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Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War [Kindle Edition]

Newt Gingrich , William R. Forstchen
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (199 customer reviews)

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Sold by: Macmillan


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Book Description

The Civil War is the American Iliad. Lincoln, Stonewall Jackson, Grant, and Lee still stand as heroic ideals, as stirring to our national memory as were the legendary Achilles and Hector to the world of the ancient Greeks. Within the story of our Iliad one battle stands forth above all others: Gettysburg.
Millions visit Gettysburg each year to walk the fields and hills where Joshua Chamberlain made his legendary stand and Pickett went down to a defeat which doomed a nation, but in defeat forever became a symbol of the heroic Lost Cause. As the years passed, and the scars healed, the debate, rather than drifting away has intensified. It is the battle which has become the great "what if," of American history and the center of a dreamscape where Confederate banners finally do crown the heights above the town.
The year is 1863, and General Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia are poised to attack the North and claim the victory that would end the brutal conflict. But Lee's Gettysburg campaign ended in failure, ultimately deciding the outcome of the war.
Launching his men into a vast sweeping operation, of which the town of Gettysburg is but one small part of the plan, General Lee, acting as he did at Chancellorsville, Second Manassas, and Antietam, displays the audacity of old. He knows he has but one more good chance to gain ultimate victory, for after two years of war the relentless power of an industrialized north is wearing the South down. Lee's lieutenants and the men in the ranks, embued with this renewed spirit of the offensive embark on the Gettysburg Campaign that many dream "should have been." The soldiers in the line, Yank and Reb, knew as well that this would be the great challenge, the decisive moment that would decided whether a nation would die, or be created, and both sides were ready, willing to lay down their lives for their Cause.
An action-packed and painstakingly researched masterwork by Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen, Gettysburg stands as the first book in a series to tell the story of how history could have unfolded, how a victory for Lee would have changed the destiny of the nation forever. In the great tradition of The Killer Angels and Jeff Shaara's bestselling Civil War trilogy, this is a novel of true heroism and glory in America's most trying hour.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This well-executed alternative history imagines a Confederate victory at Gettysburg. Former House speaker Gingrich (Contract with America) and historical fiction author Forstchen (Down to the Sea) create a plausible scenario: Robert E. Lee resolves to command, rather than merely coordinate, the efforts of that gaggle of prima donnas known as the high command of the Army of Northern Virginia. Thus, when he leads them into battle against the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg, he does not commit his soldiers to a desperate head-butting on the ground chosen by the Union's General Meade. Instead, he maneuvers around the Union flank, placing his tightly run army between Meade and Washington, D.C., scooping up Union supplies and forcing Meade to launch desperate attacks with disastrous results for the Union cause. The authors show thorough knowledge of the people, weapons, tactics and ambience of the Civil War, though their portrayals of historical figures like Lee, Meade, James Longstreet and Richard Ewell betray a certain bias (the Confederate men are noble and wise, the Union leaders hot-tempered and vindictive). The novel has a narrative drive and vigor that makes the climactic battle scene a real masterpiece of its kind (it's not for the weak of stomach). The military minutiae probably makes the book inaccessible to anyone who's not a Civil War buff or military fiction fan, but those two sizable groups will find this a veritable feast.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

The 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, the universally acknowledged turning point in the Civil War, by which the forces of Robert E. Lee were turned back from their invasion of Northern territory and from which the Confederacy was never to recover, is endlessly studied, most recently in the definitive, compelling Gettysburg by Stephen Sears [BKL My 1 03]. Historian and former speaker of the House of Representatives Gingrich and cowriter Forstchen, a veteran author of historical fiction, present an alternative version of this famous and consequential battle; in their intriguing scenario, General Lee finds success in routing the Union army. The authors' thorough understanding of what did actually happen at that fateful confrontation obviously stands behind their imaginative revision; what went right for the Union army and wrong for the Confederate forces is believably switched here. How the real turn of events could have turned out otherwise is carefully offered in vivid battle descriptions and well-considered alternative strategies. Readers should be forewarned, though: they may come away from this exciting novel believing events really did happen this way. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 1587 KB
  • Print Length: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (April 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001H1FZU6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,331 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gingrich Delivers June 7, 2003
I did not buy this book, a friend who is crazed about anything related to the Civil War subtlety recommend it by putting it in my hand saying really, "you will like it". Unconvinced that I would be interested in a Civil War battle of anything by Newt Gingrich for that matter, I took it home. This book takes hold of you unmercifully, and in my case reluctantly, and does not let go. The character development is remarkable. You will fret over every agonizing decision and cringe at every gory, and I do mean gory, detail. Three cheers for Gingrich and William Forstchen on their alternative history, I'm convinced - they can tell a great story.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Might Have Been September 28, 2003
In 1853, Robert E. Lee understood that drastic measures were needed to bring the Civil War to a conclusion favorable to the Confederacy. Although the Army of Northern Virginia was blessed with often brilliant generalship, Lee knew that the Union's ability to endlessly churn out soldiers and war materiel meant that even with mediocre leadership the North would eventually grind down the Confederate forces by sheer force of numbers. Lee could win only by destroying the Union's will to fight, and this would not be done by fighting a strategically defensive war strictly on Southern soil. These considerations led to Lee's fateful decision to invade the North.
We all know how that venture ended. Lee, in an uncharacteristic tactical lapse, decided to stand and fight against a well-supplied, entrenched Union force that occupied superior defensive ground south of Gettysburg. Under the circumstances it should not have required brilliant Union leadership to successfully repulse Lee's attacks, but Lee's efforts to take Little Round Top on Day 2 came within a hair's breadth of succeeding. Had Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain failed in his now-famous last-ditch defense of the Union left, the outcome of the Battle of Gettysburg might have been very different.
'Gettysburg' takes the "what if" scenario a step farther. What if Lee, instead of making the bullheaded decision to stand and fight at Gettysburg, had withdrawn after the chaos of Day 1 to mount a flank attack designed to draw the Army of the Potomoc to him on ground that gave the rebels all the advantages? Such a strategy seems more consistent with Lee's reputation for audacity and creativity, and co-authors Newt Gingrich and William Fortschen play out the premise in fascinating detail.
The authors obviously know their Civil War.
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take It From Me: Buy This Book June 3, 2003
I am a lifelong Marylander and raised in the midst of tons of Civil War history. Gettysburg, especially, has always fascinated me. In addition, I am a huge fan of author William Forstchen. Even with both of those points, I was unprepared for just how fantastic this book truly is.
The book begins with detail worthy of a true history book, but done in such a well-written way that you are soon with both armies as they prepare for their epic conflict.
You can see the fields filled with soldiers in both blue and gray, hear the roar of the cannons and almost smell the smoke. The people and places are described so well that they almost jump off the page.
The battle begins just as it really did. For those of us who love history (and alternate history), it draws us in beautifully. But then events begin to change. There comes a moment when history, as we know it, is altered.
Now it is up to the soldiers themselves -- officers and enlisted men as drawn believably by the authors -- to act as they would have done. What will Lee, the master tactician do now? How will Meade react, so new to command?
I can't tell you and I'd love to, but I won't spoil one page of this book. Just know this: Buy the book. You won't regret it. (As an aside, I almost never bother with these online reviews. I like the book so much, I just had to.)
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing historical detail! Fantastic reading! May 21, 2003
There are many reasons for reading this book. Although an historical novel, it reads like a mystery thriller. I found myself reading as fast as I could to find out the ending. Another reason is, although a novel, the historical accuracies are many. I became much more familiar with the localized geography of the Gettysburg towns, rivers, bridges, hills, and valleys. There are also the breathtaking accounts of charges and maneuvers and skirmishes, not to mention details of military life during battle. I felt, at times, that I was right there and could smell the sickening odor of decaying and singed human and horse flesh, could actually see myself in hand-to-hand combat or running forward with hundreds of other Union soldiers (I'm a Yankee) in a line stretching 1/4 mile over crests and down gullies, through streams and parched, dusty fields, jumping over fallen comrades, and feeling the absolute knowledge that as I ran toward the Rebel fortifications, there was no place to hide and the only thing preventing a shard of lead slamming into me and ripping me apart was mere chance.
These are reasons enough. But they are not the main reason. George Santayana once said, "Those who do not learn from history, are bound to repeat it." And this is why this book is invaluable -- for reading this type of "history" makes one contemplate the "what ifs." What if the South had defeated the Union Army at Gettysburg? Would Lee have marched on Washington forcing the Union to sue for peace? Would the South have entered into the economic and political sphere of Great Britain? (Confederate delegates were in London trying to accomplish this during the 1860's.) What if the South had won the war?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Very readable and well put together. Newt is a great story teller with an uncommon way of communicating his point of view.
Published 17 days ago by Joel T Poynter
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Civil War novels out there...
Both Gingrich and Forstchen have done their homework, producing a very plausible, historically accurate novel of what Lee's Summer 1863 campaign might have looked like had things... Read more
Published 1 month ago by D. A. White
4.0 out of 5 stars Alternative Gettysburg
Many people have asked if the South had won at Gettysburg what would have happened. This novel provides an excellent scenario and if Lee had listened to Longstreet may have... Read more
Published 2 months ago by DSwenk
3.0 out of 5 stars I don't like alternative history.
taken as it is, it is not a bad yarn, but for me, i kept thinking "but it's not true - it didn't really happen". Read more
Published 2 months ago by Irving Weisz
4.0 out of 5 stars Taking Charge
Exceptional story. As a civil war buff myself I congratulate Newt Gingrich in creating a great story that is respectful to history he is altering. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Victor Orozco
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful Alternate History
This is alternate history at its zenith. This alternate happening of the Battle Of Gettysburg as crafted by world class historians and story tellers Gingrich and Forstchen is a... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Old infantryman
3.0 out of 5 stars Lee wins at Gettysburg
The old man finaly takes the advice of Longstreet and doesn't attack Cemetery Ridge. He sort of wins the battle, but he and the Confederacy are still in trouble, because Secretary... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Robert Boos
5.0 out of 5 stars Rivoting
I was completely enthralled by this book. At times I couldn't put it down. Reading what all those soldiers endured, the sacrifice and hardships, the death and destruction was heart... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Elizabeth
5.0 out of 5 stars Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War with an unusual twist
Newt Gingrich puts a great spin on a great story of tragedy and redemtion. A different way of looking at history. A must read.
Published 7 months ago by JMB
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice "what if" novel.
It is OK if you don't mind reading conjecture that actually makes sense. It premise is very well thought out.
Published 7 months ago by Richard N. Aamodt
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