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The Road to Atlanta: Regimental Wargame Scenarios for the Atlanta Campaign May-June 1864
The Road to Atlanta: Regimental Wargame Scenarios for the Atlanta Campaign May-June 1864
by Brad Butkovich
Edition: Paperback
Price: $20.05
12 used & new from $16.04

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Civil War Miniatures Scenarios at Atlanta, Part 1, January 27, 2015
The Road to Atlanta: Regimental Wargame Scenarios for the Atlanta Campaign May-June 1864 is a well-designed scenario book on the Atlanta Campaign which allows users of many ACW miniatures rules sets to quickly and easily set up games in their format. The color maps are professionally designed with views showing all units and no units so you can better see how to create the playing surface. The Orders of Battle provide both PFDE and figure strengths for easy conversion to any basing model. Ratings are based on a four point system with suggestions for how to convert these to other ratings systems. Butkovich picks a wide variety of scenarios from the possible list, including skirmishes and a cavalry action but also giving users some of the major actions of the major battles of the campaign, including Resaca and Kennesaw Mountain.

The full list of scenarios is as follows:
Crow Valley, May 9th, 1864 (What If?)
Stevenson’s Attack, May 14th, 1864 (Historical)
McPherson at Resaca, May 14th, 1864 (Historical)
Lay’s Ferry, May 15th, 1864 (What If?)
Gilgal Church, June 15th, 1864 (Historical)
Latimer Farm, June 18th, 1864 (Historical, heavy skirmish)
Noonday Creek, June 20th, 1864 (Historical, cavalry)
Bald Knob, June 20th, 1864 (Historical, skirmish)
Pigeon Hill, June 27, 1864 (Historical and variants)
Cheatham Hill, June 27th, 1864 (Historical and variants)

If you’re a miniature war gamer using any rules set and any basing model, you’ll find that this scenario book works for you with very little conversion needed. Anyone interested in the Atlanta Campaign, even non-war gamers, will find value in this book. I’ve often found that utilizing the maps in a war game scenario booklet helps me better understand the flow and initial setup of a given fight. With The Road to Atlanta: Regimental Wargame Scenarios for the Atlanta Campaign May-June 1864 continues his line of excellent scenario books as well as his work on the Atlanta Campaign. The best part is this is only part one! Keep an eye out for the second installment focusing on the battles around Atlanta, coming soon…


Valor Athletics Inc. BD - 7 Power Rack with Lat Pull
Valor Athletics Inc. BD - 7 Power Rack with Lat Pull
Offered by stores123
Price: $525.99

75 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cheapest SOLID Rack for New and Intermediate Lifters, October 1, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My wife and I purchased the Valor BD-7 because we wanted to do a 3x5 or 5x5 program to lose weight and build muscle. You can't do those programs safely without a power rack or squat rack. I spent over a month debating whether I should get this rack or the PowerLine PPR200X Power Rack. I ultimately went with this rack because of the lat and low row cables thrown in for less price than if I had purchased the Power Line Rack plus the Lat add-on.

I have to applaud the reviews existing on this rack. They helped me to get all of the accessories I needed to make this rack useful from the moment I finished putting it together. A careful read of other reviews also allowed me to prevent problems before they might occur.

Valor must be reading these reviews, because as of September 2013 when I received this model, the instructions started with several pages of diagrams, but also included 4-5 pages of step by step suggestions to make the installation easier. The printed instructions helped make this a pretty simple experience. Just pay attention to where the various holes should face on the main beams and almost anyone can out this thing together. I am not exactly gifted in the common sense department, and I was able to put this together with my wife over about an hour and a half. It might help you to pull everything out, slap a small piece of tape on each piece, and label it. My wife did this and it made the job easier.

In addition to the above, here are some hints gathered from other reviews here and put to use by me on how to make installation and use a pleasant experience:

1. This rack has six plate holders, two on the lat pulldown and four total along the sides. However, they are STANDARD size plates holders. I would recommend getting 6 Body-Solid 8 Inch Olympic Adapter Sleeve w Hex Nut Locks. These are inserted over the plate holders and convert them to Olympic plate holders. I am impressed with the quality.

2. There are small balls with tiny metal cups on either side on the cables just before you attach bar attachments like tricep ropes or a lat pulldown bar. These exist both on the top cable and the bottom cable. Take some duct tape or electric tape and tape the cups to the balls on both sides so they don't accidentally strip your cable. Do this BEFORE attempting to use the cables.

3. You might want to purchase some kind of teflon spray or graphite to coat the pulley system with. Some reviews complained about the lack of smooth operation on the cables, but I did not seem to have this problem, even before I sprayed some lubricant on the pulleys and cables.

4. Use duct tape on the lat pulldown foam pad. It apparently flakes off. I purchased some black duct tape and wrapped it immediately upon installation.

5. Depending on your needs, you will probably want to purchase some more attachments for the lat pulldown and row. A really good one on Amazon is the Champion Cable Attachment Package Pack. You get a better quality straight bar, a triceps rope, and a v-bar. If you go heavier on the lat pulldown, I'd pick out a new lat pulldown bar too.

6. You will need to purchase weights and a barbell to go with this power rack. I'd suggest shopping locally, because the cost of shipping a 300 lb Olympic Weight set usually drives the price up online.

7. If you are planning on deadlifting off the floor, make sure you make yourself a solid platform to cushion the weight as it hits the ground. I used some 7/8 inch thick matting and I also hope to make a platform out of several pieces of 4 x 8 plywood in the near future.

8. Purchase shoes with flat soles or lift barefoot. You DO NOT want to try to squat or deadlift heavy with cushioned soles, the type found in running shoes and cross trainers. If you don't want to buy expensive weightlifting shoes, get some Chuck Taylor's. They'll do the trick on the cheap.

That's about it. I have myself an extremely solid power rack which should allow my wife and I to do heavy olympic lifts as safely as possible. Compared to doing heavy squats, this installation was a piece of cake!


The Knoxville Campaign: Burnside and Longstreet in East Tennessee
The Knoxville Campaign: Burnside and Longstreet in East Tennessee
by Earl J. Hess
Edition: Hardcover
21 used & new from $64.89

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First Modern Study of the Knoxville Campaign, November 6, 2012
This is a solid if not definitive campaign study of the Knoxville Campaign, the first modern study to appear. Hess writes well, relies on a multitude of primary sources, includes many maps of the action, and thoroughly describes the problems facing James Longstreet and Ambrose Burnside as they decided the fate of loyalist, mountainous East Tennessee. The book covers the action from mid-November 1863 through to April 1864, when Longstreet's decision to move back to Virginia finally ended the campaign. The focus is on the race to Knoxville from November 13-18, 1863 and the attack on Fort Sanders on November 29, 1863. Hess includes nice diagrams of the various Federal forts ringing Knoxville in a style similar to his fortifications trilogy. The author's discussion of East Tennessee is interesting and flows well with the rest of the book. An appendix at the back covers the legacy of the campaign on Knoxville in the decades following, including the encroachment of the town on the earthworks as well as veterans' reunions held in the city. Anyone interested in the war in the West will want to own this excellent new campaign study. It's a bit short at 293 pages of actual text to call it definitive, but this is a very good look at the Knoxville Campaign at a time when no other similar works are available.


Civil War Talks: Further Reminiscences of George S. Bernard and His Fellow Veterans (A Nation Divided: Studies in the Civil War Era)
Civil War Talks: Further Reminiscences of George S. Bernard and His Fellow Veterans (A Nation Divided: Studies in the Civil War Era)
by John Horn
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $26.75
30 used & new from $21.40

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Indispensable Set of First Person Accounts, Mainly from the 12th Virginia, October 5, 2012
George S. Bernard was a lifelong resident of Petersburg Virginia, and joined what became the 12th Virginia Infantry during the Civil War. In the 1890s, he released a collection of his own and other first person accounts entitled War Talks of Confederate Veterans. The book is freely available online and I encourage anyone reading this to go seek it out. What many do not know is that Bernard intended to publish a second volume of War Talks, but for unknown reasons was unable to do so in his lifetime. Enter editors Selby, Newsome, and Horn. They were separately working on two books based off of Bernard's papers, and fortunately were brought together and combined their work. They were able to find two proposed table of contents for "War Talks II" among Bernard's papers. Roughly basing this book on a combination of those proposed TOCs, the editors did for Bernard posthumously what he was unable to do himself while alive, release what is essentially War Talks II. The first War Talks focused heavily on the Siege of Petersburg, especially the Crater, because Bernard was especially interested in the Siege as a resident of Petersburg. This second volume is not as heavily focused on the Siege of Petersburg, though it does contain five full chapters on this often overlooked operation which covered most of the last nine months of the war in the east. The rest of the book covers other campaigns in the east in which Bernard was involved. Many of the reminiscences come from Bernard himself or from his comrades in the 12th Virginia. General William Mahone, who came into his own at the Siege of Petersburg, makes some appearances. The editors gleaned most of the items from Bernard's personal papers or via Richmond and Petersburg newspapers of the 1890's and 1900's, which published many of Bernard's "War Talks" at the Petersburg A. P. Hill Camp of Confederate veterans in the days following each talk. The end notes used on each page are fantastic, giving background information on the people, places, and events mentioned by Bernard and others in their first person reminiscences. This is a treasure trove of Confederate first person accounts rescued from the obscurity of late 19th Century newspapers and the personal papers of Bernard. Those interested in the Army of Virginia, especially its fighting at the Siege of Petersburg, will find this to be a very useful and interesting book. The editors also deserve praise for their annotation, editing, and detective skills. Buy this book. You will not regret it.


The Maps of Antietam: An Atlas of the Antietam (Sharpsburg) Campaign, including the Battle of South Mountain, September 2 - 20, 1862 (Savas Beatie Military Atlas)
The Maps of Antietam: An Atlas of the Antietam (Sharpsburg) Campaign, including the Battle of South Mountain, September 2 - 20, 1862 (Savas Beatie Military Atlas)
by Bradley M. Gottfried
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $26.56
35 used & new from $23.34

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW. Must Have Antietam Reference, August 1, 2012
WOW. I rarely use that word to start a review, but again, WOW. The Maps of Antietam continues the excellence established in previous Savas Beatie "Maps of ..." books. This heavy and well put together book contains 124 full color, full page maps. Let me state that again to let it be fully appreciated. This book has 124 maps at a time when many standard campaign studies contain 10 or less maps.

The breakdown of the maps and what they depict has been more than adequately covered by the three previous reviewers, so I'll take a different tack. Some subset of the people reading this review are probably wondering how this book compares to John Michael Priest's two books covering South Mountain and Antietam in the late eighties and early nineties. I own all three books and came up with the following attempt to answer that question, at least on a basic level. First, let's cover the most basic facts. John Michael Priest published Antietam: The Soldier's Battle in 1989. It contains 72 maps in black and white which cover the September 16-17, 1862 fighting at The Battle of Antietam. All of Priest's maps are very zoomed in. You see only a small portion of the battlefield, but you never see the full battlefield. The campaign is not covered at all. This book focuses exclusively on the Battle of Antietam. Shortly after the first book, Priest followed up with Before Antietam: The Battle for South Mountain. Seventy black and white maps cover the action from September 5-15, 1864 during the Maryland Campaign. This is, in essence, Priest covering the rest of the Maryland Campaign. He does have some more zoomed out campaign maps, but he also includes his bread and butter battle maps. Many of the battle maps in this book do not have the time clearly marked on them, a downside in what is a very micro-detailed tactical history of the fighting. In both books, Priest hand draws unit movements on what appear to be computer generated maps. The maps do look slightly less polished than completely computer generated maps would, but overall the effect is not displeasing. Most Priest maps, like those in The Maps of Antietam, cover periods ranging from 15 minutes to an hour. Like Gottfried, Priest uses hachures to depict elevation changes, and like Gottfried, the exact elevations are not written down along the hachures. At times, Gottfried's elevation marks tend to blend into fence lines, while Priest's generally do not suffer from this issue. Ironically, the black and white rendering is what reduces this issue at least in part. Priest does try to calculate numbers and losses in his order of battle, something Gottfried steered clear of. Both books depict regiments with their numerical designation rendered in a number followed by the state as its postal abbreviation. Examples include "5 TX" for the 5th Texas, and "2 WI" for the 2nd Wisconsin. Priest does not tie one page of text to one map on the facing page as Gottfried does. Instead, his maps appear every 2-3 pages and are close to the text they match up with, but not always without turning a page or two. In some cases maps appear on consecutive pages. Gottfried tries to synthesize accepted standard accounts of the fighting with some first person accounts thrown in to spice things up. Priest tends to focus almost entirely on first person accounts to the detriment of After briefly glancing through the three books, it is fair to say Gottfried's book is an updated and more readable version of events which provides the bigger picture as well as the infantryman's view of the fighting using color rather than black and white maps. Although I do not personally have time to do so, I'd love to see a detailed, multi-part set of blog entries focusing on some portion of the fighting at Antietam which covers the differences in what the maps depict between Sears, Priest, and Gottfried. I am sure there are subtle and not so subtle differences, but real life prevents me from engaging in such a fascinating exercise at this time.

My reviews rarely contain paragraphs solely devoted to the wargamers' perspective anymore, but the Savas Beatie "Maps of..." series is clearly a wargamer's dream. Creating literally dozens of scenarios for all of the fighting during the Maryland Campaign of 1862 just became much easier as a result of this book. Pair The Maps of Antietam with Scott Mingus' Antietam wargaming book containing the strengths and losses in the campaign and you'll have everything you need to wargame the campaign, including strengths at various times, casualties, unit quality, weapons carried, organization, and exact placement at various moments in time. Anyone interested in wargaming the Battle of Antietam, Harpers Ferry, or South Mountain will find these books indispensable.

Brad Gottfried has produced a stunningly beautiful, clearly readable, concise history of the Maryland Campaign which relies as heavily on maps as it does text. The 124 full color, full page maps are accompanied by standard accounts of the campaign on a facing page of text. Maps range from extremely zoomed out campaign maps to specific tactical actions on various portions of the battlefields of the Antietam Campaign. The text is fully sourced, and those sources provide a rich range of literature which students of the campaign will find useful as leads for further reading, especially of primary accounts. Wargamers will find this book tailor made to guiding their efforts at creating scenarios for the battles at South Mountain and Sharpsburg. Battlefield stompers will find the sturdy construction will allow for use while walking the ground over which these battles were contested almost 150 years ago. Anyone remotely interested in this campaign will want to own this well made, well designed, and fascinating look at the 1862 Maryland Campaign. Buy this book. You will not be disappointed.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 2, 2012 2:33 PM PDT


The Battle of New Market Heights: Freedom Will Be Theirs by the Sword (Civil War Sesquicentennial Series)
The Battle of New Market Heights: Freedom Will Be Theirs by the Sword (Civil War Sesquicentennial Series)
by James S. Price
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.82
25 used & new from $11.04

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Modern Study of This Underlooked Siege of Petersburg Battle, October 21, 2011
When asked to name the most important fight in which African-Americans participated during the American Civil War, most people would likely give the nod to The Battle of Fort Wagner, the topic of the famous movie "Glory". Most people would be wrong. On September 29, 1864, two brigades of Paine's USCT Division attacked the famous Texas Brigade and accompanying cavalry and artillery on New Market Heights, successfully storming a position which Union troops had failed to take on several previous occasions. Fourteen medals of honor were awarded for that performance, proving beyond a doubt that Black soldiers would and could fight as well as White men. The Battle of New Market Heights: Freedom Will Be Theirs By the Sword is the first book dedicated solely to this fight. Author Jimmy Price provides background on the United States Colored Troops regiments which fought at the battle, covers the fighting at the tactical level, delves into the resulting major controversies, and paints a grim and disturbing picture of modern day efforts to thwart preservation of the site. Like the Crater two months prior, the Battle of New Market Heights was an important step in proving African-Americans were the equals of White men as soldiers. Author Jimmy Price has provided a perfect stepping stone for further study of this overlooked and under appreciated battle. Those who enjoy detailed tactical histories of Civil War battles will find this to be a fine addition to their libraries. Students of the Petersburg Campaign will likewise want to own this book as it is yet another first time look at an individual battle of the siege. Those who want to understand the role of Black troops in the Union army should find this book to be an important piece of the puzzle. This book and this battle go beyond just the battlefield and point to important social and political fights as well. It is a fine addition to the Civil War literature on USCT regiments and the Siege of Petersburg.


Into the Crater: The Mine Attack at Petersburg
Into the Crater: The Mine Attack at Petersburg
by Earl J. Hess
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $33.29
22 used & new from $27.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book on the Crater So Far, January 25, 2011
Into the Crater: The Mine Attack at Petersburg is the best book on the Battle of the Crater, period. Hess uses the most sources, uses them well, and doesn't take anything for granted. He debunks some "facts" as myths and only further reinforces others. One of the foremost questions about the Crater battle involves the controversial massacre of Black troops by Confederate soldiers, and the author covers this topic well. In addition, Hess does a good job of placing the Battle of the Crater in the wider context of Grant's Third Offensive and the entire Siege of Petersburg. Many excellent maps are tied well to the text. This book is worth the cover price for the extensive bibliography alone. Civil War readers looking for a good military history "battle book" will love Into the Crater. In addition, anyone interested in the Battle of the Crater or the larger Siege of Petersburg will want to make this the centerpiece of their collection on this battle. Readers unfamiliar with the Petersburg Campaign but looking to learn more about this lengthy, sprawling conflict could do much worse than starting here. As a student of the Siege of Petersburg, I highly recommend this book.


Like a Meteor Blazing Brightly: The Short but Controversial Life of Colonel Ulric Dahlgren
Like a Meteor Blazing Brightly: The Short but Controversial Life of Colonel Ulric Dahlgren
by Eric J. Wittenberg
Edition: Hardcover
14 used & new from $79.95

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dahlgren's Short Life Was Packed with Excitement, May 24, 2010
Young Ulric Dahlgren, like his father Admiral John Dahlgren, had a burning ambition to rise as high as his many talents could take him. Unfortunately for Ully, his young life was cut short while he was in pursuit of those heights on a cavalry raid against Richmond. Matters took a bizarre turn when papers were found on his body which ordered his men to assassinate Jefferson Davis and other members of the Confederate government. Eric Wittenberg's new biography of Ulric Dahlgren, Like a Meteor Blazing Brightly: The Short But Controversial Life of Colonel Ulric Dahlgren, sets out to examine this ambitious and gifted young man's life, from promising upbringing to unfortunate end, including a nuanced look at the infamous "Dahlgren Papers."

Eric Wittenberg is a familiar name to many experienced Civil War readers. His Union cavalry expertise is well-known, with monographs on Stuart's Ride around the Union army on the way to Gettysburg, the battles of Trevilian Station and Brandy Station as well as a hard look at "Little Phil" Sheridan to his credit. He is known for his desire to and success at finding multiple new primary sources for his books, something he takes great pride in. It shows in his body of work to date. There aren't many, if any, writers better qualified in the field today to write a biography of this young cavalryman.

Ulric Dahlgren was born in Wilmington, Delaware in 1842, the son of famous Dahlgren gun inventor Admiral John Dahlgren. He grew up in Washington, D.C., and he was known by some of the most powerful men in the country up to and including presidents of the United States. Dahlgren's mother and sister died while he was a teenager. His Uncle Charles lived in Mississippi, eventually ending up on the Confederate side in the Civil War. Young Dahlgren was a man of many talents. He shared his father's aptitude for artillery and proved to be an excellent cavalryman and scout. Dahlgren's artillery expertise was so valued that he was sent to Harper's Ferry as a civilian in command of naval howitzers during Jackson's Valley Campaign. He later served in a non-civilian military capacity as Franz Sigel's de facto chief of artillery in the Army of Virginia. Later in 1862, Dahlgren led a daring raid into Fredericksburg. Fortuitously for Dahlgren, he was not tied so tightly to Sigel that the German general's dismissal from the Army of the Potomac caused him any pain. Instead Ully was assigned to new army commander Joseph Hooker's staff. He charged with Rush's Lancers at Brandy Station, captured a dispatch from Davis to Lee during the Gettysburg Campaign, and was ultimately wounded at Hagerstown, Maryland on July 6, 1863 during Lee's retreat to Williamsport and Falling Waters. This wound cost him his foot but he also gained a promotion to colonel, the youngest man to earn that honor in the Union army.

After recuperation at home and later with his father's fleet outside of Charleston Harbor, Ully became involved in what was eventuually known as the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid. Hugh Judson Kilpatrick was to lead a cavalry column against Richmond in late February 1862. Dahlgren was in charge of a picked command of less than 500 soldiers whose mission was to sneak into Richmond from the south while Kilpatrick threatened from the north. Dahlgren's men were to free the Union prisoners held in horrible conditions at Libby Prison and Belle Isle. The raid did not go according to plan and Dahlgren was killed in early March 1864, one month shy of his twenty-second birthday.

Papers were found on Dahlgren's body indicating his men were to assassinate key Confederate leaders and burn Richmond to the ground in addition to freeing prisoners. At that point Dahlgren became infamous in the South, and the controversy over the legitimacy of the Dahlgren Papers has raged to this day. Confederate First Lady Varina Davis had known Ully as a child in Washington, D.C. and couldn't reconcile that sweet little boy with the young man who had allegedly plotted to assassinate her husband. As he should in such a famous and controversial case, Wittenberg handles the evidence thoroughly as he is trained to do in his day job as a lawyer. His thoughts are laid out completely in an appendix. I won't ruin the surprise as to whether or not Wittenberg believes the Papers to be authentic or who he believes came up with the plan to assassinate Confederate leaders. The candidates for the author of the plan are some of the most powerful men in the United States at that time, however.

This book contained a surprising number of maps for a Civil War biography. These maps depicted all of Ully Dahlgren's most important fights, allowing a reader somewhat unfamiliar with the Civil War to understand what he was facing. As always, Wittenberg's primary sources are numerous and varied, showing a lot of dedication to sifting through as much information as possible on this much disputed subject.

Like a Meteor Blazing Brightly: The Short But Controversial Life of Colonel Ulric Dahlgren is a thorough, readable biography of a man viewed very differently in the North than in the South. Thoroughly researched and convincingly argued, this book will appeal to fans of cloak and dagger dealings, daring cavalry raids, and Civil War controversies. Little or no knowledge of the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid and the Dahlgren Papers is needed to enjoy this look at the short but incredibly ambitious, controversial, and risk-filled life of Ulric Dahlgren. Highly recommended.


The Complete Gettysburg Guide: Walking and Driving Tours of the Battlefield, Town, Cemeteries, Field Hospital Sites, and other Topics of Historical Interest
The Complete Gettysburg Guide: Walking and Driving Tours of the Battlefield, Town, Cemeteries, Field Hospital Sites, and other Topics of Historical Interest
by J. David Petruzzi
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $24.66
61 used & new from $12.88

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Than Just the Battlefield, September 11, 2009
As many reviews of this book have noted, using the word "complete" in a book title naturally throws up red flags for readers. The Complete Gettysburg Guide is one of those rare titles which live up to the high aspirations set by such an audacious title. Many Gettysburg books are tours of the battlefield action only. Co-contributors Petruzzi and Stanley have joined forces to provide readers with a book which delves deeper into this most famous of Civil War battlefields.

J. David Petruzzi is by now well-known among both Gettysburg and Civil War enthusiasts, co-authoring books on J.E.B. Stuart's ride to Gettysburg and the Confederate retreat after the battle with Eric Wittenberg. He is a long-time Gettysburg enthusiast who has visited the battlefield numerous times, making him a well-suited candidate to write this type of in depth tour guide title.

Steven Stanley, the cartographer/photographer for this the book, is equally well-suited to the task. He lives in Gettysburg, has had his maps appear in America's Civil War and Hallowed Ground magazines, and has been a student of the Civil War his entire adult life.

The Complete Gettysburg Guide is a hefty book for its size, well made and designed to last divided up into various tours, allowing the purchaser to decide which tours they want to take on a given trip to the battlefield. In addition to the usual battlefield tours, of which there are six in this volume, Petruzzi and Stanley also offer tours of the town itself, two cemeteries, the field hospitals erected after the battle and (my personal favorite) a tour of the rock carvings present on the battlefield. This last tour offers readers the opportunity to explore a feature of the battlefield rarely seen by the general public.

Each tour offers standard text penned by Petruzzi, tour directions on a green background, numerous maps, photos, and illustrations, and "Did You Know?" tidbits offering fascinating facts pertaining to each specific tour. The main text goes into the proper amount of detail, keeping veteran Gettysburg students interested while effectively introducing the battle to those new to the subject. The book is gorgeously laid out, with the maps and illustrations adding to the value of the book both aesthetically and by complementing the main text with more information. Tour maps show modern roads and mark out each tour stop with a circle. Maps showing troops movements include scale, different colors for the opposing armies, and lines of elevation. Steven Stanley's photos show the battlefield today from a variety of angles and in all seasons.

Some typos were noted, especially on the maps, something which future editions of the book should correct. I would have liked to have seen a spiral bound edition of this book for actually tramping the battlefield. As a collector, I will not be bringing this exceedingly handsome copy with me to Gettysburg. Currently the only solution is to buy a second hardcover copy, something not everyone can afford and one which is far from ideal.

A nice addition and one which more authors should utilize is a web site for the book, [...], offering "updates, supplements, and many other interactive features."

The Complete Gettysburg Guide is sure to please Gettysburg battlefield trampers and others interested in the Battle of Gettysburg, including everything associated with that massive and devastating event. The book goes beyond the battlefield, offering tours of other topics such as field hospitals, cemeteries, and the town of Gettysburg. Future authors of books in the Civil War tour guide genre would do well to emulate the format used in this book. This book truly is as "complete" as anyone touring the battlefield and surrounding areas could realistically want. Highly recommended!


The Maps of First Bull Run: An Atlas of the First Bull Run (Manassas) Campaign, including the Battle of Ball's Bluff, June-October 1861
The Maps of First Bull Run: An Atlas of the First Bull Run (Manassas) Campaign, including the Battle of Ball's Bluff, June-October 1861
by Bradley M. Gottfried
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $23.25
50 used & new from $12.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Making Sense of a Confusing Battle, September 11, 2009
What do you get when a publisher long known for its excellent maps actually creates a "Maps of ..." series of books? The answer, one example of which is the The Maps of First Bull Run, is absolute heaven for wargamers and students of the Civil War who are into strategy and tactics. Bradley M. Gottfried, the author of several Gettysburg books, including the "Maps of ..." series premiere with The Maps of Gettysburg, continues that format here in a smaller book which brings full color to the series.

The Maps of First Bull Run contains 51 full color maps rendered in great detail, both in the lay of the land and in the regimental and battery level data in recording troop movements. Union divisions, brigades, and regiments are rendered in blue while Confederate units are shown in red. Roads are typically a beige color with forest and fields drawn in green. Text showing the names of towns, homes, forts, and other features of the terrain are clearly shown in black font. Scale is also detailed on each map, as is the direction of north (which is not always up). Arrows are often used to show the thrust of various attacks and important areas of combat are labeled with circled numbers tied to the text. Speaking of the text, each map includes a full page of text clearly describing the action on the opposite page.

The only area which could use improvement is in modeling the elevation. Topographical lines of elevation would better reflect the respective heights of various hills rather than the "hash mark" method which was used. I suspect this was a decision which was discussed quite a bit, so I look forward to Savas Beatie's response as to why they went in this direction with the elevation model.

The Battle of First Bull Run was an often confusing affair, with wildly varying descriptions of what happened and when. I own quite a few books on the battle, some with many maps. Never before have I felt so sure of what actually happened on this first major battlefield of the war than after reading The Maps of First Bull Run. These maps are not usually overly zoomed in on a key piece of the action, allowing the reader to see what was transpiring behind the front lines. This trend in typical Civil War books is not generally followed in the "Maps of ..." series and is a refreshing change of pace. Bull Run expert Harry Smeltzer (founder of the First Bull Run site Bull Runnings) aided Gottfried with proofreading, fact-checking, and otherwise vetting the information contained in the book.

Readers need to delve deeper than the title to see how much is contained in this book. The subtitle gives a clearer picture of what else is included, in this case the Battle of Ball's Bluff. Ball's Bluff expert Jim Morgan was consulted heavily on this portion of the book, with his interpretation of this confused fight being used. Although not mentioned in the subtitle, the skirmish at Lewinsville on September 11, 1861 is also represented on one map.

Each map and its accompanying text have endnotes associated with them. Areas of disagreement among the sources are discussed to allow readers to recognize portions of the map which are in dispute, and there are more than a few. In any case, Gottfried backs up his maps with plenty of annotation and explanation.

This book, like The Maps of Gettysburg before it and like future volumes in this series, is a wargamer's dream come true. Numerous scenarios tied to the various maps in this book can be created. The large number of maps combined with the orders of battle for First Bull Run and Ball's Bluff give wargamers a wealth of information at their fingertips in one book.

The Maps of First Bull Run is a worthy addition to what is shaping up to be a massive series of map-based books on all of the major battles of the Civil War. Bradley Gottfried is planning to do the entire Eastern Theater on his own! Savas Beatie has also announced the upcoming Maps of Chickamauga by wargame designer, tour guide, and all-around Chickamauga expert Dave Powell, who has recently started the new Chickamauga Blog.

Readers for whom there can never be enough maps will love this book. The Maps of First Bull Run thoroughly covers the surging action on the slopes of Henry Hill and the confused panic at Ball's Bluff in amazing detail. Presenting these battles as a series of full color maps allows them to come alive like never before. Wargamers, battlefield trampers, and those interested in the tactical minutiae of Civil War combat will find this book to be a more than worthy addition to their Civil War libraries, as will anyone remotely interested in the military aspects of the Civil War. I will be looking forward to each and every volume in this series and I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 11, 2009 9:58 PM PDT


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