The greatest of all Civil War campaigns, Gettysburg was the turning point of the turning point in our nation’s history. Volumes have been written about this momentous three-day battle, but recent histories have tended to focus on the particulars rather than the big picture: on the generals or on single days of battle—even on single charges—or on the daily lives of the soldiers. In Gettysburg Sears tells the whole story in a single volume. From the first gleam in Lee’s eye to the last Rebel hightailing it back across the Potomac, every moment of the battle is brought to life with the vivid narrative skill and impeccable scholarship that has made Stephen Sears’s other histories so successful. Based on years of research, this is the first book in a generation that brings everything together, sorts it all out, makes informed judgments, and takes stands. Even the most knowledgeable of Civil War buffs will find fascinating new material and new interpretations, and Sears’s famously accessible style will make the book just as appealing to the general reader. In short, this is the one book on Gettysburg that anyone interested in the Civil War should own.
An outstanding battle study by the author of Chancellorsville, this comprehensive narrative will lend extra impact to the 140th anniversary this July of the climactic battle of the Civil War. Sears casts his net wide, beginning with Lee's meeting with Davis in May 1863, where he argued in favor of marching north, to take pressure off both Vicksburg and Confederate logistics. It ends with the battered Army of Northern Virginia re-crossing the Potomac some two months later, a near-run on both sides as Meade was finally unwilling to drive his equally battered Army of the Potomac into a desperate pursuit. In between is the balanced, clear and detailed story of how 60,000 men became casualties, and how the winning of Confederate independence on the battlefield was put forever out of reach. The author generally is spare with scapegoating, although he has little use for Union men Dan Sickles (who advanced against orders on the second day) or Oliver Howard (whose Corps broke and was routed on the first day), or Richard Ewell of the Confederacy, who decided not to take Culp's Hill on the first night, when that might have been decisive. Sears also strongly urges the view that Lee was not fully in control of his army on the march or in the battle, a view borne out in his gripping narrative of Pickett's Charge, which makes many aspects of that nightmare much clearer than they have been before. This book is not the place to start a study of the campaign, but it is absolutely indispensable for the well-versed.
After Coddington's "The Gettysburg Campaign - A Study in Command" this is the best one volume history.
“Gettysburg” is one of Stephen Spears finest books - well researched and told in a captivating way. We had the pleasure of meeting him at the Civil War Trust Spring Color Bearer meeting at Antietam battlefield where he signed my copies of Gettysburg, Antietam and Chancellorsville. Highly recommended.
A book u just can't put done. Well written and very detailed.