Best Book On Gettysburg

Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
This is a terribly subjective question. Rather than try to tell you what you should read, I will instead suggest what you shouldn't read:

1. Anything by Philip Thomas Tucker, Ph.D.
2. Guelzo's Gettysburg: The Last Invasion. The title isn't even accurate; the Confederates invaded Pennsylvania in the summer of 1864. This book makes allegations against Meade that are not supported by any credible evidence and is terribly slanted and unfair. Avoid at all costs.
 

Kurt G

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 23, 2018
I read Guelzo's book when it came out and was stunned at the positive reception . His treatment of Meade was terrible and not worthy of a true historian's work . It also won an award ! Soon after it came out I made a trip to Gettysburg and asked a ranger about his opinion of it after he had given a fine presentation at the Peach Orchard . The ranger had had Guelzo as an advisor while in college and had the same opinion as me about the book . When I asked him how Guelzo could have won an award for such a book , he replied that there was a lot of politics involved in academia . I will not name the ranger because he has become well known and I wouldn't feel right about sharing a private conversation .
 

Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
I read Guelzo's book when it came out and was stunned at the positive reception . His treatment of Meade was terrible and not worthy of a true historian's work . It also won an award ! Soon after it came out I made a trip to Gettysburg and asked a ranger about his opinion of it after he had given a fine presentation at the Peach Orchard . The ranger had had Guelzo as an advisor while in college and had the same opinion as me about the book . When I asked him how Guelzo could have won an award for such a book , he replied that there was a lot of politics involved in academia . I will not name the ranger because he has become well known and I wouldn't feel right about sharing a private conversation .
The award came from the same college where he taught at the time. Connect the dots....
 

JeffFromSyracuse

Corporal
Joined
Jul 6, 2020
Location
Philly Suburbs
Guelzo's Gettysburg: The Last Invasion. This book makes allegations against Meade that are not supported by any credible evidence and is terribly slanted and unfair. Avoid at all costs.
Kind of funny. I wrote a paper for Guelzo once that fully praised Meade's leadership at Gettysburg. Think he graded it generously, but did tell me my sourcing was one-sided.
 

rpkennedy

Lt. Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
May 18, 2011
Location
Carlisle, PA
For a one-volume general work on the battle, I would recommend either Stephen Sears or Noah Andre Trudeau.

Coddington is good but delves pretty deeply into the minutiae of the commands of the armies. It is very informative but is somewhat dated and generally doesn't go lower than brigade-level so if you want regimental details, you won't find it here.

There are probably hundreds of specialized topics so if there is something that you're interested in, I can give some suggestions.

Ryan
 

infomanpa

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Location
Pennsylvania
Let's organize the replies, which I agree with:
For one volume books, Coddington is the best of the 3. (Sears and Trudeau being the other 2)

However, if you want a more detailed granular account of the battle, I would read the Pfanz books. They cover most of the battle, except for the third day actions of Pickett's Charge and cavalry battle to the east.
 

ivanj05

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 8, 2015
For a quick, concise account of the battle I strongly recommend Woodworth's Beneath a Northern Sky. Not nearly as detailed as Sears or Trudeau, but covers all the important bits in a shorter read.
 

JerseyBart

Brigadier General
Moderator
Forum Host
Joined
Jul 19, 2006
Location
New Jersey
Kind of funny. I wrote a paper for Guelzo once that fully praised Meade's leadership at Gettysburg. Think he graded it generously, but did tell me my sourcing was one-sided.
Kinda how the college history experience goes: the professors have written books, you buy their books to be in their class, they given you their opinions from their book, you filled a blue book with their opinions for exams...boom, you got an A. If you disagreed, look out.

Also, to get back on the topic, Noah Andre Trudeau's book is in the mix of good books too.
 
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