Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Book Review: Gettysburg: The Last Invasion

Hardcover: 656 pages
Publisher: Knopf (May 14, 2013)

Released last May and due out in paperback in Feburary, the acclaimed Civil War historian, Allen C. Guelzo, has given us a brilliant new history of the three-day battle of Gettysburg.  Of all accounts that have been told, Guelzo's is the most intimate and richly readable account by far.

Guelzo's book draws us into the heat, smoke, and grime of those three July days in 1863.  We're there fighting alongside soldiers.  Over the nearly 700 pages, Guelzo depicts the personalities and circumstances that gave us one of the greatest, and famous, battles in not only the Civil War but in the history of mankind.

There have been several full-length histories of what transpired at Gettysburg over the last 100 years but none have been able to do what Guelzo does.  He looks at how the indidvidual soldier experienced the battle.  He also looks at how politics played a role in the decisions made by the military.  He looks at the battle in terms of the context of the 19th Century practices.

Through his writing, we can imagine the lay of the land, where the fences and stone walls are, the clouds of gunpowder that hurt both movement and vision, to name a few.

Over 150 years after the battle of Gettysburg, it very much comes to life.

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