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"What Is The Best Book On Gettysburg" Topic

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1,831 hits since 8 Dec 2011
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Comments or corrections?

TigerJon08 Dec 2011 7:56 p.m. PST


sneakgun08 Dec 2011 8:33 p.m. PST

I liked Killer Angels:


The Movie Gettysburg is based on it.

Personal logo Murphy Sponsoring Member of TMP08 Dec 2011 8:45 p.m. PST

Osprey's "Men Not At Arms" Series, "Underwear Patterns of The American Civil War; The Battle of Gettysburg"

VOL 1: Union Army

VOL 2: Confederate Army

VOL 3: Civilians

Includes an excellent analysis of the infamous "Brown stripe patterns" commonly found on the first day of fighting….

john lacour Inactive Member08 Dec 2011 9:02 p.m. PST

i have so mant books on the battle my wife, who supports my hobbys and interests, asks how many more books there are left to read on the battle.
having said that, i like "high tide at gettysburg by tucker. i can't recommend tuckers book enough. i'm also quite fond of picketts charge by stewart.

TigerJon08 Dec 2011 9:11 p.m. PST

Just finishing KA; great book. I am looking for something detailed like Landscape Turned Red.

Flat Beer and Cold Pizza Inactive Member08 Dec 2011 9:15 p.m. PST

"I am looking for something detailed like Landscape Turned Red."

Stephen Sears' latest book was on Gettysburg, wasn't it?

vojvoda Inactive Member08 Dec 2011 9:16 p.m. PST

Killer Angles ranks right up there. It is a novel but tells the story pretty well. There is no one good book on the battle. Tons that have covered one day or another. It is the most documented battle in history.
James Mattes

rick3208 Dec 2011 9:33 p.m. PST

I enjoyed Stephen Sears' Gettysburg which I thought was a fair analysis.

TigerJon08 Dec 2011 9:35 p.m. PST

Just looked up Sears' book, Gettysburg. If it's anything like LTR, I'll probably check it out first. Thanks everyone.

Desert Fox08 Dec 2011 9:35 p.m. PST

My four top picks…






FireZouave Inactive Member08 Dec 2011 10:10 p.m. PST

My Enemy, My Brother by James Persico. From Desert Fox's picks, I like all the Harry Pfanz books on Gettysburg. They are all very detailed, but I liked "Gettysburg,The First Day", best. It was a an easier read than the others, but I came away with a clearer understanding of the 1st days actions!

jowady08 Dec 2011 10:29 p.m. PST

"The Gettysburg Campaign, A Study in Command" by Edwin Coddington, considered the "Bible" by serious students of the battle. The level of detail is incredible. It is far and away the best history of the battle and also examines the command successes and failures within both armies without getting bogged down in the "who lost the battle" arguments. The footnotes alone are better than most books, in them Coddington even sometimes explains how and why he came to this conclusion or that, allowing you to decide if its valid.

TigerJon09 Dec 2011 5:56 a.m. PST

Coddington's book sounds a lot like it's laid out similarly to John Gray's Custer's Last Campaign:Mitch Boyer and the Little Bighorn Reconstructed. I have read a lot on the LBH and Gray's work is by far the most detailed of any I've touched. He really likes timelines and gives lots of explanation for his theories. Sorry to get off the subject.

Personal logo Florida Tory Supporting Member of TMP09 Dec 2011 6:37 a.m. PST

As others have already written, the Pfanz books are great. My favorite is the one on the 2nd day because of the detailed discussions about the tactical interactions between opposing forces on a firing line for extended periods


Man of Few Words09 Dec 2011 7:50 a.m. PST


Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Dec 2011 8:21 a.m. PST

Pfanz is magnificent and a must have in any ACW book collection.

Campaigner1 Inactive Member09 Dec 2011 8:31 a.m. PST

Pfanz, Troy Harman, and the others already mentioned.

Campaigner1 Inactive Member09 Dec 2011 8:39 a.m. PST

Link for Troy Harman's book:


Harman's thesis has been put forth by other authors before, but I really appreciate his approach to it and directness on the subject.

Forager Supporting Member of TMP09 Dec 2011 10:56 a.m. PST

A couple that I like are by Bradley Gottfried.

Brigades of Gettysburg is interesting to me because it focuses on each brigade in turn and details what it actually did in the battle. A real eye-opener in terms of seeing how active various brigades were versus others.


The Maps of Gettysburg. One of the biggest faults in a number of accounts is lack of adequate maps. Not so here!Lots of nicely detailed maps which are accompanied clear descriptions of the actions covered by the maps. Very helpful for following the course of action throughout the battle.


Cincinnatus Inactive Member09 Dec 2011 12:17 p.m. PST

I couldn't pick just one. Pfanz's books for the extreme detail and the High Tide book by Tucker (that I got at Half Price books for $2 USD) for a good overall view in a single volume.

Mister X Inactive Member09 Dec 2011 8:44 p.m. PST

The Killer Angels is my favorite book on Gettysburg too.

jgibbons Inactive Member10 Dec 2011 5:32 a.m. PST

I add my vote to Pfanz and Gottfried

The maps book is hard to beat for visualizing what happened…

Matthew83 Inactive Member10 Dec 2011 1:19 p.m. PST

For me it would have to be Mort Kunstler and James M Mcpherson's collaboration GETTYSBURG published 1993.

Superb artwork (52 paintings) and a clear analysis of events including a timeline of maps.



74EFS Intel Inactive Member11 Dec 2011 11:51 a.m. PST

Another vote for Coddington and Pfanz.

mollinary12 Dec 2011 11:27 a.m. PST


Depends what you are looking for. All the above are great recommendations, particularly if you want to start an academic research programme. Sears is the best single volume on the battle for me, but Coddington on the campaign is still brilliant given its age. For a one stop encyclopaedia, albeit with mistakes, Adkins Gettysburg Companion is hard to beat. Pfanz's books are excellent for day two, as is David Martin for day one. But if you are looking for war gaming works then you could start with the original Fire and Fury Rulebook which has brigade level OOBs and scenarios for all three days. Then there are the excellent Scott Mingus scenario books. Finally there is the newly published Wargaming in History Vol 3, Gettysburg 1863. This probably gives you as much Wargaming material on Gettysburg as you could reasonably ask for, together with great photos, maps etc which modern publishing techniques makes available even to our humble hobby. There really is no shortage of material out there, or of views and opinions on it!



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