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Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam Paperback – June 30, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0618344192 ISBN-10: 0618344195 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (June 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618344195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618344192
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The best account of the Battle of Antietam." The New York Times Book Review

"A modern classic." The Chicago Tribune

"No other book so vividly depicts that battle, the campaign that preceded it, and the dramatic political events that followed." -- Washington Post Book World The Washington Post

"Authoritative and graceful . . . a first-rate work of history." Newsweek

Review

"The best account of the Battle of Antietam." The New York Times Book Review

"A modern classic." The Chicago Tribune

"No other book so vividly depicts that battle, the campaign that preceded it, and the dramatic political events that followed." -- Washington Post Book World The Washington Post

"Authoritative and graceful . . . a first-rate work of history." Newsweek
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Stephen W. Sears has written a well researched and well written book.
Peter J. Berger
I found this book very easy to read and made following the events of the battle easy to follow.
DP
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who finds Civil War History interesting.
James Snarr

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 56 people found the following review helpful By B. Morris on April 10, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having just toured the Antietam battlefield, I once again appreciate how good of a book this is. The story of Antietam is one not so much of what did happen but what might have been. Lee had his back to the river and was heavily outnumbered. McClellan once again had another chance to deal a crushing blow to Lee and once again due to his inability to press the fight let's him off the hook.
As much as anything this book is about the generals and how they approach the battle as it is about who shot who where and when. On the one side you have Lee moving his troops from one end of the field to another in perhaps his greatest achievement of the war. On the other side you have McClellan who is frozen by indecisiveness.
As for the writing style, Sears again shows why he's one of the more talented writers in the Civil War genre today. The book reads like a good novel thanks to Sears's writing talents. This book is easly the best book out there on the battle of Antietam and I highly recommend it to anyone.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Roger J. Buffington TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 17, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a splendid analysis of a pivotal battle of the early Civil War, in which two great and relatively green armies have at one another in a battle which contains the bloodiest single day in American military history. Sears does a fine job of explaining to the reader why this battle had vast strategic as well as military significance. Britain and France were on the verge of intervening on the Confederate side, because their textile industries were screaming for cotton (Southern cotton was blockaded by the Union Navy) and accordingly their textile workers were screaming for jobs. (This is language that politicians understood well, then as now.) President Lincoln thoroughly understood the dynamics of this risk, realized that once these foreign powers intervened that the Union cause was almost certainly lost. He prepared the Emancipation Proclamation, which Sears shows to have been a political masterstroke. It made it politically impossible for any Great Power to support the South and slavery against the Union and abolition.
But there was a problem before the battle occurred, and Lincoln knew this too: the Union Army in the east had suffered a continuous series of defeats. To announce the proclamation abolishing slavery without a victory to herald it would be a terrible sign of weakness; one that might only encourage intervention. Lincoln needed a victory in the east first. When Lee's army crossed into Maryland, the President knew he had his chance for the victory he needed. And therein lies a fascinating story which Sears presents crisply and with unusual clarity.
Sears has a gift for explaining a lot of details of a battle without completely losing the reader, as so often happens in this type of book.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Konrei TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
Say "Gettysburg" to most Americans and recognition dawns in their eyes. But many Americans have trouble even pronouncing "Antietam." The Confederate name for this battle, "Sharpsburg" is easier to say but less well known.

Despite its relative anonymity, this hideous Civil War battle claimed more casualties in one day than America lost in its Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War and World War One combined.

It's difficult even to gauge the number of battle deaths, since the low velocity and large caliber of Civil War-era weapons inflicted terrible wounds which were untreatable by the medicine of the day (no anaesthetics, no antibiotics, and no idea of antiseptics). Scores of men died of their wounds months or years after the battle. Hundreds of unknown soldiers were buried in mass graves, blue and gray together.

As Stephen Sears shows us, tactically, Antietam was at best a draw. Strategically it put the Confederacy into a slow downward spiral from which it never recovered. It ennobled the Union cause by resulting in the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Sears does a masterful job of exploring the battle, its causes, its results, and most of all, its moment-to-moment details. While LANDSCAPE TURNED RED (the title is taken from a Union soldier's report that he literally saw red in the midst of the battle) is never as vivid as a novel, it does place the reader squarely in the thickest mists of the fog of war. Sears never loses the thread, and he is able to make sense of the chaos on the field in relation to the whole, a challenging task in regard to this bedlam of a battle.

LANDSCAPE TURNED RED is also an indictment of the waste of war. Sears admires neither battle commander. Robert E.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Shannon Gaw on October 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
I first read "Landscape Turned Red" along with Dick Estelle on Radio Reader almost 25 years ago. Many years later I still find it fascinating. I hesitate to say "entertaining", given the subject matter - "combined casualties for those twelve hours of combat came to 22,719. No single day of this or any other America war would surpass this fearful record." The accounts of men dying and horses dragging around their entrails pain my heart. But for the historian and buff, it is indeed fascinating.

Sears provides a very good description of the political situation and events preceding the battle, the skirmishes immediately before Antietam (e.g. Harpers' Ferry, etc.), and then the battle itself. His use of successive, chronological maps provides an excellent accompaniment to the narrative. Too many books on battles skimp on maps.

Sears gives a compelling indictment of McClellan. Stanton called him "master of cant"; Welles said he was "an intelligent engineer but not a commander"; Ben Wade said "Place him before an enemy and he will borrow like a wood chuck". Reading McClellan's letters to his wife makes my skin crawl - his delusion and arrogance are hard to fathom - or forgive.

Despite all of his advantages - from the discovery of Special Order 191 to his superior numbers - McClellan's personal performance was sub-par if not negligent, betraying the courage of his men. He had committed barely 50,000 infantry and artilleryman ... a third of his army did not fire a shot. He repeatedly applied his troops in "driblets" with out coordination or mutual support.
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