Have you ever written a book review?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Gettysburg: The Best Single Volume Treatment? And the Winner is . . .

That was the most recent poll question on this blog, and the results were interesting (to me), but not completely surprising:.

There were 61 unique votes. This is the breakdown:
The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command, by Edwin B. Coddington garnered 42 votes, which translated to 68% of the respondents.
Gettysburg: The Last Invasion, by Allen C. Guelzo, gathered 12 votes for 19%.
Gettysburg, by Stephen W. Sears, earned 6 votes, or 9%
and  Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage, by Noah Andre Trudeau, 1 vote for < 1%.
I am curious . . .If you voted and would like to share your choice and why, I would like to hear from you. If you didn't get a chance to vote, but have an opinion, I would also love to learn it.

My choice is Coddington, even though others have more information now that so much time has passed since EBC wrote his lasting and impactful tome. Perhaps my vote has something to do with the fact that I read it first, it deeply impressed me then, I have read it since (ditto), and I find it wears well with time.




Anonymous said...

Hello Ted

Like you I still think EBC's book is the best single volume. I've recently read it and although found it difficult to start, after the first chapter, could hardly put it down. The Sears and Guelzo I listened to on long driving trips and enjoyed them very much. I went in with some pre-conceived notions on Guelzo's and enjoyed it very much. I've not read Trudeau's and I'm not aware of anyone that has. I do plan on reading it, just so I can say I've read them all.

Happy Holidays
Don H.

TPS said...

Hi Don, I agree with you on Coddington. I think Sears's is better written (as is Guelzo's), but I keep coming back to Coddington. I have not finished Guelzo, but find it outstanding. Trudeau's is a solid book, but I don't think as good as the other three.

Dudley Bokoski said...

Coddington does such a fine job of discussing the decision making processes of the various generals it is hard to argue this is not the finest treatment of the battle. The figure of 5,000 books on Gettysburg is so frequently quoted you assume there would be many more comprehensive overviews of the battle, but the list of those with much merit is relatively small.

It also tends to be said that everything about Gettysburg has already been said or written, but I think there's room for someone to write a book which argues that Gettysburg really was not a turning point in the war. As we say in the south, well not many of us anymore, that would really put the fox among the chickens.

Dave Powell said...

Coddington's work is something rare in Civil War History: a truly operational history of the campaign, not just a battle narrative. That's why, IMO, it remains a standout among all the books on Gettysburg, and why it is unlikely to be replaced.