Ten Favorite Gettysburg Books

2 07 2009

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As described here, I’m participating in a multi-blog project, coordinated by Brett Schulte of TOCWOC, identifying our ten favorite books on The Gettysburg Campaign.  A master page has been set up here.  As other bloggers post their lists, I’ll put up links at the bottom of this one.

Thankfully Brett left the parameters broad and the definition vague, so I don’t have to justify why these are my favorites.  I list them below in no particular order:

John Busey and David Martin, Regimental Strengths and Losses at Gettysburg

  • Numbers numbers numbers!  A joy to have on hand when reading accounts of fields littered with dead cavalrymen (yeah, like two!)

Bill Hyde (ed), The Union Generals Speak: The Meade Hearings on the Battle of Gettysburg

  • Butt covering and kissing, posturings, rationalizations, explanations, accusations.  Joint Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War testimony.

Richard Sauers (ed), “Fighting Them Over”: How the Veterans Remembered Gettysburg in the Pages of the National Tribune

  • Kind of like the JCCW testimony, only this time with vets of all stripes.

Michael Dreese, “Like Ripe Apples in a Storm”: The 151st Pennsylvania Volunteers at Gettysburg

  • Fine regimental history.

John Imhof, Gettysburg Day Two: A Study in Maps

  • Groundbreaking map micro-study, but very tough to find.

Gregory Coco, “A Strange and Blighted Land” Gettysburg: The Aftermath of Battle

  • Heartbreaking account of the battle’s wake.

Roland Maust, “Grappling with Death”: The Union Second Corps Hospital at Gettysburg

  • Similar to the above, but more narrowly focused and detailed.

Carol Reardon, Pickett’s Charge in History & Memory

  • Influential memory study.

Richard Sauers, Gettysburg: The Meade-Sickles Controversy

  • Great evaluation, analysis, and reconcilliation of accounts.

Oliver Wilcox Norton, The Attack and Defense of Little Round Top, Gettysburg, July 2, 1863

  • Early sleuthing of accounts by a vet.

Here are links to the lists on other blogs:

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12 responses

2 07 2009
Terry Johnston

Harry:

I see that none of the lists so far (yours included) contain John J. Pullen’s excellent book on the 20th Maine. I think I’d put this work in my top ten, even though Pullen did not focus on Gettysburg alone. What do you think? Also, how about Richard Moe’s work on the 1st Minnesota? Not sure it would make my list (perhaps as an honorable mention), but I’m surprised it hasn’t yet popped up in any of them to date.

Kudos to Brett for putting this together.

2 07 2009
Rick Allen

Good list, Harry!

2 07 2009
Harry Smeltzer

Thanks Rick (a true Gettysburg devotee).

2 07 2009
Harry Smeltzer

Terry,

I can’t speak for the others, but I didn’t consider those books for the very reason you describe. Both good books (though I find Moe’s seriously flawed in one respect), but they’re not “Gettysburg ” books, per se.

2 07 2009
Terry Johnston

Harry:

The fact that neither is a true Gettysburg book, as you say, is likely working against them in the list compilers’ minds. And I agree with you (but perhaps not for the same reason?) that Moe’s work has its drawbacks. But I have a real fondness for Pullen’s study, though it’s certainly dated now. It was one that helped fuel my CW interest way back when.

By the way, has this whole experiment given you any ideas for a Bull Run list?

2 07 2009
Brett Schulte

Harry,

Sorry that work prevented me from commenting sooner! We had only 1 book in common. Hint, as a wargamer, I’m fond of numbers! :-) But that’s exactly why I got all of you to join me in this little experiment. Between only the two of us we will have named 19 different books rather than my original 10. Add 8 other bloggers, and, well readers get the picture. I’ve linked to your list at the permanent page and Tweeted the list as well. Thanks for agreeing to do this.

I too would look forward to your First Bull Run list!

2 07 2009
Will Hickox

Mr. Johnston: Perhaps “Stand Firm Ye Boys From Maine” (20th Maine) and “Pale Horse at Plum Run” (1st Minn.) are the answer to your prayers. They are both fine, myth-demolishing microhistories of these regiments in the Gettysburg campaign.

2 07 2009
Terry Johnston

Mr. Hickox:

I’m familiar with Tom’s work (which is fine, though it would have benefited from a better editor, I think) but not the one you mention on the 1st MN. Appreciate the tip; will investigate.

3 07 2009
Top 10 Gettysburg Books | TOCWOC - A Civil War Blog

[...] Harry Smeltzer of Bull Runnings: Live as of July 2, 2009! [...]

3 07 2009
Chris Evans

I have only three of the Gettysburg books that are on your list in my collection. I totally agree about Coco’s book. It is really one of my favorite books on the battle and it contains a wealth of information on how horrible the aftermath of the battle was. This was a subject that should have been looked at in detail before but never was. Coco’s book is truly five stars!
Thanks,
Chris

7 07 2009
Gettysburg Books « Bull Runnings

[...] the selections laid out – something I believe Brett is working on.  It looks like five of my selections (Busey & Martin, Reardon, Maust, Coco and Norton) made at least one of the other lists, which I [...]

22 05 2014
Joe wurzer

-Must replace 151 PA with
Bill Hewitt’s “The Campaign of Gettysburg Command Decisions”
Essential to understand the Campaign and battle.
-I like the Trudeau Gettysburg!

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