The University of Nebraska Press battlefield guide series, This Hallowed Ground, is familiar to most seasoned battlefield stompers. Their covers are recognizable from a distance – a blue background with a red sun in the lower right hand corner. The most recent entry in the series is Ethan Rafuse’s Manassas: A Battlefield Guide. Both the 1861 and 1862 battles are included here, and of course you’d expect me to be a little disappointed that the first battle was deemed unworthy of a Fuller Monty. And you’d be right. However, it is what it is, and what it is is a compact, tight guide to both battles in classic staff ride format. First Bull Run gets 51 pages, while Second Manassas (see what I did there?) gets 166. Maps are by Erin Greb (plentiful and clear), illustrations are mostly from Battles and Leaders. Stops are set up with directions and orientation, synopsis of action, vignette (first person account), and analysis.
This is a tough little book, with heavy-stock cover, and it will hold up well in your backpack. And that’s exactly where this one belongs, out in the field with you. Good stuff.