I am reading a lot about Gettysburg, lately, having finished Stephen Sears’ excellent history of the battle, and Harry Pfanz’s “Gettysburg, the First day,” a well-written, detailed and valuable history of the first day of the battle. I was going to re-read Pfanz’s book on the second day, but I noticed a new book, on the market, “Cain at Gettysburg,” by Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters, a well-known military commentator and author; a fictional account of the Battle, it looks good, and I will probably get it. I always like to read books by active duty soldiers; you can’t get closer to the front than this
“A great retelling of the Battle of Gettysburg, Cain had my complete attention. Ralph Peters challenges the notion that everything that can be written about this battle has been. His approach is fresh, original, and outstanding in every respect.” —General Sid Shachnow, U.S. Army Special Forces (ret.)
What fascinates me, though, is how Gettysburg still knocks out the books; Sears’ and Pfanz’s books were written within the past few decades, and Newt Gingrich wrote a superb alternative history of the Battle also within the past decades. Despite the hundreds of books written on the battle since 1863, new and exciting books are still coming out on a regular basis. One wonders when it will stop…there is something about that battle grips people’s imaginations. I can’t explain what it is.
For those who want to immerse themselves in the battle, here are a few of the best books on the subject;
“The Gettysburg Campaign,” Edward Coddington – Not about the battle but about the campaign leading up to it.
“Gettysburg” – Stephen Sears – Well written, readable and detailed history of the entire battle.
“Gettysburg, the First Day,” Gettysburg, the Second Day,” “Gettysburg, Culps’s Hill and Cemetery Hill,” – Harry Pfanz – Well written, readable and detailed history of each day of the battle, for those who love intimate details of every aspect of the battle.
“Gettysburg,” – Newt Gingrich and William Fortschen. – One of the controversies of the battle is why it was fought at all; The Union had a superb defensive position, and Lee’s Lieutenant, James Longstreet, said, “if the enemy is still there, it is because he WANTS us to attack him.” Longstreet wanted to move around the flank. Gingrich covers this alternate possibility; what might have happened had Lee actually done this. It is very believable, and quite good as a novel, also.