Sunday, September 9, 2012

Book Review--Gettysburg Campaign Study Guide

Redd, Rea Andrew. Gettysburg Campaign Study Guide, Volume One: 700+ Questions and Answers For Students of Battle (Volume 1) . Createspace. 204 pages, bibliography. ISBN 9781470153687.

By way of full disclosure despite the author and myself having the same last name to the best of my knowledge we are not related and we have not yet had the pleasure of meeting.

Rea Andrew Redd is both a blogger of note (please be sure to see his Civil War Librarian blog) and an academician working as an instructor of history and also serves as Director of the Eberly Library at Waynesburg University. He has sat for the Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Exam on three occasions.

For anybody interested in Gettysburg history one of the ultimate goals might be to take and pass the Licensed Battlefield Guide Exam. This is a strenuous written exam that requires years of reading and studying to be qualified for. Even then the odds of scoring high enough to be invited to "charm school" and then take the oral exam are slim at best. Those who ultimately pass all parts and are licensed are truly the elite.

It's not just enough to read about and study the battle. The battle itself is only a portion of the exam. You need to know park history, be able to recognize photographs of generals and monuments, and understand geography. If you think you know all this then you need to know how to take the actual test. That's where a guide like this can help push a test taker over the top.

Mr. Redd has broken his book into sixteen chapters each covering a major aspect of the battle, the park, or style of test question. Areas covered include campaign dates, both armies, cemeteries, coverage of events on each battle day, park history, and more. A section of photos is included helping the reader be able to picture the main leaders on both sides of combat. The book is rounded out with a sample exam and also an in depth bibliography that lists dozens of resources for those wanting to further their knowledge. Questions are on the left hand page and answers conveniently on the right hand so there is no having to flip to the back of the book to see if you are correct or not.

This is not a book for the novice historian of the battle nor is it really useful for somebody with just a small level of knowledge. For those well read on the battle or really wanting to further their understanding of the events that took place in Gettysburg this is a book I can recommend without reservation. I have read a couple of reviews knocking this book for a very small number of factual errors. While troubling I am sure these will be corrected if that proves to be the case. Overall, well worth the money and I am looking forward to Volume 2!

For those looking for more information on becoming a Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide please click here.

Please see my reviews of similar titles:

Test Your Knowledge on the Battle of Gettysburg

So You Think You Know Gettysburg

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