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Gettysburg: A Journey in Time 2nd Edition

29 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0939631971
ISBN-10: 0939631970
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  • Gettysburg: A Journey in Time
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Total price: $36.85
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Editorial Reviews


Fascinating reading... a remarkable book ...will delight Civil War buffs, those interested in the history of photography, and all who have ever walked over an historic battlefield. It should also provide a thoughtful lesson for historians who tend to underestimate what can be learned from a close study of photographs, for Frassanito has given us more than a book of pictures; he has produced a valuable work of scholarship.... He is perhaps uniquely qualified to do this: not only does he have a vast knowledge of early photography and of this particular battle, but he also has an intimate knowledge of the terrain and possesses a detective skill that would be a credit to Lieutenant Columbo. -- The Washington Post

The 'journey' is sobering and memorable. -- Publishers Weekly

The first definitive photo-historical record of that great battle. -- New York Post

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Pubns; 2nd edition (October 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0939631970
  • ISBN-13: 978-0939631971
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #377,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Peter V. Tamas on December 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
If you visit the Devil's Den portion of the Gettysburg battlefield, there's a sign describing how a famous photograph came to be. The photographer claimed that it was a picture of a confederate sharpshooter who had been mortally wounded during the battle. The soldier evidently made himself comfortable before he died. The sign explains that the photograph was staged, the soldier was not a sharpshooter and that the body was dragged some 40 yards to the spot. The sign credits William Frassanito with having made this discovery after careful study of Gettysburg photographs.
This is the book that describes this and many other pictures of the Gettysburg battlefield, many depicting dead men or horses. Many of these photographs are famous in the sense that they are used frequently in civil books and now in documentaries. Frassanito demonstrates convincingly that several of these frequently used photographs are mislabeled, generally to make the photographs seem more interesting and therefore more saleable.
Frassanito was an intelligence analyst during the Vietnam War and won the Bronze Star. I feel that only from a lot of practice analyzing photographs during the war could he have developed the skill needed to make the many clever observations in this book. Clearly, his wartime experiences left their mark in other ways as well. He frequently loses the detached air of a historian and reminds his readers of the horrors the subjects of the photographs must have experience. For example, he describes how rapid decomposition bloated the bodies immediately after the battle and how in some instances forced open the corpses' trouser buttons. "Thus the trousers on the soldier seen here were most likely open before his body was dragged to this position, the dragging action forcing them down below his hips.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Dennis J. Buckley on April 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
Many of us who are historians (credentialed or uncredentialed) have viewed Civil War photographs with suspicion. Example: "If these are Union soldiers, then why is there so little uniformity in their uniforms?" Or: "This body is described as that of a Confederate sharpshooter . . . but that's a federal issue Springfield rifle propped next to him."
William Frassanito raised such issues to the level of scholarly inquiry, and through painstaking research wrote the story of the Gettysburg photographs. We now know what and who we are looking at, and on which portion of the battlefield. This book and his companion volume on the Antietam photographs are indispensable for any serious student of the Civil War in the East.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By William E. Adams on July 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
I found this book in a Friends of the Library book sale in Hilo, Hawaii about l980, five years after it first came out. I think I paid 35 cents for it in hardcover, in perfect condition. It is the best bargain I ever found in my life. I re-read it every four years or so. I cannot imagine its owner ever parting with it, short of dying himself and having his clueless heirs simply donate his library without scrutiny. If you care about U.S. history, the Civil War, photography, the way historians think about a fresh approach to well-covered subjects, or just good writing and thinking, buy this book. It is worth whatever Amazon wants to charge you. I live now 2,000 miles from the Battlefield, and have never visited it, but if I ever get the chance, this book will go with me. It is simply, completely, brilliant. It can make you cry, if you aren't careful. It certainly makes you envy Bill Frassanito's achievement. His idea of contrasting the historical photo with an image shot from the same spot now has been copied with the Jack the Ripper crime sites as well as in his subsequent books. It was a great idea, and no one's done it better.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
Within a matter of days of the conclusion of the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1 -- July 3, 1863) photographers were on the scene to capture the Battlefield and its participants. These photographers included Alexander Gardner of Philadelphia, who began photographing the Battlefield on July 7 or 8, 1863, the famous Matthew Brady, the Tyson Brothers, portrait photographers who lived in Gettysburg, and others. Their photographs were arranged in series and sold in various formats to the American public which was eager to learn about the War.
Over the years, the photographs have been misidentified, placed out of sequence and, in some instances, forgotten. William Frassinto's "Gettyburg, a Journey in Time" (1975) was among the first books to recapture this photographic legacy, to study the scenes and the makers of the pictures, and to organize his material in a book for the modern reader. Mr. Frassinto has since published a number of sequels to this inital book as well as a study of photographers at Antietam.
The book consists of approximately 100 photographs, most of them dating from shortly after the battle in July, 1863 through 1866. There are also a number of photographs that Mr. Frassinto himself took dating from the late 1960s and early 1970s. These photos allow the reader to compare the original scenes with the current state of the Gettysburg Battlefield.
After a short discussion giving biographical information on the photographers and information on their visits to Gettysburg, Mr Frassanito presents and discusses the photographs themselves. His presentation is arranged in six groups: 1. the first day's battle (north and west of the town); 2. Cemetery Hill; 3. Culp's Hill; 4. Cemetery Ridge; 5. Little Round Top and Devil's Den; 6. the Rose Farm.
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