Friday, March 8, 2013

A Field Guide to Gettysburg

Regular readers know that I have a fondness for touring guides and atlases, and I recently had the opportunity to glance through an advanced copy of Reardon & Vossler's A Field Guide to Gettysburg: Experiencing the Battlefield through Its History, Places, and People (UNC, July 2013). It's a bit unusual in that it's very text heavy over more than 400 smallish print pages. There are lots of orientation confirming photos and battle maps, but initial impressions are that the depth of documented history sets it apart from other guidebooks. Each of 35 stops tells readers what happened there, what units and casualties were involved, who was in command, and what was the extent of the civilian presence. The historiography associated with each stop is perhaps the most original section devised. It's a lot to take in, and, even though  the book is designed to be readily broken down into multi-day chunks, those looking for a single afternoon length tour might best stick with something like the volume from the Nebraska series. With all the recent vista altering work being done at the park, all the guides will have to be revised at some point, but this one is presumably up to date.

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