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Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War [Hardcover]

Newt Gingrich , William R. Forstchen
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

26 Jun 2003
The Civil War is the American Iliad. Lincoln, Stonewall Jackson, Grant, and Lee still stand as heroic ideals, as stirring to our national memory as were the legendary Achilles and Hector to the world of the ancient Greeks. Within the story of our Iliad one battle stands forth above all others: Gettysburg. Millions visit Gettysburg each year to walk the fields and hills where Joshua Chamberlain made his legendary stand and Pickett went down to a defeat which doomed a nation, but in defeat forever became a symbol of the heroic Lost Cause. As the years passed, and the scars healed, the debate, rather than drifting away has intensified. It is the battle which has become the great "what if," of American history and the center of a dreamscape where Confederate banners finally do crown the heights above the town. The year is 1863, and General Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia are poised to attack the North and claim the victory that would end the brutal conflict. But Lee's Gettysburg campaign ended in failure, ultimately deciding the outcome of the war. Launching his men into a vast sweeping operation, of which the town of Gettysburg is but one small part of the plan, General Lee, acting as he did at Chancellorsville, Second Manassas, and Antietam, displays the audacity of old. He knows he has but one more good chance to gain ultimate victory, for after two years of war the relentless power of an industrialized north is wearing the South down. Lee's lieutenants and the men in the ranks, embued with this renewed spirit of the offensive embark on the Gettysburg Campaign that many dream "should have been." The soldiers in the line, Yank and Reb, knew as well that this would be the great challenge, the decisive moment that would decided whether a nation would die, or be created, and both sides were ready, willing to lay down their lives for their Cause. An action-packed and painstakingly researched masterwork by Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen, "Gettysburg" stands as the first book in a series to tell the story of how history could have unfolded, how a victory for Lee would have changed the destiny of the nation forever. In the great tradition of "The Killer Angels" and Jeff Shaara's bestselling Civil War trilogy, this is a novel of true heroism and glory in America's most trying hour.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St Martin's Press (26 Jun 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031230935X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312309350
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16.4 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,443,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Two respected historians, one horrific battle - and the challenging question of "what if...?' Sure to become a Civil War classic..."--W.E.B. Griffin, author of Final Justice

About the Author

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, is the author of five books including the bestsellers "Contract with America "and "To Renew America." He is the CEO of The Gingrich Group and an analyst for the Fox News Channel. Dr. William R. Forstchen is the author of over thirty works of historical fiction, science fiction, young adult works, and traditional historical research. He holds a Ph.D. with a specialization in military history from Purdue University.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAME VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
For the first three days of July each year I watch the film "Gettysburg," based on Michael Shaara's "The Killer Angels," so of course I would be interested in reading "Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War" written by fellow Amazon reviewer Newt Gingrich and military historian William R. Forstchen. The book sat on my shelf for a couple of months before I decided to read it, at which point I took over the cover with ever bothering to look at it. Since I had missed all of the publicity for the novel, I actually started this book without knowing that it would turn into a "what if?" revision of the pivotal Civil War battle and finished it without being aware that it was the first in a trilogy, the second volume of which, "Grant Comes East," is due out next month.
Consequently, when on the night of July 1, 1863 General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, agrees with the suggestion of his senior corps commander, James Longstreet, that the Confederates pull away from Gettysburg and seek better ground on which to destroy the Union Army of the Potomac, I knew immediately that the authors were diverging from the path of history. My immediate reaction was that this would be interesting. Once of the problems with telling the story of the Battle of Gettysburg as a novel is that Shaara already won the Pulitzer Prize for doing so, and it is impossible to read the events of the first day of the battle without being aware of how Gingrich and Forstchen are stepping around Shaara's story of how John Buford's Federal cavalry delayed the Confederate advance long enough to preserve the lovely high ground at Gettysburg for the Union army and Henry Hunt's artillery.
Up to the night of July 1 this novel sticks very close to what really happened.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary 3 Aug 2005
By Joseph Haschka HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
There's a small part of me screaming out that GETTYSBURG is a transparent attempt by co-author and Southerner Newt Gingrich to immerse himself and readers from below the Mason-Dixon line in a fantasy consistent with the sentiment, "The South shall rise again." And my first gut response is, "The Confederacy lost the war; get over it!" Having said that, however, I must go on to say that this alternative history of the events from July 1-4, 1863 is one of the two best works on the Civil War I've ever read, the other being that superb 3-volume narrative history of the conflict by Shelby Foote. The fact that Newt's GETTYSBURG is fiction makes it all the more remarkable.
History has it that on Day 1 of the Gettysburg battle the vanguard of Bobbie Lee's Army of Northern Virginia drove lead elements of George Meade's Army of the Potomac from Gettysburg, the latter digging in on the hills and ridgeline south of the town. Lee's blood was up, and spent the next two days futilely attempting to take those heights against the advice of his chief lieutenant, General Longstreet, who advocated a flanking maneuver around the Union left. In GETTYSBURG, Lee not only bows to Longstreet's counsel, but goes one step further, sending his army on a wide right sweep into Meade's rear to capture the Union Army's supply base at Westminster and cut the Army of the Potomac off from Washington, DC. What results is the apocalyptic Battle of Union Mills on July 4.
There are two things that make this novel so darn good.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellently detailed AH 22 April 2004
Format:Hardcover
I must admit, at the risk of losing my status in the AH world, that I wascompletely unaware of this book before discovering it on my Library'sbookshelves. After the disaster of '1945', (see my Blog), I thought thatthe odds of anyone agreeing to do a book with Newt Gingrich to be fat,slim and none. Proving a glutton for punishment, or so I thought, WilliamForstchen (Lost Regiment, 1945) has apparently written another book withNewt. Dear me, I thought, and took it with me on my trip to Bolton.
Much to my surprise, this is actually a very good stand-alone book, withfew of the problems that plagued 1945. The basic plot revolves around avery different battle of Gettysburg, in which Lee launches an extra attackon the first day and is convinced that the Yankees position is too strongto attack directly. Instead, Lee matches to the Union's supply depot andcaptures it, forcing Meade to launch suicidal attacks and crushing theUnion army.
The book is fast-paced and readable. There are a few problems, such asbadly drawn maps and a slight political bias; the CSA's commanders aremainly larger-than-life figures, while the USA's commanders are fools. The one competent commander on the Union's side is a democrat! Don't letthat distract you, though, as its generally easy to keep track of theaction and follow the battle.
The book also has odd moments of humour. There is the exposure of a CSAspy though the device of his son taking the USA troops for CSA troops. There is also the brave, but stupid boy who is foolish enough to walk inthe battlefield and unlucky enough to be spanked by a trooper from eachside.
I have been informed (through Amazon, not the book itself) that it's thefirst part of a trilogy. That is bad news; as far as I am concerned, forthe team have a habit of starting book series and never finishing them. Other reviewers have also stated that the characterisian is bad, althoughI generally liked it.
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