Preview: Reardon & Vossler, “Field Guide to Gettysburg”, 2nd Edition

10 04 2017

1525028608Hot off the presses is a second edition of A Field Guide to Gettysburg: Experiencing the Battlefield through Its History, Places, and People, the wildly successful, ground-breaking, and critically acclaimed work of Dr. Carol Reardon and Col. (Ret.) Thomas Vossler. Dr. Reardon sent this descriptive note:

We added two new stops. The first offers a brief walking tour of the Harmon farm on the first day’s battlefield. This is the property that used to be the old Gettysburg Country Club. When we began writing the first edition, this property had just come into possession of Gettysburg National Military Park, and there were no basic amenities, such as public parking. Once they opened a small gravel lot, we knew we wanted to share the story of the Iron Brigade’s first fight at Gettysburg and the capture of General Archer. Similarly, at Powers Hill, the clearing of the viewshed was underway, but it had not been completed and no public parking existed. The opening of a small lot on Granite Schoolhouse Road made it possible to create a stop for that site. The view from the summit is super! Indeed, I think we will learn more and more about this under-emphasized part of the battlefield as the park interpretive staff integrates the action on newly acquired properties on both sides of the Baltimore Pike into the broader Gettysburg narrative. We also improved many of the maps so they mesh more clearly with the text.

Thanks to the editors at the University of North Carolina Press, we were able to do something special in the e-book version of the second edition. Since technology made it possible to add new text easily, they gave us back 10,000 words we could not find room for in the book editions. These elements had been part of our original vision, but we had had to cut them from the first edition due to space limitations. Some of those cuts were very painful to make, but now we were able to restore them. So, now, in addition to the two new stops and improved maps, readers of the e-book will get a lot more stories about the soldiers who fell in battle. In addition to some additional leader vignettes, we’ve added some of the most useful and relevant leadership lessons–some good, some bad–that we use in field programs and on staff rides for military audiences. We’ve added a few mini-stops to cover McGilvery’s artillery in support of Sickles’ III Corps on July 2 and the stand of the 9th Massachusetts battery. We also added an element to the stop on Seminary Ridge at the end of July 1 to encourage visitation to Mrs. Thompson’s house (aka Lee’s headquarters). There’s a LOT of new material in the e-book version of the field guide’s second edition.

Get the hard copy version here.

Get the ebook here.

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7 responses

11 04 2017
Sean Dail

Nice, but somehow I just can’t see myself buying an e-book edition of a battlefield guide. Lugging an electronic device around and having to worry about dropping it, protecting it from rain and other water, etc, just doesn’t add value to a battlefield stomp. Am I the only one?

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11 04 2017
Harry Smeltzer

Sean, I don’t know if you noticed, but quite a few folks had the handouts for our tour last year on their devices, mostly their phones. But to each his own, and I lean toward paper myself.

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11 04 2017
Sean Dail

Hi Harry,

I did notice that. My eyesight isn’t good enough to get much from a map on my phone, but it is the largest device I’m willing to carry on a hike. It fits in my pocket. :)

I own two tablets and four different e-readers, so I’m not simply being a Luddite. I guess I just find an abundance of electronics a nuisance and rather antithetical to the experience of taking in a 19th century battlefield…

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11 04 2017
Harry Smeltzer

Understood. I see both sides. Aaron Killian developed an ebook guide to BR1 available for the iPad. It’s pretty amazing, with videos, music, and interactive stuff too complicated for me to explain. I wound up on the cutting room floor 😭 Also, the Civil War Trust battle app has some cool features, but they didn’t consult me.

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22 04 2017
Sean Dail

Well, therein lies another problem. If it is designed only for iPad, it leaves out the dedicated Android folks like me.

I realize that some millenials need videos and such, and if it gets them interested in touring and preserving the battlefields I’m all in favor of it. But I don’t understand publishing a conventional guidebook only in an e-book format.

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22 04 2017
Harry Smeltzer

The Reardon/Vossler book is in paper and ebook. Just to be clear.

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26 04 2017
sean dail

My apologies, Harry. In response to your clarifying comment below, I was under the impression that the second revised edition was available only in e-book form. If it is indeed available in paperback as well, then my comment on that point is offbase…

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