Thursday, December 7, 2017

Booknotes: new paperback reprints of Coco classics

New Arrivals:
A Vast Sea of Misery: A History and Guide to the Union and Confederate Field Hospitals at Gettysburg, July 1-November 20, 1863 by Gregory A. Coco (Savas Beatie, 2017).

When the opposing armies departed Gettysburg, they left behind 21,000 wounded men. The "maimed and suffering warriors could be found in churches, public buildings, private homes, farmhouses, barns, and outbuildings. Thousands more, unreachable or unable to be moved remained in the open, subject to the uncertain whims of the July elements." First published in 1988 and just now reprinted by Savas Beatie in paperback format with a new preface, Gregory Coco's A Vast Sea of Misery is still considered an essential part of the Gettysburg library. A detailed register of the 160 field hospitals that cared for the sick and wounded, the volume contains numerous photographs and hand-drawn maps that support the site descriptions, which also include selections of anecdotes and excerpts from soldier and civilian firsthand accounts.

In the appendix section, readers will discover a list of Union and Confederate surgeons, brief discussions of how the wounded would find field hospitals or be transported to them, and a collection of interesting and/or unusual medical observations.


A Strange and Blighted Land: Gettysburg - The Aftermath of a Battle by Gregory A. Coco (Savas Beatie, 2017).

Also highly regarded is Coco's A Strange and Blighted Land, which followed Misery in 1996 (both first editions were released by Thomas Publications). The Savas Beatie paperback edition to this title also includes a new preface.

From the description: "Arranged in a series of topical chapters, A Strange and Blighted Land begins with a tour of the battlefield, mostly through eyewitness accounts, of the death and destruction littering the sprawling landscape. Once the size and scope is exposed to readers, Coco moves on to discuss the dead of Gettysburg, North and South, how their remains were handled, and how and why the Gettysburg National Cemetery was established. The treatment of the wounded, Union and Confederate, was organized chaos. Every house and barn became of hospital or medical station, and the medical and surgical practices of the day were little short of compassionate torture. The author also discusses at length how prisoners were handled and the fate of the thousands of stragglers and deserters left behind once the armies left before concluding with the preservation efforts that culminated in the establishment of the Gettysburg National Military Park in 1895."

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for noting the republication of these, Drew. We are happy we could make them available once again.


***PLEASE READ BEFORE COMMENTING***: You must SIGN YOUR NAME when submitting your comment. In order to maintain civil discourse and ease moderating duties, anonymous comments will be deleted. Comments containing outside promotions and/or product links will also be removed. Thank you for your cooperation.