Hallowed Ground: A Walk at Gettysburg
By James M. McPherson. Crown Journeys, 2009, 144 pp
"Perhaps no word in the American language has greater historical resonance than Gettysburg," writes the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Civil War historian, James M. McPherson. "For some people Lexington and Concord, or Bunker Hill, or Yorktown, or Omaha Beach would be close rivals. But more Americans visit Gettysburg each year than any of these other battlefields—perhaps than all of them combined."
Indeed, nearly 2 million people a year (including around 60,000 foreigners) visit the Gettysburg National Military Park, where the battle took place in the first three days of July 1863. There were almost 50,000 casualties in this battle, which, the author calls the "costliest" in the Civil War and which, he believes, "turned the tide toward ultimate victory."
McPherson, who says he has visited the Park and given tours so many times it feels almost like a "second home," is a superb guide for readers. Not only is he knowledgeable, he is a lively writer, with a good sense of character and story. As he walks, pausing at one of the approximately 1,400 monuments and markers, or at a particular hill or road, he fleshes out the significance of the place with portraits of the players.
At one spot, he tells the story behind the only monument to an individual enlisted man: Amos Humiston, Read More