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Gettysburg--The Second Day (Civil War America) Later Printing Edition

52 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0807847305
ISBN-10: 0807847305
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Editorial Reviews


"Gettysburg-The Second Day" is a masterpiece. It is the last word on the fighting."Blue & Gray Magazine"


Pfanz appears to have found out everything that can be known about the fighting on July 2, about the maneuverings that led to it, about the armies that collided so fatefully in the rolling Pennsylvania farm country, and about the men who led them--right down to the sergeants and lieutenants, without whom armies seldom would be led anywhere.--Tom Wicker, Atlantic Monthly

|[Pfanz] has done a meticulous research which has resulted in a book rich in detail. He has covered the action vividly, including experiences of the highest ranking officers as well as the ordinary soldiers. . . . Solidly researched, well written, and will hold the reader's interest. . . . If your special interest is Gettysburg, then this book is a must!--Civil War Courier

|For Civil War readers not familiar with Harry Pfanz, be advised that he is today the greatest living authority on Gettysburg. . . . What he has done here is to produce the most complete account of the main fighting on July 2 that will ever be written. . . . Both a fast-paced narrative and an all-inclusive encyclopedia. . . . If only such books like this existed for the other stages of the great battle of Gettysburg.--James I. Robertson Jr., Richmond News-Leader

|Pfanz has created a lasting legacy with his analysis of the crucial second day of the Battle of Gettysburg. His book, Gettysburg--The Second Day is a masterpiece. It is the last word on the fighting for Peach Orchard, Wheatfield and Little Round Top, and represents microtactical history at its finest.--Blue & Gray Magazine

|[Pfanz] put in a 10-year stint at Gettysburg, and he knows the ground there about as well as it is possible to know it. He brings this knowledge to Gettysburg--The Second Day, and along with it meticulous research and a vigorous, lucid sense of narrative. . . . A tribute worthy of the efforts of the men who took part in what the Confederate Gen. James Longstreet called 'the best three hours' fighting ever done by any troops on any battle-field.'--Richard Snow, New York Times Book Review

|Provides fresh insights and details. . . . Pfanz has an intimate knowledge of the battlefield and a real understanding of Civil War soldiers.--Choice


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Product Details

  • Series: Civil War America
  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; Later Printing edition (March 2, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807847305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807847305
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By B. Morris on April 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
To understand the importance of the second day's battle at Gettysburg, one only has to look at the names of the men and places involved. The men were names like Chamberlain, Hood, Vincent, Zook, O'Rorke and Hancock. The places were The Wheatfield, Peach Orchard, Devil's Den and Little Round Top. Even 140 years later the average person on the street knows what Little Round Top is, even if they don't know much else about Gettysburg.
Harry Pfanz's Gettysburg the Second Day is a must have for anyone seriously interested in understand what happen in Gettysburg on July 2nd. It covers Longstreet's assault against the southern flank of the Union army using two of his divisions commanded by Hood and McLaws (Pickett was as yet not on the field with his division). Pfanz does a really nice job with the Xs and Os of the battle. He especially does nice work with the Wheatfield which is perhaps the most confusing section of the entire battle of Gettysburg. No other book I think explains what happened there better than this one.
Pfanz without question knows Gettysburg better than anyone around. He spent 20 years as the head NPS historian at the park so he knows from what he speaks.
As a side note, this book does not cover the fighting on the Union right flank on the second day but concentrates on Longstreet's assault on the Union left. To learn about the events on the other end you should read Harry Pfanz's book on Culp's Hill and East Cemetery Hill which covers the actions on those hills during the entire 3 day battle.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
To understand this work, you must realize that Pfanz was the chief historian at Gettysburg NMP and the Park Service for many years. So he REALLY knows his history regarding Gettysburg! The book primarily covers Longstreet's attack on Day 2. This was intentional, as Pfanz wrote a separate book covering Cemetry Hill and Culp's Hill. The details in the book are amazing, especially if you go on-site to find the places he describes in such vivid detail. Pfanz also challenges some near-sacred beliefs about certain individuals (e.g., he presents evidence that Chamberlain did not order his charge and, in fact, at first tried to stop it). Pfanz presents the evidence, pro and con - then leaves it up to the reader to decide. So, to those with preconceived ideas, this book may "ruffle some feathers". One shortcoming was the lack of more maps. As one who likes to use a book while actually on-site, I found his maps excellent, but too few in number. If you have not read this book, you have much to learn about Gettysburg. Buy's superb!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mitch Reed on June 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book covers the fighting on the southern edge of the battlefield from 4PM till dark. Now you might look at the size of this work and think overkill, but I wish to assure you that it is not the case. This is and in-depth study of the most crucial (in my opinion) part of the battle. If you want to be an expert on this part of the battle, please read this. One problem might be the constant bio's of each major figure when they are first introduced.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By James on April 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
Gettysburg--The Second Day is the first and longest in a series of three volumes written by Harry Pfanz, former Chief historian of the NPS. Quite extensively researched Harry Pfanz takes us step by step through the preparations and fighting on the southern end of the of the battlefield to encompass the areas known as Little Round Top, The Wheatfield, and the Peach Orchard. This work does not deal with events of the second day in the area of Culp's or Cemetery Hill which is dealt with in volume two of the series.

The work is not for the casual reader of Gettysburg books, or for those not knowledgeable of terrain features or minor place names. It is written is a formal style and can be and often is a difficult read. The reader will find himself having to read over many passages to fully comprehend the narrative as the writing tends or ramble and thoughts do not always get connected.

This book seems not place the emphasis where it should be. Over ninety pages are dedicated to the events of the Peach Orchard and the assault on Cemetery ridge, sixty to the Wheatfield area and only forty to the most critical area of fighting, that being Little Round Top and surrounding areas. This I feel is a major problem in that the Little Round Top fighting is far more key to a Confederate success that those events occurring later on in the fighting and is the area where the least emphasis is placed. The maps are good, not great, but lacking in sufficient number to aid the reader in visualizing events, a problem overcome in volumes two and three of the Gettysburg series.

Being the first in the series, Harry Pfanz improves in writing style and clarity in the second and third volumes. These books should be an essential part of any Gettysburg historian's collection. Rating is difficult 3 for style and clarity, and 4 documentation and detail = 3.5 overall.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 17, 1998
Format: Paperback
Harry Pfanz, former historian at the Gettysburg National Military Park and former Chief Historian of the National Park Service has written what will be the classic account of the pivotal day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Relying heavily on primary sources, many never before used, Pfanz takes the reader through the planning of the day's combat, the climax of the Confederate assault on July 2,1863, and the day's aftermath. While Pfanz's history is flawless, what makes this book so good is his attention to detail and the inclusion of human interest stories which are both relevant and fascinating. While this book will be most appreciated by Civil War buffs, it is sure to interest all looking for a great historical yarn!
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