Monday, June 17, 2019

Booknotes: "Too Much for Human Endurance"

New Arrival:
"Too Much for Human Endurance": The George Spangler Farm Hospitals and the Battle of Gettysburg by Ronald D. Kirkwood (Savas Beatie, 2019).

Basing itself upon "a massive array of firsthand accounts," Ronald Kirkwood's "Too Much for Human Endurance": The George Spangler Farm Hospitals and the Battle of Gettysburg "re-creates the sprawling XI Corps hospital complex and the people who labored and suffered there—especially George and Elizabeth Spangler and their four children, who built a thriving 166-acre farm only to witness it nearly destroyed when war paid them a bloody visit that summer of 1863." Seeking to relay a broad perspective, the personal stories of "nurses, surgeons, ambulance workers, musicians, teenage fighters, and others" are presented.

More than one hospital was established on the farm. "In addition to including the most complete lists ever published of the dead, wounded, and surgeons at the Spanglers’ XI Corps hospital, this study breaks new ground with stories of the First Division, II Corps hospital at the Spanglers’ Granite Schoolhouse."

The Spangler Farm's place in the battle itself is also discussed by Kirkwood. His book "establishes the often-overlooked strategic importance of the property and its key role in the Union victory. Army of the Potomac generals took advantage of the farm’s size, access to roads, and central location to use it as a staging area to get artillery and infantry to the embattled front line from Little Round Top north to Cemetery Hill just in time to prevent its collapse and a Confederate breakthrough."

Accompanying the main narrative is a tour of the modern Spangler Farm. The six-part appendix section includes a collection of surgeon biographies, orders of battle for the Eleventh Corps and army artillery reserve, a discussion of the contested whereabouts of the 2nd Conn. Lt. Battery, a Spangler Farm patient roster, and an interment list.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Drew.

    Two summers ago my wife and I got a personal tour of the Spangler Farm at Gettysburg and it was marvelous. Little did I know we were about to receive this manuscript.

    I love all our books, but I am especially excited about this one. It is really special because it is so unique.

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