The What Was . . . ? series provides introductory information on a host of historical topics, from the March on Washington to the California gold rush. This latest installment offers a strongly contextualized account of the bloodiest engagement of the Civil War and a mostly chronological discussion of the battle. Chapters, each beginning with a historical date, tell the story in a narrative format, but the story is effectively broken up with boxed biographies of such figures as Mathew Brady, Jeb Stuart, and Abraham Lincoln. Line drawings and maps along with actual photographs of key people, artifacts, and landmarks are littered throughout, bringing to life the complicated series of events. The Battle of Gettysburg is a perennial hot topic in nonfiction, but with its upcoming sesquicentennial, interest is sure to be at an all-time high, and this book is an excellent primer of its key themes. Grades 4-7. --Erin Anderson
About the Author
Jim O'Connor is the author of several nonfiction books including Jackie Robinson and the Story of All-Black Baseball.