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Publisher's Summary

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and veteran author William R. Forstchen combine their talents in this powerful and rousing alternate history of the most legendary Civil War clash.

After two days of brutal combat, Confederate General Robert E. Lee is faced with an agonizing decision. He can either launch a frontal assault directly at the center of Union lines, or he can flank the Federals and attack from the rear. Choosing the second option, Lee sends his troops around the Union army, cutting them off from Washington, D.C. and their supplies. Staring at the face of disaster, the Federals are forced into a desperate fight to survive.

Gettysbury is a fascinating "what if?" novel that faithfully brings to life the major players in America's greatest battle and places them in an entirely plausible scenario. Through Tom Stechschulte's stirring narration, listeners will marvel at what could have been.

©2003 Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen; (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Well-executed alternative history....The novel has a narrative drive and vigor that makes the climactic battle scene a real masterpiece of its kind." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Magnificent "What if" story

What did you love best about Gettysburg?

Extremely vivid storytelling, including very detailed description of battlefields and the men participating in it.

What other book might you compare Gettysburg to and why?

It is tempting to compare it to authors like John Birmingham or Harry Turtledove who have written many alternate stories, mainly linked to ww2. But I must say that Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen are few steps beyond. Everything is somehow more believable and it is truly satisfying listening to the story unfold.

Which scene was your favorite?

When Lee's army outsmarted the Union army at Gettysburg.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Tom Stechschulte moved me by his fine reading.

Any additional comments?

Thanks.

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  • Performance
  • Story

New look at History

What did you love best about Gettysburg?

Newt labels this work as "Active History", at first I was skeptical because I am so keenly aware of the actual history of the Civil War but I loved this book and the entire series. There was something refreshing to be listening to familiar historical characters doing unexpected things... This is not history but it is VERY entertaining..!!

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  • DWR
  • Minnesota, USA
  • 12-15-16

You really need a Map & List of the characters

This account is so detailed that it left me somewhat confused. I am not a Civil War buff so trying to keep track of the characters and just where they were geographically was very difficult for me. I assume that the personalities involved were based on fact and their personalities added greatly to the background of the decisions and action.

I did feel let down at the end as the book did not actually have the end of the battle and the famous Picket charge and subsequent Lincoln speech.

Tom Stechschulte did a great job in the narration particularly the fast pace of the battle scenes.

I gather there is a sequel which I must find.

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  • andy
  • new ellenton, SC, United States
  • 12-05-16

Okay

Is there anything you would change about this book?

No

If you’ve listened to books by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen before, how does this one compare?

have not listened to previous books

What three words best describe Tom Stechschulte’s performance?

steady

Could you see Gettysburg being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

due to the sensitive nature of the subject probably not. No use in reliving the pain that has been hard to put behind us.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent War Novel Aided By Powerful Narration

An excellent alternative history of the turning point in the Civil War. The battle scenes are vivid and the troop movements and tactical decisions upon which they were based are clearly described. The description of General Henry Hunt's artillery defense of Cemetery Hill during July 1, 1863 is based on fact. Hunt's actions are little noted in most histories that I have read. One source describes Hunt as the ``unknown hero of Gettysburg.'' The narrator does an excellent job in giving each character a distinctive voice and he added to my enjoyment of ``Gettysburg: A Novel.'' I look forward to listening to and reading the next two novels in the series.

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  • Howard
  • Concord, MA, United States
  • 08-19-13

Surprisingly good and recommended!

Full disclosure- I am a military history buff and I have read many of the what if's of Gettysburg plus numerous hard cover books on the Civil War (I tend to listen to fiction on audible). With Newt Gingrich as author, and my distaste for him (he irritates me) and his politics (which I find distasteful) I ALMOST did not purchase this and listen.

This would have been a huge mistake. It is well done- and having toured the battlefield (as part of a staff ride for two days) and read at least 2 dozen books on the campaign and at least three or four what-if books- I found this book compelling. It is a little Lee worshipful (over the top) but if one overlooks this - the players in the book behave within expected and historical boundaries (Meade is a plodder and works by consensus- whilst Lee, who was incapacitated to some degree to an intestinal disorder, probably mild dystentery during the actual campaign) act within these bounds. Lee, as he did at Chancellorsville and Second Mannassas takes charge and leads from the front.

Stuart is recalled early (plausibly) whilst Lee executes his ideal of a flanking march within the operational theater. I could follow all of the movements in my head (having walked the battlefield twice over a six day period) an even knew where Big Pipe Creek was (and Longstreets thinking regarding such). However a non expert would have problem following this- and someone not versed in civil war military history (and this campaign) might find it tedious and confusion.

Other than the undeserved hagiography of Lee (a construct of the post civil war) this is a flawless exercise in fictional history.

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Great for Civil War or Alternate History Fans

One may agree with or totally hate Newt Gingrich on political issues but is has to be admitted that he is a well informed historian, especially with regard to the Civil War. This novel dramatizes a commonly asked "why" and "what-if" question about Lee's behavior at Gettysburg
and follows up with what might have happened if he had decided differently.

Best if you know something of the Civil War and Gettysburg in particular but OK even if you do not. Well written, well performed, and entertaining. If you are a fan of either Civil War history or alternative history novels and are a liberal, don't let your dislike of Gingrich interfere with enjoying a good book!

I have now listened to the second book in the trilogy (as good if not better) and am starting the third. I also plan to buy the freestanding book about the Battle of the Crater.

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  • Bob
  • Sevierville, TN, United States
  • 07-24-12

Not as good as "Valley Forge"

Would you try another book from Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen and/or Tom Stechschulte?

I think so based on the Valley Forge novel, but not based on this one.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Not sure

Any additional comments?

It was an endless series of detailed descriptions of battles, one battle described pretty much like the rest.

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ugh, just could not finish it

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.

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Compelling Story, Great Battle Scenes

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.