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books about Gettysburg National Military Park (Pa.)
On a Great Battlefield: The Making, Management, and Memory of Gettysburg National Military Park, 1933–2013
Jennifer M. Murray
University of Tennessee Press, 2014
Library of Congress E475.56.M87 2014 | Dewey Decimal 974.843
Of the more than seventy sites associated with the Civil War era that the National Park
Service manages, none hold more national appeal and recognition than Gettysburg National
Military Park. Welcoming more than one million visitors annually from across the
nation and around the world, the National Park Service at Gettysburg holds the enormous
responsibility of preserving the war’s “hallowed ground” and educating the public, not
only on the battle, but also about the Civil War as the nation’s defining moment. Although
historians and enthusiasts continually add to the shelves of Gettysburg scholarship, they
have paid only minimal attention to the battlefield itself and the process of preserving,
interpreting, and remembering the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. In On a Great Battlefield,
Jennifer M. Murray provides a critical perspective to Gettysburg historiography by
offering an in-depth exploration of the national military park and how the Gettysburg
battlefield has evolved since the National Park Service acquired the site in August 1933.
As Murray reveals, the history of the Gettysburg battlefield underscores the complexity
of preserving and interpreting a historic landscape. After a short overview of early
efforts to preserve the battlefield by the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association
(1864–1895) and the United States War Department (1895–1933), Murray chronicles the
administration of the National Park Service and the multitude of external factors—including
the Great Depression, the New Deal, World War II, the Civil War Centennial, and
recent sesquicentennial celebrations—that influenced operations and molded Americans’
understanding of the battle and its history. Haphazard landscape practices, promotion of
tourism, encouragement of recreational pursuits, ill-defined policies of preserving cultural
resources, and the inevitable turnover of administrators guided by very different
preservation values regularly influenced the direction of the park and the presentation
of the Civil War’s popular memory. By highlighting the complicated nexus between preservation,
tourism, popular culture, interpretation, and memory, On a Great Battlefield
provides a unique perspective on the Mecca of Civil War landscapes.
Jennifer M. Murray, assistant professor of history at the University of Virginia’s College
at Wise, is the author of The Civil War Begins. Her articles have appeared in Civil War
History, Civil War Times, and Civil War Times Illustrated.
Summer Thunder: A Battlefield Guide to the Artillery at Gettysburg
University of Tennessee Press, 2010
Library of Congress E475.53.S77 2010 | Dewey Decimal 973.7349
Among the myriad books examining the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863), Summer Thunder is one of a kind. A terrific resource for is visitors to the national military park, it explores the clashing armies’ deployment of artillery throughout the battle—from one position to another, from one day to the next. Matt Spruill, a retired U.S. Army colonel and former licensed Gettysburg guide, carefully takes readers to every point on the battlefield where artillery was used, and combining his own commentary with excerpts from the Official Records and other primary sources, he reveals the tactical thinking of both Union and Confederate commanders.
Spruill uses a sequential series of thirty-five “stops,” complete with driving instructions and recent photographs, to guide readers around the park and orient them about where the opposing units were placed and what happened there. Detailed maps depict the battlefield as it was in 1863 and are marked with artillery positions, including the number of guns in action with each battery. Meanwhile, the passages from primary sources allow the reader to see key events as the actual participants saw them. The book also brims with information
about the various artillery pieces used by both sides, from howitzers to Parrott rifles and Napoleon field guns, and the critical role they played over the course of the battle, right up its outcome.
Summer Thunder devotes a chapter to each of the three days of the historic devotes a chapter to each of the three days of the historic Summer Thunder engagement between the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia. One can follow the battle chronologically in its entirety from Stop 1 to Stop 35, or concentrate on a specific day or a specific area. In fact, the maps and orientation
information are of such detail that the book can be used even without being on the battlefield, making it an invaluable reference work for expert and novice alike.