Gettysburg in Fact and Fiction

gettysburgJDThis summer marks the 150th anniversary of the pivotal battle at Gettysburg, the so-called “high watermark of the Confederacy.”   Allen Guelzo’s brilliant new history The Last Invasion accomplishes the rare feat of combining  scholarly rigor with an engrossing narrative.  While Guelzo gives the “what” about the battle, Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer-prize winning novel The Killer Angels explores the “why.”  Told from multiple viewpoints, this character-driven study probes the minds of the combatants, from  commanders in the vortex of events beyond their control to soldiers at the sharp end, whose battle boils down to a narrow strip of ground .  The film Gettysberg brings Shaara’s epic to the big screen without sacrificing any of the story lines.  This is history and historical fiction at its very best.

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