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Gettysburg by Newt Gingrich
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486432,639 (3.81)4
Instead of attacking on the third day, General Lee flanks the Federals, cutting them off from Washington, D.C. and their supplies. Staring at the face of disaster, the Federals are forced into a desperate fight to survive.



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Showing 4 of 4
Gettysburg, by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen

This book is set during the US Civil War, specifically in the last days of June and first days of July, 1863. It is about the officers and how they interact. The men of both sides were well acquainted with each other, and in many cases, had served with one or more of the leaders on the other side. Even the individual solders would face friends, and sometimes relatives across the battlefield.

Both authors hold PhD.s in history, William Forstchen has authored numerous books of historical fiction and science fiction. The authors hold the position that history can best be understood by examining alternatives to what happened in history, looking at the events and the people to hypothesize what might have been. This book examines what could have happened if Robert E. Lee had taken a different tactic at Gettysburg.

The book is primarily told in dialog form. In this manner, we get to know the generals on a personal level. We get a feel for how they think and how they interact with each other, and with their enemies.

Gettysburg goes further to give a feel for battle of the era. We see the effects of the fog of war, and the difficulty of decisions when mens' lives are on the line. And we are made to feel the guilt at sending men to their deaths. The battles are described in a bit too much detail for my taste. It is gruesome and bloody and seems futile at times. The authors describe the weapons, primarily the rifles used and cannons, and their affects on the troops, both as individuals and as formations.

Gettysburg provides a few photos and images of maps throughout the book that I felt the photos were very well selected. These appear to be prints from daguerreotypes, mostly of men, in formation or relaxed. Some images are of the dead, on the field or lined for identification or burial. There are also a few maps. These images are not bloody, and fairly benign. Although they do not directly relate to the story, they do set the stage for it, and I felt these pictures did add a lot. I do wish there were captions explaining a bit of what I was looking at.

I did enjoy this book ,and feel that anyone with a casual interest in the US Civil War will enjoy it, too. ( )
  Nodosaurus | Sep 16, 2010 |
Gingrich’s alternate history is one of the best of that kind. He gives an alternate ending for the course and end of the battle. But he uses that fiction to present a great deal of truth in a style that is more comfortable and readable than most histories. His characters are historic, and their personalities are brought to life. His terrain, politics, and life styles also present truths. Since it is fiction, the footnotes, self-justification, and argument about other views that clutter most history books can be omitted.

My personal reaction is to thank Newt for a great story and a look into the times. He calls forth an emotional response of pride in both sides, tears at the tragedy, and some fear about the nature of man. If you like a good story or are an American History nut; this is a must read. ( )
2 vote ServusLibri | Oct 12, 2009 |
Kind of a guilty pleasure, about on the order of Cornwell's Sharpe books. I was dubious of this one, but it swept me up. Good characterization and pretty good battle scenes. The last fifty pages or so suffer for pulling out too wide and trying to afford a God's-eye view of the battle ... I liked it better when each section of the campaign was more intimately viewed through the eyes of a single viewpoint character. What I didn't expect to enjoy so much about this book was the alt-history aspect ... it really added to the experience by not knowing what was going to happen next. You have to be a Gettysburg geek to get the most out of this one, but if you've walked the battlefield and read Killer Angels a time or two, you will likely find someting to enjoy here. And I suppose I will read the next one in the series, too ... ( )
  goldenboat | Jun 2, 2007 |
Gingrich's novel of what may have happened if the South was victorious. Historically accurate as to the places, people, and times. An interesting hypothisis that is well thought out and based on letters and documents of the era. ( )
  MikeD | Nov 25, 2005 |
Showing 4 of 4
Gettysburg is believable and beautifully written.... Every bit as good as Michael Sharra's The Killer Angels.
Surprisingly plausible, written with compelling narrative force and meticulous detail."
added by DeathByPain | editThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution (pay site) (Jul 4, 2003)
If a good romance novel is known to lovers of the genre as a “bodice ripper,” then this vivid war story is a “tunic ripper” that, alas, features no romance (unless it is that between the authors and their fictional Gen. Robert E. Lee) but drives home every cliche of bloody 19th-century warfare with whistling, smoking, bone-crunching verve.
Well-executed alternative history. The authors show thorough knowledge of the people, weapons, tactics, and ambience of the Civil War. A veritable feast. The novel has a narrative drive and vigor that make the climactic battle scene a real masterpiece of its kind.
added by DeathByPain | editPublishers Weekly (May 12, 2003)

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Newt Gingrichprimary authorall editionscalculated
Forstchen, William R.main authorall editionsconfirmed
Gingrich, Newtmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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