tedious tedious. and I can usually stick through most things (including history). but this just never got going for me. I think if perhaps I was already a history buff on the civil war, I might have enjoyed it more. But as a story on it's own, I could not get interested. I gave up after about 4 hours.
The "alternate history" of Gettysburg seems more believable than the real history. For those who have studied the Civil War, Lee's actions at the battle have always seemed inexplicable. This book creates a scenario that is remarkably plausible, fresh and suspenseful. I expected an interesting plot, but did not expect the high quality of the wiritng. Well drawn characters, believable and exciting battle scenes, good pacing, lots of suspense and just enough detail to put the reader firmly into the scene.
I also appreciated the avoidance of cliches, and the accurate depictions of motivations on both sides of the North/South divide. Letters and diaries of the time make it clear that slavery was not a primary issue for the vast majority of men who fought and died. It may or may not have been for the politicians back home, but not for the rank and file of the armies. Gingrich and Forstchen thankfully avoid making this book into a political commentary, but when motivation is mentioned, they accurately depict the attitudes of the brave men of both sides. Want to know why they fought? Listen to this book.
The narration is terrific. Tom shows a good variety of voices, and his southern accents are very authentic. Having lived all of my life (born 1953) in the south, and in a variety of locations within the south, I appreciated the differences in accent and pronunciation that Tom brought to his various characters. He also conveys the emotions and feelings of the characters brilliantly. You can hear the fatigue in the voices of characters who have marched 21 miles and must then swing into battle, the terror of those about to die, and the utter disgust at the madness of it all from those who have survived.
If you like war stories, the civil war, or the alternate history genre, this book is a MUST listen.
I think the authors did a great job of re-writing history but keeping the authenticity of these great histroical men. Would love to see their thoughts of what happens after the retreat to Harrisburg.
My dad used to say to us when my 3 brothers and I were growing up, 'What do they teach you in school? I can't believe you don't know your US history'! Well, he was right! I learned so much from this book and loved it! The story was so engaging, the narration spot on and I literally cried at the end. So very good! You will do yourself and your noggin a favor by listening, enjoying and enriching yourself!
Definitely one of my favorite books about the Civil War. It's main premise is a historical point of departure. However, it's analysis of what DID happen and of what WOULD likely happen with one change of decision is masterful. It's a great read and great history.
Yes, it's active history, which is fiction. However, this book was phenomenal! And, let's not overlook the forward in which Newt explains the theory of active history, which is to prompt us to think about historical events in a way that is much more interesting than just names and dates. And, Tom Stechshulte is great, too!
I enjoy primarily historical non fiction
In order to make the amount of time spent on this book worthwhile you not only have to believe that Lee finally listened to Longstreet and that Dan Sickles always had the right answer while others like Mead and his "professional staff", including Hancock were lost in a mental fog. I find it interesting that the authors ascribe to Sickles a politician who in fact messed up in the real battle this insight.
In my opinion there is nothing to be learned from this work other than what we already know which is that the Civil War and particularly Gettysburg were a terrible waste of lives--tipping the scale toward the confederacy doesn't make it any better in that regard.
I will stick with the reality of history where the Northern Generals made the right moves during the battle and Lee let his passion for victory at all cost run away with him.
The narration was excellent therefore the two stars.
Listening to this is feeling the grief, horror, sympathy, fear, pain, anger, love and doubt of both sides. It is not a story of just war but a story of our country torn by deep beliefs and pain while at the same time mutually admiring the "enemy person". The " real enemy" in this story is not people but "failure to listen and really hear each side of the argument" before killing one another. The " real enemy" is letting pride get in the way for finding a way to compromise without compromising each other.
This "enemy" is stil alive and well. Every person- especially every politician should read this book and really listen. We must remember that we do not all have to agree. We can live in differance.