Sunday, July 4, 2010

Book Review--So You Think You Know Gettysburg

Gindlesperger, James and Suzanne. So You Think You Know Gettysburg: The Stories Behind the Monuments and the Men Who Fought One of America's Most Epic Battles. John F. Blair Publisher, Winston-Salem, N.C. 2010. 188 pages, index, maps, color photos. 

By no means do I think I know Gettysburg and this book proved it. That I have an interest in Gettysburg? Yes. Do I know more about the battle than most? Probably. Can I recommend this book? Yes with small reservations. 

James and Suzanne Gindlesperger are veteran Gettysburg battlefield stompers having been going there for years. Their experience at and knowledge of the park help lead us on a journey both fun and interesting. 

The book is a combination travel guide, history book, and pictorial reference. What you aren't going to find here is a history of the battle. Leave that to others. What you will find here is an interesting guide through the battlefield as told by many of the monuments. The book is broken up into 11 chapters 10 of which contain maps and GPS coordinates. Chapters include McPherson's Ridge and Oak Ridge, In Town, Cemetery Hill, Culp's Hill, West Confederate Ave. North End, West Confederate Ave. South End, High Water Mark, The Wheatfield, Little Round Top and Devil's Den, East Cavalry Battlefield, and a General chapter.  Each chapter hits the high points of the area as shown by monuments. Each monument receives at least one color photo, GPS coordinates, and a brief description. The "General" chapter discusses things such as reenactors, field hospitals, cannons, flank markers, and more. Actually a very valuable chapter and the Gindlespergers make note that if more people would read these type markers they would get more out of their trip.  

The text is well written and edited. The photos, while rather small, help the text considerably. Without them the book would not be the same. Overall a very nice presentation. This is certainly not a book to pick up without some level of  knowledge about the town and battle. I have only been to Gettysburg once for a short visit so my bearings aren't really what they should be for a book like this. If you know nothing of the battle the pictures are nice to look at but the text will be beyond you. Certainly not the book I would use for a first visit. For that pick up J.D. Petruzzi and Steven Stanley's  The Complete Gettysburg Guide. The two books have different audiences however so a comparison is not fair. For the price this is certainly a book that anybody with an interest in the Battle of Gettysburg should consider owning.

So You Think You Know Gettysburg? The Stories behind the Monuments and the Men Who Fought One of America's Most Epic BattlesTHE COMPLETE GETTYSBURG GUIDE: Walking and Driving Tours of the Battlefield, Town, Cemeteries, Field Hospital Sites, and other Topics of Historical Interest

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Robert - I enjoyed their book as well. Thank you for the kind words about The Guide!