual.
Foote's distorted defense of General Forrest can be explained by what happened on Mississippi's "Shelby Foote Day" in 1982. On that day Mississippi Governor William Winter hosted a dinner in Foote's honor. After the dinner Foote spent the night at the Governor's Mansion sleeping in the bed of Governor Theodore Bilbo. An innocent gesture until one discovers that Bilbo is still honored as a member of the Ku Klux Klan who earned the reputation of being a Racist Extraordinaire. He served as Governor from 1916-1920, 1928-1932, and as a United States Senator from 1935 till his death in 1947. Bilbo held to the belief that segregation must be fought against with all of one's strength. "The answer is simple", he said. "The South stands for blood, for the preservation of the blood of the white race. To preserve her blood, the white South must absolutely deny social equality to the Negro regardless of what his individual accomplishments might be. This is the premise-openly and frankly stated-upon which the Southern policy is based." Like Bilbo, Foote held to the same prejudices.