Saturday, July 19, 2014

Review: So You Think You Know Gettysburg? Volume 2

by James and Suzanne Gindlesperger

Gettysburg.  What more is there to say?  It is easily one of the most studied battles in all of world history.  So many books have been written about it and its participants that you could fill a good sized room in a library with nothing else but books on the subject.  And just when you think not another word could be written on the battle, out comes a new book, with a new perspective, adding yet another book to the already overcrowded shelves.

“So You Think You Know Gettysburg? Volume 2” takes a less traveled path than most books on the battle.  It’s not about the battle, but about the battle field, or rather, the monuments that cover the field.  Written by James and Suzanne Gindlesperger, it is their second volume covering the Gettysburg monuments, adding 220 additional park attractions to their first volume.

Their book divides up the massive Gettysburg Battlefield into 11 areas (A-K), each with its own map (and of course an additional map showing where each area on the battlefield is located is included at the front of the book).  Each chapter begins with its representative area map upon which the chapter’s featured monument are located, numbered as you would encounter them as you drive through the battlefield.  Each monument is numbered according to which area it is in, and its order on the tour route, therefore the first monument featured in the book, honoring the 121st Pennsylvania Infantry is numbered A-1.  The numbering is not continuous through the books but restarts with each chapter/area.

Each monument narrative begins with its area map location number such as A-5, and is followed by the name of the monument, Eighth Illinois Cavalry Monument, and its geographic coordinates, 39° 50.147’ N, 77° 14.968’ W.  A narrative follows describing the unit’s action on the field, a description of the monument, its designer, manufacturer or sculptor, and the date of its dedication.

The Gindlespergers include in their book, three appendices: Union Medal of Honor Recipients at Gettysburg, Confederate Medal of Honor Recipients at Gettysburg, and the Sullivan Ballou Letter, which considering Major Ballou of the 2nd Rhode Island Infantry was killed nearly two years earlier during the First Battle of Bull Run seems a little out of place.  Also included at the end of the book is a suggested reading list.

“So You Think You Know Gettysburg? Volume 2” is a treasure trove of seldom discussed information about The Battle of Gettysburg, and it is an indispensible book for those interested in the battle, a great guide book for those touring the battlefield, and is a great book for those who haven’t yet visited the battlefield or those planning their future trip.

ISBN 978-0895876201, John F. Blair, Publisher, © 2014, Paperback, 234 pages, 12 Maps, 225 Color Photographs, Appendices, Further Reading & Index. $19.95.  To Purchase this book click HERE.

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