Saturday, August 14, 2021

Booknotes: The Summer of ’63 Gettysburg

New Arrival:
The Summer of ’63: Gettysburg - Favorite Stories and Fresh Perspectives from the Historians at Emerging Civil War by Chris Mackowski & Dan Welch (Savas Beatie, 2021).

Gettysburg will always be the foremost Civil War battle in the public imagination, and that level of interest and attention is certainly matched by that of many historians and writers working today. "The public historians writing for the popular Emerging Civil War blog, speaking on its podcast, or delivering talks at the annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge in Virginia always present their work in ways that engage and animate audiences. Their efforts entertain, challenge, and sometimes provoke readers with fresh perspectives and insights born from years of working at battlefields, guiding tours, presenting talks, and writing for the wider Civil War community."

Collected and edited by ECW head Chris Mackowski and Dan Welch, The Summer of ’63: Gettysburg - Favorite Stories and Fresh Perspectives from the Historians at Emerging Civil War "is a compilation of some of their favorites, anthologized, revised, and updated, together with several original pieces. Each entry includes original and helpful illustrations (among them nine maps)."

In addition to the foreword and an essay on photographing Gettysburg, there are (by my count) 26 essays/chapters in a book running nearly 300 pages. Generals and leaders are always among the most popular topics and that interest is present here along with discussions of enduring questions (ex. who were the first federal infantry to arrive on the field?), famous places and events (ex. the Railroad Cut, Oak Ridge, Pickett's Charge, etc.), Gettysburg memorialization, reunion, the plight of the wounded, logistical concerns, the retreat, politics, and more.

Of course, other major military events occurred during the summer of 1863, and this volume is meant to be read in conjunction with its companion book, The Summer of ’63: Vicksburg and Tullahoma. According to the distributor, that one is also currently available.

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