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Twilight at Little Round Top: July 2, 1863--The Tide Turns at Gettysburg (Vintage Civil War Library) Paperback – October 9, 2007

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0307386632 ISBN-10: 0307386635 Edition: Reprint

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Vivid. . . . Eloquent. . . . Here is the real story of the epic fight for Little Round Top.”
—Stephen W. Sears, author of Gettysburg

“Fascinating. . . . An eloquently written narrative. . . . A fine example of military and social history.”
The Civil War News

“A gem. . . . LaFantasie’s beautifully written narrative goes beyond the movement of troops to provide an understanding of who the men were who fought there...and how the grim afternoon shaped their lives.”
America’s Civil War

“Lively. . . . Readable. . . . There is something weirdly magical about [Little Round Top] and it has lacked a definitive history until now.” —The Journal of Southern History

About the Author

Glenn W. LaFantasie is the Frockt Family Professor of Civil War History and the Director of the Center for the Civil War in the West at Western Kentucky University. He is the author of Gettysburg Requiem: The Life and Lost Causes of Confederate Colonel William C. Oates (OUP, 2006), and he has also written for several magazines and newspapers, including American History, North and South, MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, The New York Times Book Review, America's Civil War, Civil War Times Illustrated, and The Providence Journal. He lives with his wife in Bowling Green.

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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Civil War Library
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (October 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307386635
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307386632
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #537,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 31, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Battle of Little Round Top and the courage of Colonel Joshua Chamberlain and the 20th Maine have exercised a hold on many Americans understanding of the battle of Gettysburg. Chamberlain's role became viewed as larger-than-life following Michael Scharra's novel, "The Killer Angels" and its subsequent television and movie adaptations. A degree of reaction has set in, as some historians question the significance of Little Round Top to the outcome of Gettysburg and the legendary status accorded to Chamberlain.

Glenn Lafantasie's "Twilight at Little Round Top" presents an account of this celebrated battle that manages to be both heroic and gripping as well as sober and balanced. LaFantasie is a former historian at the State Department who has written extensively on the Civil War. He has read and thought about the extensive literature on Little Round Top to produce a reflective study.

The most notable aspect of LaFantasie's study is the variety of perspectives he conveys. At times, LaFantasie speaks in the voice of various soldiers who participated in the battle, both Union and Confederate. We learn about historically obscure infantrymen and their motivations, their lives before the War and thereafter. We also see a great deal of the officers who became famous on Little Round Top. LaFantasie gives the reader a great deal of Chamberlain, but he shows the reader the many other heroes as well. Before the recent focus on Chamberlain, Briagadier General Gouverneur Warren was regarded as the "Savior of Little Round Top", and LaFantasie gives him a great deal of sympathetic attention. Strong Vincent, Paddy O'Rourke, and Stephen Weed, all of whom repulsed assaults on Little Round Top at least as forceful as the assaults Chamberlain faced, are given the attention they deserve.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Thomas G. Brennan on July 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
Dr. LaFantasie has written a meticulously researched, eminently readable vloume on the battle that may have saved the Union line at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863. Most Americans are familiar with Little Round Top by way of Ron Maxwell's "Gettysburg". This in its own right is a masterpiece, but like most cinema, it compresses and highlights certain elements at the expense of others. Dr. LaFantasie writes with a sense of the language of the 19th century, delving deeply into the thoughts of the men involved as they later recorded in their journals and letters. Of particular interest is the reaction of the men to the death of comrades and fellow soldiers. The three day battle exposed them to the suffering of the dying, often beyond their reach, and the visible presence of the bodies, decaying under the hot sun. The glory and boldness of war had become an ongoing tragedy, something to be endured and overcome. The emotional burden would go on for years after the war. There are many books about Gettysburg, many are well written, researched and noted. This is one of the best of the best.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By P. McCarthy on March 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thirty-five years have passed since I first read Michael Shaara's "The Killer Angels" and Shelby Foote's "The Civil War". These two works served to instill in me a passion for the study of the Battle of Gettysburg, and after two long visits - and innumerable hours of reading - that passion still exists.

Being from Mississippi, my interest in the battle focused primarily upon the efforts of Barksdale's brigade, as well as the incredible sacrifice of the 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment. Not much attention was paid to the conflict on the southern end of the battlefield; in fact on my first real visit to Gettysburg, I didn't even visit the Round Tops. Today, a visit to the Gettysburg National Military Park is not complete without standing before the monuments to Col. Strong Vincent, Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren, and the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

Much of the interest in the fight for Little Round Top that exists today came about because of the 1993 movie entitled "Gettysburg" which loosely adapted Shaara's novel, and served to highlight the heroic stand of the 20th Maine, and its commanding officer Col. Joshua L. Chamberlain. It is well that such interest has been generated, for academic efforts such as Dr. Lafantasie's "Twilight at Little Round Top" have received popular as well as critical attention.

Dr. Glen Lafantasie has undertaken an exhaustive research of the men and units involved in the fight for the left flank of the Union lines on July 2, 1863 - the Second Day. His book serves to provide not only the details, as best as they can be put together, of what happened on LRT, but also what was going through the minds of those who fought there.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By WAL on July 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
This telling of the struggle for Little Round Top on July 2 during the Battle of Gettysburg is an interesting combination of history, what I would term historical imagination, and sociology. It is written from the perspective of those who have internalized the Civil War to where it is a current rather than historical event, one that grasps the imagination as if it were something ongoing. The basic technique is to take the established, documented history of the fighting for Little Round Top and give it immediacy by describing the inferred emotions of selected participants while at the same time filling in the gaps in our historical understanding, thereby creating the illusion that a definitive, fully realized description of this fighting has been obtained. The `historical imagination' aspect is expertly accomplished by using the established history as a framework on which to construct a screenplay-type of synthesis of the actions, motivations, and emotions of a selected group of participants. This is applied to the fighting itself, but the book then strangely morphs into a sociological discussion of death in mid-19th century America in the final chapters.

While the story-telling is compelling, as military history, "Twilight at Little Round Top" has a number of weaknesses. The author makes a series of incorrect or out-of-context assertions (undoubtedly to support later conclusions on the significance of the battle), for example that the Emancipation Proclamation transformed the war into a "crusade for freedom", that the Emancipation Proclamation signaled the beginning of "modern war", that the Army of Northern Virginia began its northern movement "virtually undetected", and so on.
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