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A Field Guide to Gettysburg: Experiencing the Battlefield Through Its History, Places, and People PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: A Field Guide to Gettysburg: Experiencing the Battlefield Through Its History, Places, and People
Author: Carol Reardon
Publisher: Published July 1st 2013 by University of North Carolina Press (first published June 11th 2013)
ISBN: 9780807835258
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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In this lively guide to the Gettysburg battlefield, Carol Reardon and Tom Vossler invite readers to participate in a tour of this hallowed ground. Ideal for carrying on trips through the park as well as for the armchair historian, this book includes comprehensive maps and deft descriptions of the action that situate visitors in time and place. Crisp narratives introduce ke In this lively guide to the Gettysburg battlefield, Carol Reardon and Tom Vossler invite readers to participate in a tour of this hallowed ground. Ideal for carrying on trips through the park as well as for the armchair historian, this book includes comprehensive maps and deft descriptions of the action that situate visitors in time and place. Crisp narratives introduce key figures and events, and eye-opening vignettes help readers more fully comprehend the import of what happened and why. A wide variety of contemporary and postwar source materials offer colorful stories and present interesting interpretations that have shaped--or reshaped--our understanding of Gettysburg today. Each stop addresses the following: What happened here? Who fought here? Who commanded here? Who fell here? Who lived here? How did participants remember this event?

30 review for A Field Guide to Gettysburg: Experiencing the Battlefield Through Its History, Places, and People

  1. 4 out of 5

    Robin Friedman

    I celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1 -- 3, 1863, by reading Carol Reardon's and Tom Vossler's new book, "A Field Guide to Gettysburg: Experiencing the Battlefield through its History, Places, and People". It is "altogether fitting and proper" to think further about Gettysburg and to review the book on Independence Day, 2013. Carol Reardon teaches at Pennsylvania State University and is best-known for her book on Pickett's Charge and for a book on Civil War milit I celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1 -- 3, 1863, by reading Carol Reardon's and Tom Vossler's new book, "A Field Guide to Gettysburg: Experiencing the Battlefield through its History, Places, and People". It is "altogether fitting and proper" to think further about Gettysburg and to review the book on Independence Day, 2013. Carol Reardon teaches at Pennsylvania State University and is best-known for her book on Pickett's Charge and for a book on Civil War military thinking,"With a Sword in One Hand and Jomini in the Other". Vossler, a retired Army colonel, is former director of the U.S. Army Military Institute and a licensed battlefield guide at Gettysburg. Reardon's and Vossler's book is arranged as a "field guide" to the battlefield for use for visitors to the park. In many ways, it serves this purpose well. The book is a compact paperback, lightweight and easy to carry, and printed on glossy, sturdy paper. It is organized into 34 "stops" each covering a separate point of interest on the battlefield. The authors provide detailed driving instructions between one stop and the next. They also provide the reader with a precise orientation on the ground, indicating where to stand and where to look to gain an understanding of the military action. Each of the stops is also accompanied by a precise, highly useful map illustrating the flow of the action -- many battle studies tend to be short on mapping -- with the location of the reader indicated as a point of reference. Each chapter presents its material uniformly, following a fixed set of six questions. Thus the reader learns for each of the sites: 1. what happened here? 2. who fought here? 3.who commanded here? 4.who fell here? 5. who lived here? and 6. what was said later about the action at the site. The authors explore these questions succinctly but with a great deal of detail. Thus, they describe the military action, the commanders on both sides at the particular site, the casualties, with detailed accounting by regiments and brigade of those killed, wounded or missing, the owners of the property on which the action took place, and historians and others discussion of the action in the years following the battle. The discussion also includes many photographs, many of which are rare and contemporaneous with the battle. In the discussion of "who fell here" the authors give short stories of soldiers on both sides of the line who were killed in the combat. After a short introduction to the Gettysburg campaign and to the organization of the armies, the book begins with the first "stop", Cemetery Hill, the pivotal point of the battle. They proceed to present the battle chronologically, with 12 stops for July 1, 14 for July 2, and 7 stops for July 3. The final stop covers the Soldiers' National Cemetery while a short concluding chapter describes the retreat and aftermath of the battle. Reardon and Vossler have written a good, detailed account of Gettysburg. The book reminded me of the heroism of the soldiers on both sides, of the tragedy of the battle, and of the complexity of the military action. For a visit to Gettysburg, the book needs to be used carefully. For most readers, it will be of most use in pointing out the sites to visit together with driving directions, orienting the reader at the site, and briefly summarizing the action. The 400 page text is far too extensive and difficult for the reader to absorb on a single visit to the park. It took me the better part of three days -- the commemoration days of the battle -- to read the book. It would be virtually impossible to do the book justice and absorb the details in the course of an on the ground visit. The book would be valuable to have at the park as an overview and a guide but it is no substitute for a close visit to Gettysburg. On balance, I think the book will have most value to readers who have spent time at Gettysburg and who have at least a basic working knowledge of the battle. I was unable to visit Gettysburg for the 150th anniversary, but Reardon and Vossler helped me commemorate the battle's many iconic moments for the United States. I was pleased to share my thoughts about the book and to think about American freedom and democracy on this Independence Day. Robin Friedman

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jeremiah Gumm

    Excellent resource for anyone interested in the Civil War or the battle of Gettysburg. I'm looking forward to working through some of the chronological stops in the book the next time I visit Gettysburg. I'm also looking forward to getting a copy of the 2nd edition of this field guide that came out in 2017.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Bartlett

    Released for the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, A Field Guide to Gettysburg written by Carol Reardon and pictures taken by Tom Vossler, offers a unique view into the battle. While other Gettysburg Guides have offered in depth looks into the areas outside of Gettysburg, including the retreat from the field and the cemeteries in the borough, A Field Guide to Gettysburg gives an in depth look into the battle itself including many details on the days of combat not going outside the r Released for the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, A Field Guide to Gettysburg written by Carol Reardon and pictures taken by Tom Vossler, offers a unique view into the battle. While other Gettysburg Guides have offered in depth looks into the areas outside of Gettysburg, including the retreat from the field and the cemeteries in the borough, A Field Guide to Gettysburg gives an in depth look into the battle itself including many details on the days of combat not going outside the realm of the battle. What Reardon has done is written a narrative split into three parts for the different days of combat including an analysis of the land and the regiments of the field. Carol Reardon is an accomplished historian and teaches at Pennsylvania State University. In the past, she has taught at West Point and the United States Army War College. She also offers many staff tours all over Gettysburg for both groups of civilians and military personnel. Her other works include Pickett’s Charge in History and Memory and With a Sword in one hand and Jomini in the Other. Tom Vossler is a combat veteran and is retired from the army as a U.S. Colonel. He is the former director of the United State Army Military Institute and is a licensed battlefield guide. As stated before, there are many guide books to the battlefield of Gettysburg. For the most part, they are needed since most people are lost on the field when they are not well versed in Civil War knowledge. Each guide is different and offers something new to the realm of field guides. One thing which separates this guide from others is the in depth narrative which Reardon has provided and has greatly organized so the guide could be used on the battlefield. As each stop is mentioned, there are seven sections to the area. It begins with the orientation of the area surrounding you, and then a description about what happened there. Though all stops may not have all seven sections of the narrative, these two parts are always present in the guide. The other sections which may be part of the stop description are “who commanded here,” “What did they say about it later,” “who fought here,” “who fell here,” and “who lived here,” just to name a few. Throughout these narratives, the reader gets a feeling that the general knowledge of Gettysburg is superseded than what they knew before. What this guide does for the seasoned Gettysburg historian is add more depth into areas they may not understand as well as other sections of the battlefield. My first use of this guide was to help me understand what happened at East Cavalry Battlefield. When I arrived on that field, without the guide, I would have been completely hopeless. But with the guide in hand, the amount of knowledge I gained is unmatched from any other guide I would have brought with me on the field. A Field Guide to Gettysburg is highly recommended to anyone visiting Gettysburg for the first time, or the seasoned Gettysburg historian. The narrative by Reardon is unmatched in the realm of academia and the photographs taken by Tom Vossler are excellent. When I met both Reardon and Vossler at Gettysburg, they told me that they were able to be one of the first people in the cupola of the Lutheran Theological Seminary to take last minute pictures for this guide. This is the kind of devotion they poured into the writing of this book. A Field Guide to Gettysburg was the winner of the 2013 Bachelder-Coddinton Literary Award and it is well deserved. Matthew Bartlett - Gettysburg Chronicle

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chuck

    Carol Reardon and Tom Vossler's "A Field Guide to Gettysburg" is a tour guide of the Gettysburg Battlefield. It directs the reader to 35 critical battle locations and describes in detail what happened at each stop. Each Section provides an extremely well thought-out description of that part of the battle. The text includes the underlying reason for it, what happened, why it was important, who led the troops, and vignettes of some of the participants. Additionally, each section contains excellent Carol Reardon and Tom Vossler's "A Field Guide to Gettysburg" is a tour guide of the Gettysburg Battlefield. It directs the reader to 35 critical battle locations and describes in detail what happened at each stop. Each Section provides an extremely well thought-out description of that part of the battle. The text includes the underlying reason for it, what happened, why it was important, who led the troops, and vignettes of some of the participants. Additionally, each section contains excellent pictures and graphics. In each section there is an excellent tactical map (sometimes more) that shows the terrain, the location, and the movement of the units involved. Further, there are excellent photos of the terrain (thoughtfully taken in the fall or winter when the trees are bare and less obscuring of critical features). And there are pictures of important monuments, features, and participants. And the book itself is well written and easily readable. It is also excellently and thoughtfully laid out and printed. The authors, editors, graphics and layout folks, and everybody else that I can think of associated with the book provided the highest quality of work! Like any other effort, there are pluses and minuses. The book is an excellent resource to go to the 35 most important locations and view what happened in those places. However, supplementing the 'Field Guide' with a good general text on the Battle of Gettysburg would help tie the 35 locations into a more complete understanding of the battle as a whole. I would recommend this book to anyone touring the Battlefield or interested in the details of the 30 or so most critical occurrences during the battle. Supplemented with a good history of the battle, the reader will be armed with the tools needed to understand what happened here during 3 days in July 1863.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Excellent guide for visitors.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Zach

    I just had to write a review for this book, because I just returned from a trip to Gettysburg. I originally brought this book to get some ideas on where to visit, but as I started reading, I decided to do the entire tour start to finish. I was not disappointed. This book is entirely focused on the person who wants to visit Gettysburg and get the most out of it. It is organized as a self-guided tour through 35 stops, following the timeline of the battle of day one to day three. Reardon and Vossler I just had to write a review for this book, because I just returned from a trip to Gettysburg. I originally brought this book to get some ideas on where to visit, but as I started reading, I decided to do the entire tour start to finish. I was not disappointed. This book is entirely focused on the person who wants to visit Gettysburg and get the most out of it. It is organized as a self-guided tour through 35 stops, following the timeline of the battle of day one to day three. Reardon and Vossler will tell you exactly where to stop your car, where to walk, and where to look. (e.g. Park on the right on the gravel shoulder just beyond the Geary statue near the monument to the 29th Ohio. After parking, walk to the 29th Ohio monument. Face the thick woods behind it; the park road should be behind you.) I only got lost once, and it was my fault. Ditch the GPS and use this book instead. I got the most out of this book by bringing it out onto the field with me and reading the chapter as I stood on the designated spot. It will take a while, but I followed this routine for all 35 stops in 2 whole days. It was enough time for me to thoroughly digest and appreciate what happened there. Reardon and Vossler not only bring you to the popular spots like Little Round Top and Cemetery Ridge, but also the lesser-known spots like Pitzer's Woods and the Cavalry Fields. This was the perfect supplement to the background knowledge I had on Gettysburg from the books I've read. There's nothing like walking the field to understand the battle, and this book was the perfect guide. I can't recommend it enough.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jim Blessing

    I was on my way to Gettysburg (where a friend and I planned to bike around the battlefield), when I suffered a broken ankle which cancelled the trip. A friend found this book at the library and gave it to me. It provides extremely interesting insights to the battle with a wealth of information at 35 key battlefield stops. I will use it religiously when I tour the battlefield.

  8. 5 out of 5

    John Jorgensen

    Excellent tour/reference/guide book. Gives details and stories about most parts of the battlefield. It might be a little overkill for a casual visitor but anybody with more than a passing interest, this book is a must have.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mike Bender

    Fantastic walkthrough of the battle. Indispensable for anyone with an interest in understanding the events of July 1st through 3rd, 1863.

  10. 5 out of 5

    William P.

    A most have companion book to any study of the battle. Excellent writing, beautiful printing and paper.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dougie Whitehead

  12. 5 out of 5

    Raully

  13. 5 out of 5

    Paul Richardson

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sue Thibodeau

  15. 5 out of 5

    W Charles

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dennis

  17. 4 out of 5

    John Kolb

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  19. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Kolze

  20. 4 out of 5

    Madde Delgado

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bill

  23. 4 out of 5

    W Karl Wetherbee, Jr

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kendra

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jessi

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bruce

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jason Mickel

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  29. 4 out of 5

    Steven Tenenbaum

  30. 4 out of 5

    Keith

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