New & notable book: 150 years later, author Rod Gragg revisits Gettysburg

Posted Sunday, Jun. 16, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
More information The Illustrated Gettysburg Reader: An Eyewitness History of the Civil War’s Greatest Battle By Rod Gragg Regnery History, $29.95

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The Battle of Gettysburg was a pivotal and bloody fight in the Civil War. Historians have long studied the war’s deadliest battle, so it’s not surprising that author Rod Gragg (he’s also a journalist) marks the 150th anniversary with The Illustrated Gettysburg Reader: An Eyewitness History of the Civil War’s Greatest Battle.

Gragg narrates as he introduces readers to people who experienced Gettysburg firsthand. The technique is seamless as he begins with Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s push into Pennsylvania, and what Lee hoped would be a decisive win against the Union. Gragg uses the diary of Lt. Hermann Schuricht of the 14th Virginia Cavalry to tell the mood of the troops as they prepared to fight.

The battle was fought July 1-3, and Gragg recounts each day. The book is filled with first-person accounts and photographs of many of those cited, as well as photos and artwork of the battlefield. Gragg’s approach makes for a lively and sometimes chilling account. He highlights the randomness of war and death, touching on the accounts of those who survived, despite thinking that they wouldn’t, and those who knew they were dying, including the search for a family pictured in a photograph found in the hand of a dead Union soldier.

— Jean Marie Brown

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