Preview: Mackowski, White, & Davis – “Fight Like the Devil”

21 05 2015

51aBL53hU8L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_New in Savas Beatie’s Emerging Civil War Series is Fight Like the Devil: The First Day at Gettysburg, July 1, 1863, by Chris Mackowski, Kristopher D. White, and Daniel T. Davis. Gettysburg nuts fall into one of three categories, typically: Day 1 guys; Day 2 guys; and Day 3 guys. If I fall into one of those categories (though I don’t consider myself a Gettysburg nut, or a more seriously afflicted Frassanidiot), it would have to be Day 1. And to prove it, I joined along with a couple hundred other folks a few weeks ago for an all day walking tour of the Day 1 battlefield. It would have been nice to have this little book along for the ride. It weighs in at 116 pages of text through the epilogue, with another eight (8!) appendices by such luminaries as Matt Atkinson, Dan Welch, and Eric Wittenberg. Nine maps and dozens of modern photos are sprinkled in. And this one’s not without some controversy. I have long wondered at the basis for John Reynolds’s now sterling reputation, given his performance up to July 1, 1863, and it appears Kris White thinks along the same lines for the same reasons in his appendix on the general. And John Cummings weighs in on the location of the famous Gardner “Harvest of Death” photos (I do believe that one has to be either all right or all wrong in these cases.) Other appendices look at Dick Ewell’s decision, J. E. B. Stuart’s ride, shoes, and Pipe Creek. Check it out.


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3 responses

21 05 2015
Theodore P. Savas

Thanks for mentioning this title, Harry. We are getting a lot of feedback for it, and interest, nearly all very positive. But somehow they left out the 9th Corps, which was fighting well off to the Union right. :)

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21 05 2015
Diane Smith

I’m puzzled why this series contains no endnotes or footnotes, nor bibliographies.

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21 05 2015
Theodore P. Savas

Hi Diane

Thanks for asking. I will copy an earlier answer, and add a bit to it.

The purpose of the ECW series is completely different than full-blown battle studies, and intended (in many ways) for a completely different audience (although not in all cases; see below).

They are also written by credible historians, park rangers, college profs, etc. who know how to research and write and we find trustworthy.

There are suggested readings at the back (call it a poor man’s bibliography), and the books top out at 168 or 192–which is the printing page breaks. At $12.95 they are dirt cheap with tiny profit margins. Notes and a full bib would another page signature and increase the cost (not just in printing but prep time, copy editing, shipping weight, etc.) It is all more complex than it seems.

The Civil War reading community is aging–rapidly. And it is mostly male. Yet, hundreds of thousands of families visit the fields every year. The vast majority of these people will not purchase a 500-page book on Petersburg or any other battle–let alone read it, or pay for a book that costs north of $15.00. Studies shot that.

But they will purchase a 168-page (and in some cases, 192-page), Emerging Civil War “lighter” book on a specific subject and wade ankle-deep into the subject for #12.95. The photos and maps help a lot to invite them in.

As we have discovered, over and over now, many of these customers have contacted us, asked for other reading suggestions, have learned about the existence of Civil War Round Tables, and have joined them!

And, many experienced readers and students of the war purchase these ECW titles and love them–as intros to battles they have not yet read about, and as a refresher before or during a battlefield visit. Many purchase them for their kids, their grand kids, and other relatives and friends.

This, then, is good for all of us. It is creating readers of the war from the early teens to late in life. And it keeps independent Civil War publishing alive. Trust me, there is a reason the majority of independent history publishers in our genre are no longer in business or barely alive.

Again, we appreciate your business, and look forward to meeting your reading needs with a wide variety of titles.

–Ted Savas

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