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The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command Paperback – March 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 866 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (March 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684845695
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684845692
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

As a Civil War student, I consider this book to be the best out there on Gettysburg.
Michael J. Sopher
While his writing style can be somewhat slow at times, he knows his material very well, and does a good job of relaying the information to the reader.
T. Parry
Coddington's book has traditionally been held as the single best volume on Gettysburg.
Daniel Hurley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
Edwin Coddington's (1905-1963) "The Gettysburg Campaign" (1963) remains not only the seminal account of the Battle of Gettysburg but also a model of Civil War and historical writing. The book is an inspiring example of scholarship at its best. Coddington writes in a clear, eloquent, yet non-polemical style as he explores his subject. He does not back away from offering opinions and conclusions, which flow clearly from his narrative account. The reader can understand the basis of the judgments which Coddington offers. The account is detailed and yet selective. Coddington focuses on the broad picture of the Gettysburg story without getting bogged down in the minutae and legends that mar some otherwise excellent treatments of this battle. Coddington focuses on "why" things happened as well as "what" happened. The reader is given a context for the Gettysburg campaign and is seldom at a loss over the reason the author is discussing and devoting time to an issue. The book is thoroughly documented and the footnotes include much essential material.
Coddington begins with a lengthy consideration of the factors that led Robert E. Lee to propose an invasion of the North following the Battle of Chancellorsville. He concludes with a discussion of the Confederate retreat from Gettysburg, culminating in the return to Virginia on July 14, 1863. He discusses well the Union pursuit and considers judiciously whether Meade should have been more aggressive in trying to cut off the fleeing foe.
I found the factual account comprehensive on the major points of the Battle and careful and circumspect in its conclusions.
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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful By sweetmolly on December 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
--read Coddington. But not until you have read a few other accounts (Catton, Friedman, & Foote or whoever else strikes your fancy) and visited the site with one of their experienced guides.
This is a massive book, written by a scholar and sometimes the writing is dry, but never passionless. It is meticulously researched and foot noted. I use it as a reference constantly; therefore, I'm nearly at the place to buy another copy for show and hide my battered, much thumbed (eye tracks all over it!) much beloved book where only I can find it.
I find it very balanced with no hero worship for either side. He does go into detail about Meade that I find invaluable. Meade is the forgotten man at Gettysburg. Ask any average citizen who was the winning general of the battle--I'll save you some time. They don't know.
Some very minor quibbles. He refers to Col. Chamberlain as "Josh." Chamberlain vastly preferred to be called "David," and I am sure would never have answered to "Josh." Longstreet is treated somewhat harshly (I am a Longstreet fan), but, as the general himself defended his actions in print until his dying day, he is not in need of rescuing from Coddington.
A fine definitive work. I am saddened that Dr. Coddington did not live to see his fine work published and praised.
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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Olmsted on April 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
While most books regarding Gettysburg focus on the three days of the battle, Coddington takes the time to review the entire campaign, helping to explain why the battle was fought where and when it was. His analysis of Lee's difficulties with his new command structure provide an excellent explanation of the consistent failures of the Army of Northern Virginia to take advantage of the slow Federal arrival at the battlefield and Meade's errors. In short, if you're looking for a comprehensive review of the Gettysburg Campaign and the Battle of Gettyburg accompanied with incisive analysis, try this book.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By T. Parry on November 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
"The Gettysburg Campaign" was the life work of Edwin B. Coddington. He unfortunately died before its publication, but his and his book's influence stretches well into the modern day. "The Gettysburg Campaign" is a monumental work that leaves very little to be desired. Every aspect of the campaign, which began with the Union defeat at Chancellorsville on May 5, 1863 and ended on July 15, 1863 with Confederate retreat across the Potomac, is covered in this book. While his writing style can be somewhat slow at times, he knows his material very well, and does a good job of relaying the information to the reader. However, for someone who does not know much about the battle, it can be a bit overwhelming. His battle descriptions are crisp and detailed, but lack the excitment of an experienced writer. This is his only fault.
This book is not for someone who is new to Civil War studies and to fully grasp what he is saying, I would suggest that you visit the battlefield first and get a tour. This will make a the book much less ambiguous, especially because the maps included are not very clear. I have read this book four times, and each time, I come away amazed at everything that occurred during this epic battle. If you truly want to understand the battle of Gettysburg and its place in Civil War history, Coddington's masterpiece is a must own.
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