Probably more raw material (letters, diaries, unit histories) about the Civil War battle of Antietam has been crammed into this volume than any other book on the subject. Unfortunately, the author, a Maryland high-school teacher, offers the barest minimum of analysis or interpretation. Presented in chronological order, these excerpts reduce the confrontation between Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and McClellan's Army of the Potomac on September 16-18, 1862, to a clotted mass of vignettes that provides vivid individual glimpses of the fighting but adds up to an unintentional exemplification of the "fog of war." There are 72 maps of the action included, but the absence of a master map renders them all but useless. Such familiar topographical features as the Cornfield, Bloody Lane, Burnside's Bride and the Maryland village of Sharpsburg are shown on certain of the maps, but their location in relation to each other is not.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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"Priest has admirably fulfilled the goal of his book Antietam by giving us a vivid portrait of the individuals who fought at Antietam, their combat, heroism, and death. No one who wants to know more about Civil War combat and the enlisted man can afford to miss this new study. This well-researched, well-written study is highly recommended to all students of the Civil War."--The Journal of American History
"A very successful treatment of Antietam from the soldiers' eyeview. As such it will take its place along with the more conventional works of Murfin and Sears as one of the indispensable references on the battle."--Military History
"If you only buy one Civil War book this year...this is the book to buy....This volume will grab you and keep you enthralled until the final shots are fired. Don't miss it."--Military Images
"From dawn to dusk, individuals in blue and gray--nearly 200 of them--run, limp, shout, and cry across Priest's stage, each delivering a personal soliloquy from a diary, a letter, or other recollection. The audience is spellbound, mesmerized by tale after tale....Today melts into 1862, and you experience the soldiers' stories of torture and trauma on September 17....A wonderful companion on the battlefield."--Blue and Gray
"Written in a style that reminds me of John Keegan's The Face of Battle, the author takes you down to the common soldier's level with all the dirt, blood, horror, confusion, cowardice, and heroics....As vivid a portrait of 1860s warfare as I've ever read....An excellent account of a pivotal battle and I highly recommend it."--Confederate Veteran
"Filled with heroism and cowardice, death, pain, and humor....[Among the] fine works of military history....Has some of the best maps this reviewer has seen on the 12-hour battle."--Roanoke Times and World News
"The best battlefield first-person compilation I have read....Here, in 316 well-illustrated pages, is the closest I have ever come to feeling Civil War combat....Here it all is--the tactics, the movement, the truth about warfare."--The Civil War Times
"An interesting and personal view of the fight....Useful and fascinating....The book is also graced with a splendid introduction by Jay Luvaas, who perhaps knows more about the Civil War than any man alive."--The Washington Times
"Priest has presented the fight at Antietam in a new, refreshing, human, and long-overdue manner....Priest has done a first-rate job of research and a dedicated job of writing."--Richmond News-Leader
"Under Priest's skilled hands, soldiers come to life--and death--in this outstanding piece of work."--Inside Books