J. David Petruzzi and Steven Stanley are perhaps the most popular duo currently writing Civil War books. The combination of Petruzzi’s entertaining and informative prose and Stanley’s maps and graphics provide a rich, rewarding reading experience that is both visually entertaining and educational. Their latest collaboration with publisher Savas Beatie, The New Gettysburg Campaign Handbook, continues in this tradition of excellence. Chock full of interesting and useful tidbits on Gettysburg facts and anecdotes, this lavishly illustrated book is a must have for the Gettysburg collector and history buff.
New books on the Gettysburg Campaign come out seemingly every month, but this one stands out from the crowd. First is the exceptional use of color — the pages themselves are all tinted to appear as if 150 years old, a nice touch courtesy of Steve Stanley. Many pages have multiple photographs or artwork, and as one thumbs through the book for the first time, it is the color and presentation that pops out.
The contents are equally impressive…
The first section is entitled, Did You Know?, and contains trivia, a summary of weather conditions during the campaign (from 19th century eyewitness Professor Michael Jacobs of Penn College), Medal of Honor recipients, and a brief examination of some of the most enduring controversies, myths, and misconceptions about the Battle of Gettysburg.
The second section provides a series of selected quotations from participants and onlookers to the campaign and the battle itself. These “Gettysburg Voices” offer a glimpse into the mindset of the Union and Confederate soldiers who marched to Gettysburg in late June 1863 and then fought in one of history’s greatest battles.
A lengthy section entitled “The Gettysburg Campaign” gives a useful overview of key movements and combat action. Dozens of colorful maps give the reader a strong sense of the tactics and decisions of the commanders.
J. D. and Steve then present “Images of Gettysburg,” a selection of photographs of Union and Confederate officers and men, as well as civilians and vintage photos of the battlefield and information about the most prominent photographers who came to Gettysburg.
This excellent handbook concludes with a section on “Gettysburg Today,” with tips on visiting the town and battlefield, with a focus on must see places. Useful resource such as websites and some leading books are also presented to assist the battlefield tramper and casual tourist wanting more detailed information.
I summarized the book on the back cover as “an indispensable and valuable guide that combines fabulous graphics, photography, and detailed maps with a crisp, lucid text that will delight scholars, history buffs, and battlefield trampers alike. Another ‘must-have’ winner from Savas Beatie!”
The New Gettysburg Campaign Handbook, June 9 – July 14, 1863: Facts, Photos, and Artwork for Readers of All Ages
J. David Petruzzi and Steven Stanley
Savas Beatie, 2011
soft cover, 184 pages, dozens of photographs, maps, and illustrations