Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gottfried: THE MAPS OF GETTYSBURG: An Atlas of the Gettysburg Campaign, June 3 - July 13, 1863, Revised Full Color Edition"

[The Maps of Gettysburg: An Atlas of the Gettysburg Campaign, June 3 - July 13, 1863, Revised Full Color Edition by Bradley M. Gottfried (Savas Beatie, 2010). Hardcover, 144 color maps, appendix, notes, bibliography, index. 384 Pp. ISBN:978-1-932714-82-1 $39.95]

The overarching question that must be answered with the release of Bradley Gottfried's The Maps of Gettysburg: An Atlas of the Gettysburg Campaign, June 3 - July 13, 1863, Revised Full Color Edition is does the new book provide enough additional value to justify purchasing by those who already have an earlier edition? Each individual will have to decide for himself, but there are significant improvements of both corrective and enhancing natures.

As a bit of background for those unfamiliar with the first edition, the bulk of Gottfried's 144 maps cover the tactical aspects of the battle, with the march to Gettysburg (including the fighting at Winchester and Stephenson's Depot) and the retreat after the battle also mapped. Each map is paired with a full page of descriptive text, and then grouped into 29 "Map Sets". It's an organization that works well. The narrative half of each text/map pairing does not seek to advance new theories or interpretations, but rather provides readers with a straightforward description of events constructed from the best available published sources of all types. Orders of battle, detailed notes, a bibliography, and an index round out the volume. All pages are printed on quality thick glossy paper stock.

While I do not generally subscribe to the notion that the introduction of color instantly improves all cartography, it does in this case. This is especially due to Gottfried's detailed work on the terrain (e.g. generalized height contours, vegetation type, roads, trails, fence lines, breastworks, buildings, streams, crop types). The colors really make these natural and man made ground features pop out. With Confederate units in red and Union in blue, opposing battle lines, composed of regiments, batteries, skirmishers, etc., are also more clearly and instantly recognized.

A wide criticism of earlier editions centered around the lack of temporal estimates for the events depicted in the maps. This issue has been fully addressed with the placement of the approximate time in the lower right hand corner of each diagram. The text and map errata pages from the first edition have also been incorporated into the new volume. The only downgrade with the revised edition was the decision to forgo the cloth covered spine and boards of the first edition for a lesser quality paper covering.  All in all, The Maps of Gettysburg revised edition should provide fresh appeal to the dedicated Gettysburg student and battlefield tramper, as well connoisseurs of Civil War cartography in general.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Drew. We appreciate the review.

    If anyone reading this has already purchased the b/w version, use coupon code MAPSCOLOR when ordering the book on our website and receive $10.00 OFF your order for the color edition. (Orders placed through PAYPAL will be issued a shipping refund.)

    Sarah Keeney


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