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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Confused, Disorienting, Brutal Book Mirrors Combat
This is a different kind of Civil War book, a micro history covering a brief period time through the lens of scores of Confederates and Unionists who simultaneously experienced the artillery duel and Pickett's Charge on July 3, 1863.
Priest delivers the same type of book he produced in "Antietam: The Soldier's Battle." Both are combat participant's view of...
Published on December 16, 2003 by Wayne A. Smith

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rewriting history? Not in this book.
"Challenging conventional views" and "rewrites the conventional thinking"? Well, not really. In fact, I'm not sure what this really means in regards to this book. After all, how many different ways can you line up the brigades in Pickett's division and not deviate from the historical record. It's fairly common knowledge that Longstreet didn't really...
Published 4 months ago by Marie E. Larrison


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Confused, Disorienting, Brutal Book Mirrors Combat, December 16, 2003
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This is a different kind of Civil War book, a micro history covering a brief period time through the lens of scores of Confederates and Unionists who simultaneously experienced the artillery duel and Pickett's Charge on July 3, 1863.
Priest delivers the same type of book he produced in "Antietam: The Soldier's Battle." Both are combat participant's view of the conflict (although Antietam takes in the full day's battle), and seek to tell the story through the lens of utter confusion and immediate focus that describes the warrior's contemporary understanding of what he is pursuing.
As such, this book jumps, sometimes paragraph by paragraph, among scores of participants to describe the intensity and locus of what was happening over roughly fifteen minute increments during those famous afternoon hours. It is impossible to follow characters throughout the book; though many reappear over the book's some 200 pages, they are not meant to be the focus of a drama or military biography.
I suspect Priest's method of letting the soldiers' recollections drive the pace of this fast-paced and confusing combat portrait is to try and recreate -- as much as a book can -- the utterly confusing, disorienting, violent and formless experience of combat. In this, the author succeeds brilliantly.
This book is probably not for the first time Civil War reader and will disappoint anyone looking for the story of Pickett's Charge in terms of where it stood in Lee's strategy and the Battle of Gettysburg. But for the Civil War aficionado, Priest's work delivers a wonderful micro history that has carried this reader closer to the action -- what I imagine the real action -- than any other author.
This is history written before units are marked on maps (although Priest's maps are excellent, numerous and easy to follow) and before the likes of Coddington, Sears or Catton have had a chance to tell the larger story. For any reader wanting to get a feel of what it must have been like to charge into the bullets and canister flying from Cemetery Ridge like wind driven rain, this book can't be beat.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Micro-History at its best !, December 31, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Into the Fight: Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg (Hardcover)
John Michael Priest has once again displayed the literary art to which he seems born. This book is so utterly enthralling, it is almost like reading a novel. Even the veteran of many Gettysburg book readings will hinge on the story of Pickett's charge as told by Priest. His use of numerous primary sources lends to his telling of the story by the participants themselves. Each individual story then coalesces into a coherent and understandable analysis of how the charge developed and died. Priest gives both Confederate and Union impressions an equal treatment, creating a full veiw of the action. His writing brings out the horror, sadness, terror, pride, honor and exhultation felt by those actually present on that fateful day. Previous knowledge of the battle or Pickett's action is not needed to enjoy this work. Priest follows the action closely, developing it enough for the beginner or simply curious to understand. For those with a background in Civil War history, even Pickett's charge, the personal accounts still make the account a worthwhile read.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars set your timepieces!, March 2, 2000
By 
frank scheetz (GRACEVILLE,FLORIDA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Into the Fight: Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg (Hardcover)
In this book ,as you read, you can't help but keep looking at your watch. A minute by minute account of the famous charge.You feel as if you are in the ranks on both sides in that bloody attack and stalwart defense on Cemetery Ridge. THIS BOOK IS A CLASSIC TO COMPARE WITH GEORGE STEWART'S BOOK ON PICKETT'S CHARGE. Amust read for all GETTYSBURG BUFFS.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rewriting history? Not in this book., August 6, 2014
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"Challenging conventional views" and "rewrites the conventional thinking"? Well, not really. In fact, I'm not sure what this really means in regards to this book. After all, how many different ways can you line up the brigades in Pickett's division and not deviate from the historical record. It's fairly common knowledge that Longstreet didn't really want to order the charge that day. Hey, he didn't want to launch the attack on July 2nd either. It's also fairly well known that Lt. Alonzo Cushing's 2 sections of artillery were in the heart of the Angle, firing as rapidly as possible all the while the mortally wounded Lieutenant was still issuing orders but was so weak Sgt. Fuger had to hold him up and repeat his orders. One of the first examples of multi-tasking.

What I did find informative was Priest's level of detail in describing the skirmishing prior to the beginning of the march forward for the actual charge. I don't I knew there was that much fighting before the charge started forward. I knew the Bliss farm and the Codori farm were repeatedly fought over but the level of intensity was new.

Also appreciated was the depth of information on the artillery placements of the Army of Northern Virginia. Again, there is little that was entirely new (more of that rewritten conventional thinking?) but the level of detail made interesting reading.

All in all, this book is a worthwhile addition to one's library but don't expect any Earth shattering revelations regarding the so-called Pickett's Charge..
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Not to be missed, July 31, 2003
By 
Eric J. Hendershot (Harleysville, PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Taking us back to that fateful day on July 3rd 1863, John Michael Priest does indeed take us "INTO THE FIGHT" as we are told the story of Pickett's Charge. While reading this book, one can't help but be transported back in time to that smoke filled battlefield on the ridges of Gettysburg. By using first hand accounts by the soldiers who were there, Priest gives the reader a vivid picture of what it must have been like to experience the terror of that chaotic day's fighting from both Union & Confederate sides. Numerous maps throughout the book (25 to be exact) clearly illustrate troop movements and artillery placement making it easy for the reader to follow along as the action unfolds. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anybody interested in understanding the third days fighting at Gettysburg. The maps alone are worth the price of admission.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating history of the Battle of Gettysburg last day of fighting on July 3, 1863, August 9, 2014
By 
Joe Owen "Joe" (Republic of Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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John Michael Priest has written an excellent history of both the Union and Confederate Armies and their action during the Battle of Gettysburg where he describes the actions of both armies on the battles last day, July, 3, 1863. Mr. Priest has given us the actions of the soldiers, regiments, brigades, and commanders of both armies and what they were doing. He doesn't get "bogged down" in detail and keeps the action vivid and lively. It is suspenseful and easy to understand what the soldiers are doing to be ready to go into battle.
Most everyone who has read this book already knows about the Battle of Gettysburg and the history of the three days of the main battle on July 1, 2, and 3, 1863 so there is no reason to go over the specifics of the last day's action and especially Pickett's Charge. For those of you who don't know much about the battle and the famous Army of Northern Virginia's charge into the Army of the Potomac, then this is a perfect start for you. Mr. Priest in this excellent book, puts the reader in "the thick of the action" from the start you learn about the men (from Private to General) who were dramatically and permanently affected by the charge and the battle. You learn that many had loved ones at home both north and south and were waiting for their safe return. Sadly, for so many this never occurred.
I won't give details or the outcome, most of you already know how it was unfolded and what the overall result would be. Let me say though that Mr. Priest is to be commended for his fine work on the battles last day of July 3, 1863. It is a fascinating read, it is easy to understand (even for a reader who doesn't understand the war or the battle), it is a great refresher for those Civil War "enthusiasts", scholars, and historians. It is a book that I will use as a valuable reference in the upcoming years, and it is highly recommended for those who want to know more about the Battle Of Gettysburg, the Army of Northern Virginia, main battles of the Civil War, and great stories of the brave men who fought at Gettysburg. A great read!
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Into the Fight: Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg
Into the Fight: Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg by John M. Priest (Hardcover - 1997)
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