Friday, October 9, 2020

Booknotes: Soldiers National Cemetery at Gettysburg

New Arrival:
Soldiers National Cemetery at Gettysburg by Jarrad Fuoss (Arcadia Pub, 2020).

Jarrad Fuoss's Soldiers National Cemetery at Gettysburg is the newest Civil War-related volume from Arcadia's long-running and extremely prolific Images of America series. From the description: "Although the" (Gettysburg) "fighting concluded by July 4, 1863, the struggle to recover continues to the present day. On November 19, 1863, the dedication of a new Soldiers National Cemetery marked a critical point in American history. From its conception, the Soldiers National Cemetery in Gettysburg embodied a fitting tribute to those who gave their last full measure of devotion to a grateful nation. Since that fateful summer of 1863, the cemetery has expanded into a place of memorialization for Americans spanning generations. Today, the Soldiers National Cemetery remains a space of reverence and offers a beacon of hope for students who traverse these hallowed grounds learning from the past."

In keeping with the series format, there are 1-2 historical photographs (mostly drawn from Library of Congress and GNMP archives) per page, each image accompanied by a paragraph-length caption offering descriptive information and contextual commentary. The photos are reproduced on thick, glossy paper so the historical images are presented to good effect.

The book is sub-divided into four main sections. The first part covers the history of Cemetery Hill before 1865 and includes a variety of images depicting landscapes, individuals, buildings, public gatherings, maps, and battlefield casualties. This is followed by coverage of the commemorative era when monuments sprouted up all over the grounds and GAR encampments and reunions were hosted. The Depression-era and 1960s/1970s cemetery expansions are addressed next. Finally, the overall legacy of the place is discussed in text and image in the concluding section, which also highlights famous modern visitors and major anniversary events.

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