This is the kind of book that is better listened to than read, because it delivers the actual words of real people who were there. According to the author, he compiled his information from journals, diaries, letters, official documents, newspaper excerpts, etc., and the depth of his research is evident. Also, the book is skillfully read with appropriate voices-Southern, Northern, woman, girl, man, boy. Speakers range from the illustrious (General Lee) to the ordinary (a young girl residing in Gettysburg). Although the book starts with Lee moving his troops north for invasion, the principal location is Gettysburg, PA. The time is late June to July 4th, 1863. Through the words of actual participants, and the emotions those words reveal, the author brings us into the thick of things, so that the horror of war is presented in all its ugly facets. This is war up close and personal, and the book is read so well that the reader almost feels the actual experience. Northern and Southern soldiers mill around in smoke and dust so thick it is hard to tell friend from foe. Minie balls from rifles whiz through the air. Swords and bayonets come into play when ammunition runs out or the foe is too close to allow time for reloading the single-shot rifles. Cannon balls and canister shot (grape shot) rip limbs from soldiers. Wounded lie on the battlefield pleading for help. Amazing acts of kindness and charity between enemies and out of concern for civilians caught in the middle starkly contrast with the surrounding carnage. Bravery and courage abound, but soldiers freely express their fears and leaders their misgivings. Sadly some excerpts come from fighters who were later killed. Even though we know how the battle comes out, we see how evenly balanced the sides were and how easily the outcome could have been different. This is not a book for sensitive people due to its graphic content, but I highly recommend it for any readers interested in the Civil War.
Report Inappropriate Content