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Gettysburg af Allen C. Guelzo
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Gettysburg (2013)

af Allen C. Guelzo

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
4551442,667 (4.19)8
From the acclaimed Civil War historian, a new history--the most intimate and richly readable account we have had--of the climactic three-day battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863), which draws the reader into the heat, smoke, and grime of Gettysburg alongside the ordinary soldier, and depicts the combination of personalities and circumstances that produced one of the greatest battles in human history. No previous book on Gettysburg dives down so closely to the experience of the individual soldier, or looks so closely at the sway of politics over military decisions, or places the battle so firmly in the context of nineteenth-century military practice.--From publisher description.… (mere)
Medlem:Angel.R
Titel:Gettysburg
Forfattere:Allen C. Guelzo
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Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
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Gettysburg: The Last Invasion af Allen C. Guelzo (2013)

  1. 00
    The Gettysburg Campaign : A Study in Command af Edwin B. Coddington (wildbill)
    wildbill: The Gettysburg Campaign is an excellent book about the battle. I felt the author provided new insights and analysis that greatly added to my understanding of that important event.
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Viser 1-5 af 14 (næste | vis alle)
5733. Gettysburg The Last Invasion, by Allen C. Guelzo (read 5 Feb 2021) This book, published in 2013, tells all you will ever want to know about the battle. In fact it is maybe excessively detailed. It is not till page 154 that the battle starts. The text of the book is 482 pages, then there are 119 pages of source notes and a 49 page index but, sadly, no bibliography as such. He has little good to say about either Robert E. Lee or George Meade. It is hard for me to understand why Lee ordered Pickett's charge--a measured march directly at the Federal line. And while the battle was a great victory for the Union the failure to seek to destroy the defeated rebel army is clearly inexcusable. The war might have ended many months sooner if Lee's army had not been allowed to return to Virginia practically unmolested. There are great stretches of good reading in the book and it tells all you want to know about the battle of Gettysburg, one of the greatest and most decisive battles of history. If the battle had been lost the subsequent history of the world would have been so different. ( )
  Schmerguls | Feb 5, 2021 |
Summary: An account of the three day battle at Gettysburg, the personalities, key turning points, battlefield topography, and movement by movement narratives that both zoom out and come up close in describing the unfolding of the battle.

There are scores of accounts of the confrontation between Union and Confederate forces for a three day battle at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 1-3, 1863. Allen C. Guelzo's account, written on the 150th anniversary of the battle has to rank among the best. Guelzo directs the Civil War Era Studies program at Gettysburg College, which means he resides on the site of the battle. I know of no book that reflects such an intimate acquaintance with the topography of Gettysburg, whether it be the two hills that make up Culp's Hill, Sherfy's Peach Orchard, or Little Round Top, or even the locations of fences, that made advances more difficult. At Gettysburg, topography was a critical factor on all three days, and Guelzo helps us see how strategic choices, topography, and leadership in battle all contributed to the outcome.

The book is organized into four parts, one for the decisions and movements leading up to the battle, and one for each day. It's clear that neither Lee nor Meade had "planned" to fight at Gettysburg. Meade had only taken command three days earlier and wanted to gather his army behind Pipe Creek, positioning him between Lee and Washington, a strong position to receive an attack. Lee wanted to scare the North into negotiating, as well as secure much needed supplies for his army. If he could defeat a spread out army in detail, he would take that chance, but without scouting from Stuart's cavalry, absent on a ride around the Union forces, he was guessing.

When lead elements of his forces engaged Union troops under Reynolds and Howard, he thought he had his chance. The Union leaders barely were right that they could get the rest of the army there ahead of the Confederates. On such calculations the battle swayed back and forth all three days. Guelzo traces these through the battle's three days: Howard's decision to leave troops on Cemetery Hill and Ewell's decision not to attack this thinly held position the first night, Longstreet's delayed movements on the second day and Dan Sickle's near fatal advance of his troops to the Peach Orchard, the last minute decisions of Warren and Joshua Chamberlain's stand that held Little Round Top and the near rolling up of the Union position by Barksdale's Mississippians, and the fierce resistance of Alexander Hays troops redeeming their ignominious defeat at Harpers Ferry.

Particularly as I read the second day's account, I found myself on the edge of my seat wondering how the Union managed to hold on. It seemed to me that if Longstreet had attacked a little sooner, and had a bit more support, that the Army of the Potomac could have been shattered. In all this, Meade comes off rather poorly, letting Sickles take a weak position that opened a gap in the rest of his lines, promoting fellow McClellanite John Newton over Abner Doubleday for command of the 1st Division, and preparing for retreat while Winfield Scott Hancock moved troops into gaps, holding Cemetery Ridge and Hill. After they had held the position, according to Guelzo, Meade wanted to retreat and was overruled by his generals.

Then there is the third day and the perennial question of "why Pickett's charge?" Guelzo reminds us of the military precedents for the success of such charges that may have been in Lee's mind. Again we grasp what a near run thing this was as Armistead reaches the high water mark of momentarily seeing no one in front of him, only to fall. Had the artillery barrage been more effective, had Pickett more support, much more support, I would venture, the outcome might have been different.

Beyond understanding the outcome of the battle, Guelzo takes us inside the battle. We hear what soldiers are talking about as they wait to give or receive attacks, we witness the incongruity of fierce fighting and human compassion between opposing soldiers, and the gore of war, as brains spatter, limbs are torn off, and men are eviscerated. We read of the primitive surgeries, piles of limbs stacked up, and no infection measures.

Guelzo also helps us understand the politics in the Army of the Potomac that undermined Lincoln's efforts to defeat Lee. As already noted Meade was a sympathizer with McClellan who wanted a negotiated settlement that likely would have preserved the Confederacy, and he promoted accordingly. Meade was satisfied to drive Lee back across the Potomac when he had an opportunity to defeat him, prolonging the war and the loss of lives (unlike abolitionist John Reynolds, who was spoiling for a fight, and whose aggressive actions precipitated the battle where he would lose his life).

This is a great book to read in conjunction with a battlefield visit. There is something for both Civil War aficionados and those reading their first account of the battle. Most of all, he helps us understand why this battle was "the last invasion" and just what a near run thing it was. ( )
  BobonBooks | Apr 28, 2018 |
Highly readable yet detailed history of the events leading up to the battle and its aftermath. Guelzo assumes the reader is not conversant with 19th century warfare, and he describes what it's like. How bodies disappear from the line, like magic, raining down body parts. The effects of so much firepower on the wildlife. Flocks of birds dropped out of the sky. There was so much smoke that "aiming" was merely pointing in the general direction of the enemy. In some battles they looked for feet underneath the smoke cloud and shot at them, mere yards away. It took on average over 300 musket shots to kill a person, most shots wildly missed.

I learned that Little Round Top (and the Maine regiment's famous charge there) was not so important as is often portrayed. It was more of a remote outpost and not the key to breaking the line. That Confederate commanders made a number of serious mistakes of failed initiative and coordination, while Union forces fought tenaciously. Among the Confederates there was no fundamental "cause" to invade the north, it was purely Lee's grand political strategy to force peace negotiations, but it lacked significance with the troops who ultimately didn't have the same righteous spirit Unionists had defending home ground. ( )
  Stbalbach | Jan 18, 2017 |
Caveat: : This is very much a Northern perspective on the battle. The detailed analyses and accounts are heavily weighted toward the Union forces. The author is skillful with analysis, background, personalities, the big picture. Not so much with battle accounts, which can be spotty and confusing, with much emphasis on dramatic gestures and less on specific tactics. I feel this book is somewhat overrated, but it is a lively read and does cover the events in an imaginative way. You can skip the clumsy commentary on the Gettysburg address in the Epilogue. ( )
  anthonywillard | Dec 3, 2016 |
Very detailed, but readable look at the Battle of Gettysburg ( )
  coachtim30 | Oct 6, 2016 |
Viser 1-5 af 14 (næste | vis alle)
At times, reading this book felt like taking an interesting class with a professor I didn’t particularly care for—the author is prickly and seems to idealize war—but I learned a lot.
tilføjet af WeeklyAlibi | RedigerWeekly Alibi, Mike Smith (Jul 4, 2013)
 
While admitting the serious limitations of soldiers’ postwar reminiscences, Guelzo, with exhaustive research, nevertheless relies on the mass of retellings embedded in regimental histories, memoirs and letters collected from survivors. This helps him make sense of combat, especially its horrific sounds and the smells of its aftermath. To the familiar question, how could those men stand and fight — in the “elbow-to-elbow line” — under such fear and gunfire, he provides a simple answer. Regiments were held together by trust as much as by leadership: “The Civil War soldier needed to know one thing above all others — that the men on either side of him would not run.”

This book’s considerable achievements, though, are marred by Guelzo’s literary style, as well as by his apparently irresistible romantic urge to add one more panegyric to the epic of Gettysburg. His claim that military historians have to struggle for respect among the “Civil War’s cultured despisers,” that a book like his violates “fashion” because it is not about the “agency” of black emancipation, seems unnecessary at best. (He and I have differed on this point before.) And the gems of detail from Guelzo’s keen researcher’s eye (he tells, for example, of a Roman Catholic priest standing on a rock offering absolution to the silent soldiers as they file into battle, bands playing to raise morale during combat, a Confederate general desperately breaking his sword on the ground as he surrenders) often pale next to the array of recorded descriptions of how soldiers were shot, where bullets penetrated their bodies or those of their horses — “through the left lung,” “entered the left side of the stomach, perforating his sword belt and lodging in the spine” and the like. Such passages seem awkwardly clinical when overused, even if garnered from a soldier’s remembrance.
tilføjet af rsubber | RedigerNew York Times Book Review, David W. Blight (pay site) (Jun 30, 2013)
 

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From the acclaimed Civil War historian, a new history--the most intimate and richly readable account we have had--of the climactic three-day battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863), which draws the reader into the heat, smoke, and grime of Gettysburg alongside the ordinary soldier, and depicts the combination of personalities and circumstances that produced one of the greatest battles in human history. No previous book on Gettysburg dives down so closely to the experience of the individual soldier, or looks so closely at the sway of politics over military decisions, or places the battle so firmly in the context of nineteenth-century military practice.--From publisher description.

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