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Twilight at Little Round Top: July 2, 1863--The Tide Turns at Gettysburg

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  • Posted March 29, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    The Second Day Ends - The Union Holds

    Thirty-five years have passed since I first read Michael Shaara's "The Killer Angels" and Shelby Foote's "The Civil War". These two works served to instill in me a passion for the study of the Battle of Gettysburg, and after two long visits - and innumerable hours of reading - that passion still exists.

    Being from Mississippi, my interest in the battle focused primarily upon the efforts of Barksdale's brigade, as well as the incredible sacrifice of the 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment. Not much attention was paid to the conflict on the southern end of the battlefield; in fact on my first real visit to Gettysburg, I didn't even visit the Round Tops. Today, a visit to the Gettysburg National Military Park is not complete without standing before the monuments to Col. Strong Vincent, Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren, and the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

    Much of the interest in the fight for Little Round Top that exists today came about because of the 1993 movie entitled "Gettysburg" which loosely adapted Shaara's novel, and served to highlight the heroic stand of the 20th Maine, and its commanding officer Col. Joshua L. Chamberlain. It is well that such interest has been generated, for academic efforts such as Dr. Lafantasie's "Twilight at Little Round Top" have received popular as well as critical attention.

    Dr. Glen Lafantasie has undertaken an exhaustive research of the men and units involved in the fight for the left flank of the Union lines on July 2, 1863 - the Second Day. His book serves to provide not only the details, as best as they can be put together, of what happened on LRT, but also what was going through the minds of those who fought there. Diaries, reminiscences, newspaper accounts, magazine articles, books - all serve to provide the Professor with the things that bring not just those details, but the feelings, the shock, the horror, and yes, the exultation of the horrible combat for the little hill on the south end of the Union line. It is these details that make "Twilight" readable and captivating.

    Dr. Lafantasie lays also lays an undercurrent in his book, which serves to keep the reader focused on the reasons the participants risked their very lives in such horrific combat; he does this by addressing the Southerners' basic hypocrisy in their "Cause". How can a people claim to be fighting for their liberty, while at the same time seeking to preserve an institution that served to enslave almost 4 million human beings?

    Glen Lafantasie's "Twilight at Little Round Top" is thoroughly researched, well written, and serves to bring together so much information which will give a reader - whether a seasoned scholar or a casual peruser - an enjoyable and informative understanding of the Battle for Little Round Top.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2005

    Time Travel

    LaFantasie has a gift: the ability to transport the reader back in time. The Civil War is no longer an historical event almost a century and a half ago -- it is NOW. I watched the battle at Little Round Top unfold, smelled the acrid stench of war, heard the thunder of the firing, agonized with the screaming and moaning wounded and, finally, viewed the carnage in the aftermath. The stage was set through LaFantasie's meticulous research. I enjoyed meeting the principal characters and getting to know what made them tick as they readied for battle. Interspersed was commentary from soldiers' letters and diaries that further enhanced the 'you are here' aspect of the book. Very importantly, you will not be left wondering what became of the people you came to know. I love a book with cinematic qualities and LaFantasie has given us that. With a restrained economy of words he supplies graphic imagery that left this reader, months later, *seeing* the battle at Little Round Top. This is a must read, not only for Civil War and history buffs but for all Americans.

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    Posted February 9, 2010

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    Posted December 17, 2009

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    Posted June 1, 2009

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