Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Petruzzi & Stanley: "THE COMPLETE GETTYSBURG GUIDE"

[ The Complete Gettysburg Guide: Walking and Driving Tours of the Battlefield, Town, Cemeteries, Field Hospital Sites, and other Topics of Historical Interest by J. David Petruzzi and Steven Stanley (Savas Beatie, 2009). Hardcover, maps, biblography, index. 320 Pages. ISBN:9781932714630 $39.95 ]

Titular grand pronouncement aside, J.D. Petruzzi and Steven Stanley's The Complete Gettysburg Guide is one of those rare books that meets or exceeds expectations in almost every regard.

Field trampers interested in walking the ground where the fighting occurred during the Gettysburg Campaign, from the smallest skirmish to the largest pitched battle, are in for a treat. In addition to the tours of the three days of fighting on the 'primary' battlefield immediately surrounding the town of Gettysburg, separate chapters are devoted to Brinkerhoff's Ridge, East Cavalry Field, Marsh Creek, Hunterstown, and Fairfield. The final third of the volume is devoted to town of Gettysburg, cemetery, hospital, and rock art guides.

The tours, penned by Petruzzi, are accompanied by the full range of photographs (modern and archival) and maps. The touring directions, helpfully secluded in green shaded boxes for quick access, are succinct and do include GPS coordinates. The narrative is equally pleasing for both field work and armchair reading. In terms of presentation, this full color volume is easily the most stylistically impressive Civil War volume from publisher Savas Beatie. The cartography of Steven Stanley is exceptional, never cheating on detail, from the regimental scale movements and picket line locations to the elevation contours and extensive inventory of natural and man-made terrain features. Not only does the owner of this book have a series of excellent touring guides, but also a top notch battlefield atlas (perhaps the best collection of Gettysburg maps anywhere in a single volume).

The material quality also matches the presentation. The book's sturdy construction and thick glossy paper should stand up to repeated use. Most guides are not annotated, and this one is no exception, but there is a full bibliography and index. Undoubtedly, obsessives can quibble here and there about what's 'missing', but this volume is likely to be the Gettysburg traveler's standard guidebook for the foreseeable future. The Complete Gettysburg Guide is easily the best, and most well rounded, book of its kind, and is a highly recommended addition to the bookshelf of any Gettysburg enthusiast (and we know there are a few of those).

8 comments:

  1. Hello Drew

    Thanks for taking the time and trouble to review this title. We are pleased you liked it so much, and if reviews on Amazon and elsewhere are any indication, others do as well.

    Thanks again.

    Theodore P. Savas
    Savas Beatie

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  2. Thanks Drew! Your kind words mean so much to Steve and I. I can't express how much I appreciate the review.

    Steve's maps are indeed amazing, and as I also say in the Intro, it's a beautiful collection of them. I often feel as though I was allowed to frame the Mona Lisa - writing the text around his maps - and I was privileged to do so.

    Thanks again.

    J.D.

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  3. Okay, so when is someone going to do something this impressive for Sharpsburg?

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  4. Art,
    I believe the same two guys are already working on an Antietam tour guide book.

    See:
    http://jdpetruzzi.blogspot.com/2009/09/gettysburgantietamharpers.html

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  5. Hi Art,

    How are you?

    Petruzzi and Stanley are working on the Maryland Campaign Guidebook now, the Savas Beatie Military Atlas Series by Gottfried will also include a volume on that campaign (which is about 40% finished. In the West, I believe the next campaign about to get underway is Chattanooga and all related operations, including Knoxville. ("The Maps of Chickamauga" by Powell and Freidrichs is done, and advance copies are on my desk.) Then, hopefully, on to Atlanta and the March to the Sea (at least two volumes).

    Have you seen the Gettysburg Guide book in person?

    --tps

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  6. Hello Art,

    Yes sir, Steve and I are working on the MD Campaign guide now. We were just at Antietam over the weekend in fact, doing a little legwork (literally - walking about every inch of the Roulette farm!) Steve is working on maps, and I'm just about ready to dive into the text.

    J.D. Petruzzi

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  7. Great review Drew! I really enjoyed this book also and owning a large Gettysburg book collection it is neat to have one volume that ties things together so well.
    Thanks,
    Chris

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  8. Thanks everyone. I really look forward to the Maryland Campaign book since Sharpsburg is my favorite battlefield in the area.

    Ted, I have not seen the Gettysburg book yet but will be ordering it. Sometimes friends and relatives like to go there when they are in town.

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