Pickett's Charge--the Confederates' desperate (and failed) attempt to break the Union lines on the third and final day of the Battle of Gettysburg--is best remembered as the turning point of the U.S. Civil War. But Penn State historian Carol Reardon reveals how hard it is to remember the past accurately, especially when an event such as this one so quickly slipped into myth. She writes, "From the time the battle smoke cleared, Pickett's Charge took on this chameleonlike aspect and, through a variety of carefully constructed nuances, adjusted superbly to satisfy the changing needs of Northerners, Southerners, and, finally, the entire nation." With care and detail, Reardon's fascinating book teaches a lesson in the uses and misuses of history.
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"This is a skillful and compelling example of the way an event whose story we think
we know turns out to be as mobile as quicksilver when we try to put a finger down for certain."
-Allen C. Guelzo, The Barnes & Noble Review
A fresh look at the disastrous assault. (New Yorker
Quite apart from its notable historical interest, Ms. Reardon's work is a splendidly lively study of the manipulation, not necessarily deliberate or malign, of public opinion. (Atlantic Monthly
This fine book provides vivid evidence of just how far we will go to alchemize fantasy into fact. (Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post
Thought provoking and highly interesting, Reardon's book is a pleasure to read. (Orlando Sentinel
Reardon has done a wonderful job of bringing together the various threads of most of the contemporary and historical arguments surrounding the charge. (Journal of Military History