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Gettysburg, Day Three Hardcover – 23 Jul 2001

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.6 out of 5 stars 18 reviews
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gettysburg - Day Three 2 July 2001
By Michael Culley - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As an Australian Army Officer, Gettysburg doesn't represent a pivotal moment in my nation's history, nor in our collective consciousness. However I find the depth to which Gettysburg has been commented on over the years to be an absorbing and captivating area of study.
Almost from the moment that Pickett's, Pettigrew's and Trimble's tired and bloodied soldiers made it back to their line of departure up on Seminary Ridge, blame for the failures of Day 3 of the Gettysburg battle seems to have been laid at the feet of the majority of the key players. Wert describes them all and provides perhaps a deeper insight into the mind-set of each of them.
Wert's book is not one for those who do not possess a reasonable understanding of the 3 day battle in it's entirity. The fighting on days 1 and 2 were equally ferocious and, as Wert describes, pivotal to the Lee's decision to continue the attack on Day 3. Wert deliberately doesn't go into detail - after all, this book is about Day 3 - but it's helpful to have a overall view before buying this book.
The book itself is full of first hand accounts, many of them touching and quaintly mis-spelled, plus a detailed breakdown of what each regiment and unit was up to during Day 3. All in all, an enjoyable read but not without some criticisms:
Firstly, I'm sure the devotee's would disagree, but more maps would have been useful, especially when Wert is describing the actions of several units all with similar numbers. I got sidetracked a few times and had to grab a map from another book to see who was where! Secondly, and a word to the wise consumer, this book has to be the worst quality book that I've ever purchased! The pages look as though they've been guillotined with a serrated bread knife and the binding is already starting to go after one read..
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On the Field at Gettysburg 12 Aug. 2001
By Bob Johnson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
After 30 years of reading books about the Civil War and about Gettysburg in particular, I recently have found very little to keep my interest. It was almost as if I had "read it all". I picked up Jeffert Wert's book "Gettysburg :Day Three" primarily because of his past books. I had read one on Longstreet and one on Custer. In the past I have found Wert to be highly readable yet consistly knowledgable on his chosen subject. I was not disappointed. Suddenly I was on the battlefield I had visited over 25 year ago. Seeing Culp's Hill,Spangler's Spring and the surrounding woods.I was reminded of standing at Hay's position at the stone wall and viewing Seminary Ridge and the Blue Ridge Mountain range behind it.When you read the section on the cannonade against the oncoming Confederates the distance takes on a completely new meaning.( If you've ever visited Gettysburg on a hot July day you have a greater appreciation of how suffocating it must have felt.)
Wert transports the reader to the field of battle. To read this book makes the reader feel the temor of the earth during the cannonade prior to the Confederate charge. You also sense the desperation in the fighting on both sides. The reader comes to, somewhat, understand the hesitation yet the fortitude of the men in gray as they rose to march against the postion so prominent and so formidable yet so far away. I found the book even handed and fair to both sides of the battle. I agree with the previous writer that more maps would have been better but I always complain about a lack of maps.
I highly recommend to those that have become jaded,as I had, to pick this book up and once again experince this battle in the only way left to us. You won't be disappointed.
21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a book for the new Civil War enthusiast. 20 Nov. 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The reviews found on the jacket of this book implied that the reader would become immersed in the human drama of one of the most historically significant days in American history. Unfortunately, I found myself immersed instead in page after page of minutiae on the command structure and order of battle of the opposing forces on the final day of Gettysburg. The first-person accounts that I expected to find, the personal recollections and narratives that I thought would comprise the bulk of the book and bring this extraordinary battle to life, were in fact few and far between. I have read Civil War history for more than two dozen years. It is an interest that was sparked in me, as it was in so many others, by a childhood visit to the field at Gettysburg. Having read a fair number of books on that conflict generally, and on Gettysburg in particular, I do not think that this volume would appeal to any but the most sophisticated students of the tactical and strategic issues of the battle. This book, in my opinion, is one that will be appreciated most by those ardent military historians whose interest in the battle from the view of the participants was long ago satisfied by other works. I believe it is they who will appreciate Wert's massive assemblage of information on unit identification and combat participation on July 3rd on an almost hour-by-hour basis. The review blurbs on the cover led me to believe that this account of the final day at Gettysburg might well be a Civil War version of Cornelius Ryan's extraordinarily compelling history of June 6, 1944, "The Longest Day". Unfortunately, I just found this book to be a very long read.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The significant events within the Battle of Gettysburg 15 July 2001
By Michael N. Cantwell - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Any serious student of the American Civil War knows the significance of the Battle of Gettysburg, a series of desperate battles that took place July1-3, 1863. Many, including myself, believe that it was the turning point for both the Union and Confederate causes. It was the beginning of the end.
Jeffry Wirt is a superb historian and very skillful writer. This is a highly readable and informative story of the third and final day of that battle when so many events that could have changed the outcome of the fighting and therefore possibly the war took place.
We all think we know about Pickett's Charge. But Wirt presents the case better than I have ever seen that 'Old Peter' Longstreet had been right but unheeded by Marse Robert who made the worst tactical mistake of his career. Fifteen thousand men, no matter how gallant or brave, could have taken Cemetery Hill that afternoon, especially following the bloody repulse at Culp's Hill. The Yanks had superiority of numbers, topography and artillery and, most of all, confidence gained over the first two days and that morning's fighting that they could stand toe to toe with Lee's veterans and win. And win they did.
The story of Gettysburg was the very series of events that took place in an uncoordinated manner. Lee never got everything going at once, the secret to taking the offensive in any battle. The Union could do what Lee often did so well. Operating on interior lines and on the defensive they could shift both men and their terribly effective artillery to the point of attack, when there was only one such point at a time.
This book also presents Stuart at his worst . . . 48 hours late, wandering around Pennsylvania with captured wagons, negating his primary weapons of speed and mobility, and failing to get behind Cemetery Ridge at the cavalry fight at Rummel's barn. The Knight of the Golden Spurs was too little, too late. The Union cavalry was coming into it's own, better horses, tougher troopers, and outstanding young generals: Buford, Gregg, Custer, Merritt and soon the best of them all, Phil Sheridan. The edge in firepower alone given by the Spencer repeater carbine was to prove significant to the ascendancy of the Union cavalry. The days when the Reb cavalry could intimidate their rivals were over. I'm not sure Stuart understood that up until the end at Yellow Tavern.
But what if Ewell had coordinated his attack with Pickett? What if Pickett had arrived earlier on the field? What if Stuart had gotten to Gettysburg a day or two earlier and had all of his cavalry, rested and ready to fight, at the same time as two coordinated attacks by Ewell and Longstreet? We'll never know but this wonderful book makes you wonder. It's an outstanding read!
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing 26 Mar. 2002
By Andrew Johnson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The book provides new (to me) insights into often overlooked portions of the battle, specifically the cavalry actions of July 3rd. This concludes the good part of this review...
The attention received by Culp's Hill and Pickett's Charge is abbreviated and generally lacking when compared to other available texts on these subjects. A hard-core buff can find more depth and less confusion elsewhere, yet it's a bit much for casual readers.
The writing is painfully inconsistent. Some sections are written around first person accounts and are clean, clear and exciting. In contrast, the technical passages that attempt to detail the "what where how when" of units' movements and activities are muddy and confusing and sometimes inconsistent with the maps that are juxtaposed throughout the book.
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