A BOOK REVIEW by Rod Haynes
Has there been more than enough research and discussion focusing on the battle of Gettysburg over the past 150 years? No. In spite of all that has been said and written about this remarkable event, there is room for more. A brand new book offers a unique take on the most famous battle ever fought on American soil. In GETTYSBURG 1863: SEETHING HELL, author Thomas R. Pero's unusual creative story-telling techniques about the titanic, bloody collision between General George Meade's Army of the Potomac and General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia on three oppressively hot July days in eastern Pennsylvania in 1863, relates a familiar history lesson in new ways. Author Pero offers a remarkable blend of; (1) written accounts of ordinary soldiers in the battle, including pictures, diaries, and letters; (2) actual black and white photographs of the battlefield taken a day after the shooting stopped are expertly co-mingled with ; (3) modern black and white photographs—not colorized shots which would disrupt continuity—of 21st century re-enactment soldiers engaged in “fighting and dying” on site at Gettysburg National Military Park, right where these fights took place. These digitally altered, up-close photos of the battle’s victims and their ghastly wounds, shock reader sensibilities to the core; (4) lastly, the book artfully demonstrates how the topography at Gettysburg was a critical factor in its outcome, culminating in Picketts Charge on July 3, 1863. We revisit famous sites like Culps Hill and Seminary Ridge, the Wheat Field and Peach Orchard near the Emmitsburg Road, and the strategically-important elevations of Little and Big Round Tops anchoring the far left end of the Union line on July 2 and 3, 1863. As a final historical garnish, colorful map inserts mark the exact spots where the soldiers depicted in GETTYSBURG 1863—Rebels and Yankees receive equal billing—fought and died. There were over 50,000 total casualties at Gettysburg. Importantly, common soldiers are exclusively featured in author Pero’s story, instead of the usual parade of prominent military personalities (Lee, Longstreet, Meade, and Hancock, and other famous officers) that tend to dominate many Gettysburg histories. I own over 200 books on the Civil War, many focusing on this particular battle. Thomas Pero’s book is a welcomed addition to my collection. I highly recommend buying it.
Title/Author…GETTYSBURG 1863: SEETHING HELL by Thomas R. Pero
Price.................$75.00 (+) $15.00 S&H