We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Gettysburg book.

Pittsburgh...
Level Contributor
913 posts
66 reviews
Save Topic
Gettysburg book.

Hi everyone. I am looking for a good read on Gettysburg. I am heading there the weekend of November 15th and would like a good, history overview. I was a history major and love reading history BUT in this case, I am just looking for a shorter overview. It seems like most of what I have seen on Amazon is either a 1,000 page treatise or focused on a very specific part of the action. Any advice would be appreciated, thanks!!

Cleveland
Level Contributor
10,853 posts
30 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Gettysburg book.

If you want a short summary of the battle, read the Wikipedia article.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Gettysburg

The "Battle Cry of Freedom" by James McPherson is generally considered the best one-volume history of the Civil War. It won the Pulitzer Prize for history and is a volume in the Oxford History of the United States. You should be able to download an e-book version from your library, or buy the paperback version. It has about 20 pages on the actual battle, but many more pages that put the battle into perspective, both militarily and politically.

Michael Shaara's "The Killer Angels" won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and is the best fictional history of the battle. The movie "Gettysburg" is based on the book. It's an excellent, engrossing read.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Killer_Angels

Cleveland
Level Contributor
10,853 posts
30 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Gettysburg book.

As you can see from this article, "The Killer Angels" is not an ordinary work of historical fiction, as attested to by its popularity among Civil War buffs, such as myself, who are widely read on the Civil War.

…nytimes.com/2013/…

When I was a pre-teen, and my family visited Gettysburg, long before publication of Shaara's masterpiece, I insisted that my family go to Little Round Top. My memory was that it wasn't that big of a deal to get there, and I didn't have any perception of it being an obscure part of the battlefield, contrary to the claims in the above article.

Shaara made Joshua Chamberlain, who commanded the left wing of the Union forces defending Little Round Top, the central hero of his novel. Chamberlain survived serious wounds late in the war to command the Union forces presiding over the surrender ceremony at Appomattox Court House. This was perhaps Chamberlain's most defining moment of extraordinary character, and his greatest contribution to his nation, as his noble conduct at the surrender clearly well began the process of binding up the nation's wounds. See the discussion at the end of this article.

…wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Appomattox_Cou…

Yet when I go to Little Round Trip, I think of another individual whose memory is enshrined there by a monument. Have you ever heard of Strong Vincent High School in Erie?

Although only 26, Vincent was Chamberlain's commander at Little Round Top and whose decisive and heroic command decisions saved the strategic position for the Union. He was mortally wounded at Little Round Top.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strong_Vincent

The loss of such an accomplished individual as Vincent, who was survived by his pregnant wife, has always symbolized for me the great cost of the Civil War, especially as I used to drive by Strong Vincent High School often for my work. I always wondered how many of the students there knew anything about Strong Vincent.

As a western Pennsylvanian, you might want to seek out Vincent's monument and pay thanks.

Here's a trip report thread that you might enjoy:

tripadvisor.com/…28099317

Edited: 20 October 2013, 09:09
Pittsburgh...
Level Contributor
913 posts
66 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Gettysburg book.

Thank you for your wonderful responses Transcendental.

I mentioned that I was a history (and political science) major. Where I had those studies was actually at Mercyhurst College in Erie so I have heard of Strong Vincent. That is an interesting connection I had not been aware of. I am a huge fan of history but somehow have not delved into Civil War reading/ study all that much. I realize this is a huge oversight and am trying to rectify it.

I have "The Battle Cry of Freedom" on my shelf and did actually read it maybe 10 years ago. I think I will take your suggestion and re- read the Gettysburg sections. Thanks again for all the valuable information - I am off to read that trip report now!!

Iowa
Level Contributor
1,448 posts
465 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Gettysburg book.

I just finished reading a short book called Gettysburg 1863 by Carl Smith. It gave a general overview of the three days; it doesn't include a lot of detail so it may not be the best choice if you're looking for something really detailed. It's 126 pages long and includes a few maps, drawings, and photographs.

Pittsburgh...
Level Contributor
913 posts
66 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Gettysburg book.

Thanks so much, Kren. That sort of short overview is just what I am looking for. I would like to delve more in depth down the road but I have a very busy few weeks before the trip to the battlefield and feel a short book will be good to get me ready to tour the area.

Lakeville...
Level Contributor
2 posts
81 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Gettysburg book.

I would recommend "Hallowex Ground." It is a quick read and explains each stage of the battle in straight forward terms as if you were walking the site. It is not written I'm a storybook form but rather a factual style. Iwould recommend it strongly.

JB

Lakeville...
Level Contributor
2 posts
81 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Gettysburg book.

I would recommend "Hallowed Ground." It is a quick read and explains each stage of the battle in straight forward terms as if you were walking the site. It is not written I'm a storybook form but rather a factual style. Iwould recommend it strongly.

JB

8. Re: Gettysburg book.

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 31 October 2014, 05:22
Get answers to your questions about Gettysburg
Recent Conversations