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Pickett's Charge--The Last Attack at Gettysburg (Civil War America) [Kindle Edition]

Earl J. Hess
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sweeping away many of the myths that have long surrounded Pickett's Charge, Earl Hess offers the definitive history of the most famous military action of the Civil War. He transforms exhaustive research into a moving narrative account of the assault from both Union and Confederate perspectives, analyzing its planning, execution, aftermath, and legacy.

Editorial Reviews


Hess provides a stirring battle narrative accompanied by new interpretations tracing the hows and whys of what has been called Pickett's Charge. . . . A successful combination of familiar and not so well known accounts. . . . Very readable with a liberal use of maps and illustrations to accompany the text. . . . A necessary read for anyone interested in the Gettysburg Campaign or military history. . . . The best account of that historic encounter on Cemetery Ridge.--Civil War News

Here we are told again and better of the best-known day of the war, in a beautifully written account. . . . No prior account captures with such integrity and historical accuracy the horror and valor of the best-known infantry assault of the war. This book imparts a palpable understanding and appreciation of the roles played by men of all ranks, both sides, the brave, the foolish, the cowardly, the opportunistic.--Virginia Quarterly Review

Easily stands above all comparable accounts of the last fatal act of the Gettysburg drama. . . . [It is] thoroughly researched.--Allen C. Guelzo, The Barnes & Noble Review

Hess sweeps away the accumulated myths about Pickett's Charge to provide the definitive history of the engagement. . . . Drawing on exhaustive research, especially in unpublished personal accounts, he creates a moving narrative of the attack from both Union and Confederate perspectives, analyzing its planning, execution, aftermath, and legacy.--McCormick Messenger

This book is probably the best book on Pickett's Charge that has been written to date. . . . Hess's writing is clear and lucid, and very descriptive of the horrible battlefield conditions during this storied attack and repulse. . . . His book will stand on its own merit for a long time to come. It's a must-have title for any Gettysburg collection.--Journal of Military History

[Hess] utilizes a wide range of primary sources penned by the participants themselves from before the attack began through postwar remembrances. . . . From this perspective we have not only a fuller appreciation of what the participants experienced, but also a more accurate picture of the charge's significance in the larger context of war.--Civil War Times

Hess brings an impressive outpouring of new and old sources to bear in a strong narrative of the attack and its repulse that is rich in detail, quotes and personal accounts, with excellent accompanying maps and photographs. . . . This is a good book.--Washington Post Book World

Well illustrated with scenes from the battlefield and portraits of the principal figures. . . . The writing is crisp and clear. Pickett's Charge is a valuable addition to the Civil War shelf.--Washington Times


Given the volume of publications on Gettysburg, it is difficult to write something that is fresh and original on the battle. Earl Hess has succeeded in doing this. I have no doubt that this work will take its place as the new standard on Pickett's Charge.--D. Scott Hartwig, Historian, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Product Details

  • File Size: 2007 KB
  • Print Length: 530 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0807826480
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (November 5, 2001)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0055B3E5C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #649,486 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book on the Charge August 28, 2002
I have thought Stewart's "Pickets Charge" to be the best source for the past 40 years. Hess has written a book that will replace Stewart for more than 40 years. While a master of the sources, Hess is a thoughtful military historian and a writer of a judicious narrative. I have been reading, writing and teaching about the Civil War since 1960 (and graduated from Gettysburg College) and Hess tells me things that I never knew or failed to consider. This is an essential book on the Battle of Gettysburg and one of the better military history works at the beginning of the new century.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pickett's Charge November 4, 2003
For many people, Pickett's July 3, 1863 charge up Cemetery Ridge is the climactic event of the Battle of Gettysburg and the defining moment of the Civil War. Earl J. Hess has written a detailed, scholarly account of Pickett's charge which draws copiously upon contemporary sources. His book is clear and easy to follow, given the subject matter, and is poignant to read. I found myself riveted to his account.
I found a major virtue of the book was the manner in which Hess shifted his focus back and forth from the Confederate to the Union side of the line. The book begins with a discussion of the planning of the charge, focusing on the interactions between Lee and Longstreet. This is followed by two chapters dealing with, respectively, the disposition of the Confederate troops before the attack and the Union lines before the attack. I found this invaluable in helping me understand the events of the day and their sequence.
Hess follows this discussion with a discussion of the Confederate cannonading barrage, and the Union response, that proceeded the infantry advance. Again, he shifts his focus from the Confederate side of the line, and the effect of the cannonading on the Union, to the Union response and its effect on the Confederacy. He spends a great deal of time explaining the decision of the Union artillerists to hold their fire and the disagreement this decision provoked with General Hancock. This theme pervades the book and is well-treated. Hess concludes that the cannonading was about one hour in duration before the infantry charge,(i.e. from about 1:00p.m. to 2:00p.m.) contrary to some other accounts which make it substantially longer.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Move over Stewart...! August 2, 2002
Move over Stewart and other authors who have written about Pickett's Charge, Earl Hess is the new sheriff in town! Hess leaves the polictics and modern day views of the battle far away and gets down to just the battle itself. Hess is careful to explain Confederate positions on the morning of July 3rd with great detail. Gibbon and the First Corps, Hay's Division and other Federal Unit positions are closely written about as to time and place. The bombardment is covered from Confedarate and Union perspective which I found to be very helpful in questions that I had in understanding time and effect. Hess is careful in explaining not only Pickett's Division's crossing but also covers Pettigrew's assault completely. What is interesting is that each segment or piece of time of the battle is presented from both Union and Confederate view points. I liked reading about how Gibbon's Division prepared and fought as well as I liked reading about Pickett's men reaching the stone wall. Cadmus Wilcox's futile attempts to support Pickett along with evening accounts from both sides complete this lengthy and thorough book. Hess' exhaustive detail and care make this book an important asset to one understanding Pickett's Charge. Without a doubt it my new favorite on the subject.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a book! February 6, 2002
This book is about as well a researched work as I have seen in a while. That in itself is enough to gain high marks for Mr. Hess and his effort but there is more. The writing style is super. It is very hard for any writer to go into the details of a military action without the account becoming very dry. Mr. Hess does as good a job of this as I have ever seen. He does this be adding in personal stories from average soilders not just generals. At least that is how I think he does it but however he pulls it off this book is a great read. Sometimes one just can't put it down.
I guess that being from Tennessee I was also happy to see that Mr. Hess gave due credit to the Tennessee and North Carolina troops involved in the attack. Hess points out that Lee simply used Pettigrew's division because it was handy even though it had been chewed up on July 1st. Still the division did well. Especially the the brigades from North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama. The only brigade to shame itself was indeed a Virginia brigade. Hess does a fine job of pointing out that almost every soilder involved on both sides answered the call of duty in fine fashion. The bravery of Union troops who could have broken and ran in the face of such an attack is often overlooked but not by Hess.
Finally, Hess draws some conclusions at the end of the book with which the reader might not agree. Agree or not the book presents its case and allows the reader to decide for themselves after reading a clear argument for the conclusion.
Any student of the Civil War or of Gettysburg needs this book. No matter how much a reader has learned about Gettysburg they will find new information here. Worth the price and more!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Great for individual accounts; doubtful as to infantry maneuvers;...
The strong point of this work is its presentation of many interesting accounts of individual actions before, during and after Pickett's Charge. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Nothing new.
Published 7 months ago by Carroll Kemp, Jr.
3.0 out of 5 stars Historians will love it but the average reader may find it daunting
A most thorough approach to a single battle.
Historians will love it but the average reader may find it daunting. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Donald Davison
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but......
I like the book overall but the level of detail sometimes became tough to get through. Found myself skimming sections to move on to the next chapter
Published 10 months ago by Brad Ersly
5.0 out of 5 stars Just wonderful
I have read many books on Pickett's Charge in the last 50 years and this is the best and most inclusive of what new info has been found in historical archives. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Percy Dovetonsils
5.0 out of 5 stars Meticulously researched
Outstanding work and an easy read! Having read George Stewart many years ago, and having taken his work as authoritative on this matter--but having encountered some questions... Read more
Published 19 months ago by William F. Feus
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done history of a famous event
Earl Hess has written an excellent history of the last major event at Gettysburg. He explains how the charge was conceived and then poorly planned and executed. Read more
Published 21 months ago by R Colton
5.0 out of 5 stars Gave great detail. Description of geography was very helpful....
to tour battlefield and it was a great help especially if you want to walk the path of the attack.
Published 22 months ago by Tom Eisenhauer
1.0 out of 5 stars Picketts Charge, The Last Attack at Gettysburg
I agree that the Battle of Gettysburg and Pickett's charge were actual events; However the rest of this book is fiction. Read more
Published on December 14, 2012 by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Pickets Charge
I am so happy with this book,i saw it in a library and wanted my own copy and am thrilled i now have one of my own.
its in perfect condition thankyou for making it available.
Published on June 17, 2012 by Erwin O. Vehs Jr.
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