America's Civil War raged for more than four years, but it is the three days of fighting in the Pennsylvania countryside in July 1863 that continues to fascinate, appall, and inspire new generations with its unparalleled saga of sacrifice and courage. From Chancellorsville, where General Robert E. Lee launched his high-risk campaign into the North, to the Confederates' last daring and ultimately-doomed act, forever known as Pickett's Charge, the battle of Gettysburg gave the Union army a victory that turned back the boldest and perhaps greatest chance for a Southern nation.
Now acclaimed historian Noah Andre Trudeau brings the most up-to-date research available to a brilliant, sweeping, and comprehensive history of the battle of Gettysburg that sheds fresh light on virtually every aspect of it. Deftly balancing his own narrative style with revealing firsthand accounts, Trudeau brings this engrossing human tale to life as never before.
Making comprehensive and sophisticated use of a broad spectrum of archival and printed sources, NPR executive producer Trudeau (Bloody Roads South) enhances his reputation as a narrative historian of the Civil War with what is to date the best large-scale single-volume treatment of those crucial three days in July 1863, elegantly reconstructing the battle and the campaign from the perspectives of the participants. Trudeau allows them, from generals to enlisted men, to speak in their own words, creating a thoroughly absorbing story of determination on both sides and at all levels. Robert E. Lee began the campaign intending to win a battle of annihilation. July 1 inaugurated some of the hardest, and the most exacting, fighting American soldiers have ever done. The operational narratives are remarkable for their clarity, especially Trudeau's presentation of the confused fight for the Union left flank on July 2. The text is supplemented by sketch maps of unit positions and movements that are also models of clarity a particular boon to nonspecialist readers. Trudeau defensibly concludes that the wide latitude allowed subordinates at all levels of the Army of Northern Virginia worked against it at Gettysburg. Further, his emphasis on contemporary sources instead of postwar retrospection and academic analysis shows that despite nearly equal losses totaling almost 50,000 men Gettysburg failed as Lee's battle of annihilation. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.