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Midwest Book ReviewNo academic library can afford not to include Maps of Gettysburg as part of their American Civil War Reference collections.
Thousands of books and articles have been written about Gettysburg, but the operation remains one of the most complex and difficult to understand. Bradley Gottfried’s groundbreaking 'The Maps of Gettysburg: An Atlas of the Gettysburg Campaign, June 3 – July 13, 1863' is a unique ...
Thousands of books and articles have been written about Gettysburg, but the operation remains one of the most complex and difficult to understand. Bradley Gottfried’s groundbreaking 'The Maps of Gettysburg: An Atlas of the Gettysburg Campaign, June 3 – July 13, 1863' is a unique and thorough study of this multifaceted campaign.
The 'Maps of Gettysburg' breaks down the entire operation into thirty map sets or “action-sections” enriched with 144 detailed, full-page color maps comprising the entire campaign. These cartographic originals bore down to the regimental and battery level and include the march to and from the battlefield and virtually every significant event in between. At least two—and as many as twenty—maps accompany each map set. Keyed to each piece of cartography is a full facing page of detailed text describing the units, personalities, movements, and combat (including quotes from eyewitnesses) depicted on the accompanying map, all of which makes the Gettysburg story come alive.
This presentation makes it easy for readers to quickly locate a map and text on virtually any portion of the campaign, from the march into Pennsylvania during June to the last Confederate withdrawal of troops across the Potomac River on July 13, 1863. Serious students of the battle will appreciate the extensive and authoritative endnotes and complete order of battle. They will also want to bring the book along on their trips to the battlefield.
Perfect for the easy chair or for stomping the hallowed ground of Gettysburg, 'The Maps of Gettysburg' is a seminal work that belongs on the bookshelf of every serious and casual student of the battle.
About the Author: Bradley M. Gottfried, Ph.D., is the President of the College of Southern Maryland. An avid Civil War historian, Dr. Gottfried is the author of five books, including 'Brigades of Gettysburg: The Union and Confederate Brigades at the Battle of Gettysburg' (2002). He is currently working with co-editor Theodore P. Savas on a Gettysburg Campaign encyclopedia.
One specific complaint about this book should be aired before all others: its title, The Maps of Gettysburg-rather than Maps of Gettysburg-implies that the maps contained herein have some official status or particular historical significance or are recognized as definitive in some way. In fact, they are the work of Gottfried (president, Coll. of Southern Maryland). Well executed in black-and-white, they have no particular quality that confers special importance upon them. The author provides 144 of these maps of the Gettysburg campaign and battle, each with a single-page commentary explaining the action rendered. Regiments are depicted as black or white blocks with appropriate numbers and state abbreviations, and terrain and roads are identified. Perhaps the greatest oversight is that while the author provides details of space, he supplies none of time. Rarely does he offer any specific information about the duration of a given phase of the battle or what time of day it took place. In his cumulative overview of this abundantly studied battle, he never achieves the clarity for which he seems to be striving. For Civil War students and enthusiasts who already know enough about the subject, this book may be handy. An optional purchase for academic libraries.
Posted March 27, 2011
Posted March 27, 2011
Posted July 17, 2010
This book works on several levels; first as an atlas of the Gettysburg campaign, second as a history of the campaign and last as a reference work. That it excels at each level is a testament to the author's knowledge and skill. Any book on Gettysburg by Bradley Gottfried is subject to high expectations. His "Roads to Gettysburg" and "Brigades of Gettysburg" are essential works on the campaign and battle. This book exceeds our expectations and raises the bar for his next work. The author's style of writing requires a minimal number of words to convey essential information, making for a very informative narration that does not require pages of text. This produces an informative but easy to read text of the essential action for each map just as it did for each brigade in his last book.
144 full-page color enhanced maps that cover the advance, battle and retreat. Facing pages have a map on the right page and text on the left one. This simple idea puts everything together, ending flipping pages trying to understand the action. The second requirement is short time intervals and detailed maps. Again, the author manages this difficult idea. The 29 map set present in chronological order the campaign from Virginia to Gettysburg and back to Virginia. Each map set presents a specific action and contains from three to 21 maps and text covering this phase of the campaign. The scale is from 12 miles for campaign maps to 220 yards to the inch for the detailed regimental maps. The lower scale maps have contour lines indicate woods, cornfields, orchards and grain fields with worm, post & rail or stone fences. Roads, railroads and buildings are included. This makes for a busy map and takes some study before easily reading the tactical maps. Since this is Gettysburg, most readers know where these items are located and can find the symbols on one of the maps
The largest map set is the advance of the armies to Gettysburg starting on June 3rd and ending on July 2nd. The maps for the first six days of the campaign are in two-day increments. From June 12th to July 2nd, the maps are daily. Included as part of the approach are map sets for the battle of Second Winchester and Stephenson's Depot. Eleven map sets and one evening July 1- 2 map, cover the fighting on July First. Ten-map sets cover July Second with one evening July 2 - 3 map completes the day. July Third has four map sets. The detail is impressive, using July Third for an example the map sets: are Culp's Hill remains in Union Hands, five maps, The Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble Charge, seven maps, The East Cavalry Field, four maps and The South Cavalry Field 3 maps.
Reading the text and viewing the maps can be a sequential process giving the reader a detailed account of the campaign and the battle. A second approach is using the book as a reference for a specific action. The text and maps provide a good detailed study that allows the reader to follow the action on the map. Lastly, you can use this atlas with any Gettysburg book and to answer specific questions about the battle.
The obvious questions is "Should I replace my existing Maps book?" Color makes a huge difference in readability enhancing the usefulness and value of the book. Until I laid the two books side by side, I did not realize how much difference it would make. My answer is "YES", it is a worthwhile upgrade.
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Posted February 15, 2009
I Also Recommend:
excellent...a great companion when reading about the battle....helps you visualize what you are reading...
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Posted January 6, 2012
The very best detailed account of each phase of the battle I have read. Excellent maps and discussion. Highly recommended.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.