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Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War Mass Market Paperback – April 5, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
This well-executed alternative history imagines a Confederate victory at Gettysburg. Former House speaker Gingrich (Contract with America) and historical fiction author Forstchen (Down to the Sea) create a plausible scenario: Robert E. Lee resolves to command, rather than merely coordinate, the efforts of that gaggle of prima donnas known as the high command of the Army of Northern Virginia. Thus, when he leads them into battle against the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg, he does not commit his soldiers to a desperate head-butting on the ground chosen by the Union's General Meade. Instead, he maneuvers around the Union flank, placing his tightly run army between Meade and Washington, D.C., scooping up Union supplies and forcing Meade to launch desperate attacks with disastrous results for the Union cause. The authors show thorough knowledge of the people, weapons, tactics and ambience of the Civil War, though their portrayals of historical figures like Lee, Meade, James Longstreet and Richard Ewell betray a certain bias (the Confederate men are noble and wise, the Union leaders hot-tempered and vindictive). The novel has a narrative drive and vigor that makes the climactic battle scene a real masterpiece of its kind (it's not for the weak of stomach). The military minutiae probably makes the book inaccessible to anyone who's not a Civil War buff or military fiction fan, but those two sizable groups will find this a veritable feast.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, the universally acknowledged turning point in the Civil War, by which the forces of Robert E. Lee were turned back from their invasion of Northern territory and from which the Confederacy was never to recover, is endlessly studied, most recently in the definitive, compelling Gettysburg by Stephen Sears [BKL My 1 03]. Historian and former speaker of the House of Representatives Gingrich and cowriter Forstchen, a veteran author of historical fiction, present an alternative version of this famous and consequential battle; in their intriguing scenario, General Lee finds success in routing the Union army. The authors' thorough understanding of what did actually happen at that fateful confrontation obviously stands behind their imaginative revision; what went right for the Union army and wrong for the Confederate forces is believably switched here. How the real turn of events could have turned out otherwise is carefully offered in vivid battle descriptions and well-considered alternative strategies. Readers should be forewarned, though: they may come away from this exciting novel believing events really did happen this way. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
As it turns out I was very wrong in my assumptions about this series … it’s terrific. I don’t know how much each author contributed, but it doesn’t matter. In my opinion, this book is among the best alternative histories I’ve read. The book’s initial turning point is believable, and the various branches the story takes after that are also solidly grounded. The writing is top notch, both entertaining and easy to digest, and the various historical persona in the books generally track closely to their true-life counterparts. There are a few minor exceptions, but I can make allowances there in the name of making the story more interesting.
If well written, impeccably plotted historical war fiction is a genre you like, then this trilogy is a must-buy. Five stars.
Among another few discrepancys I found the the book extremely gripping, and it did project me into the era and I found myself being drawn into the anticipation of the various battles projected. I would recommend the book, however if the reader has any sense of the history of the battle he should know the writers intent, and not expect the historical accuracy.