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Hallowed Ground: A Walk at Gettysburg (Crown Journeys Series)

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  890 ratings  ·  60 reviews
“[I]n a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our power to add or detract.”
—President Abraham Lincoln

James M. McPherson, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom, and arguably the finest Civil War historian in the world, walk
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Hardcover, 144 pages
Published May 13th 2003 by Crown Publishing Group (NY) (first published March 5th 2003)
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The Killer Angels by Michael ShaaraGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellBattle Cry of Freedom by James M. McPhersonThe Civil War by Shelby FooteCold Mountain by Charles Frazier
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Community Reviews

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Mike
Hallowed Ground: A Walk at Gettysburg, Three Days in July

"More than any other place in the United States, this battlefield is indeed hallowed ground. Perhaps no word in the American language has greater historical resonance than Gettysburg. 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."


Although I was born in Alabama an
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John Gurney
This short book is written in McPherson's clear style. The historian shares brief anecdotal stories and tackles the many myths that arose from this cataclysmic and decisive Civil War battle. “Hallowed Ground” is perfect for anyone planning to visit Gettysburg, as McPherson weaves history into precise geographic spots on a battleground walk. He carefully provides perspective on the action in the context of the war and the nation's history. The walk ends at the site of President Lincoln's Gettys ...more
Rick
McPherson has a very natural, comfortable writing style and can evoke small anecdotal moments that can be clearly seen in the mind's eye as well as he can explain strategies and tactics of battle. The book has just the proper length, depth and tone and offers simple illustrative maps to help us picture the layout each day of the battle.
I was surprised and amused by his sense of humor with the exception at the very end regarding the appearance of rain after battles that seemed to misfire as a fi
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Mickey
This is a short book about the site of the battle that is considered the turning point in the Civil War. I think it would be a good book for someone with an intermediate knowledge of Gettysburg. It would also be good for a person who has just visited Gettysburg or who is preparing to visit. This book focuses on the land of Gettysburg, which is a novel approach. It has interesting factoids that are arranged well, but I don't think it was meant to be an overview or an introduction to Gettysburg. M ...more
J
This relatively-recently-written (2003) book is a very good, and very clear, brief, walking tour of the Gettysburg battlefield. McPherson has toured the battlefield many times and, of course, is a fine scholar of the war. His familiarity with both the battlefield landscape and the facts of the strategy and tactics is clear, and he has an eye for the interesting backstory, as well as the ways that the topography of the battlefield affected the outcome. He also identifies still-ongoing historical ...more
Jack
Read "Hallowed Ground", watched Ken Burns "Civil War: Episode 5", about Gettysburg. Now I feel ready for our trip to Gettysburg.
Jessica
James McPherson has done it again, just when I think that there is nothing more to be said about the battle of Gettysburg, he goes ahead and proves me wrong. "Hallowed Ground: A Walk at Gettysburg", is not intended to provide a thorough examination of this penultimate Civil War battle, instead it serves as historical guidebook.

While taking readers on a tour of the Gettysburg National Park (as well as areas of the town itself), McPherson provides the history of those sites, detailing the events
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Mike
This was a very short book that was fun but not very deep. I enjoyed the read and learned a few new anecdotal pieces of information, but this basically feels like a quick way for McPherson to make some money. That sounds very critical, but I do not mean it to be. I enjoyed the light read and if nothing else, it really makes me want to visit Gettysburg and spend some real time there. This was a perfect one day read during what has become a Civil War kick for me.
Adrian
Read this before taking a trip through the National Endowment for the Humanities to Gettysburg with other teacher around the country. A nice short read about the battle, where and when things took place, and brief explanations why. I enjoyed the information about different myths about Gettysburg and where they may have come from. Very excited to now visit the site to put a picture with his descriptions. Would recommend this to any history buff as a great read!
Aleks
A nice and concise summary of Gettysburg. Not by any means McPherson's most insightful work on the Civil War (See the illustrated edition of Battle Cry of Freedom or, I'm told, For Cause and Comrades) but informative and readable. The maps are very minimalist and don't show up terribly well on my Kindle Touch. Fortunately I have The Atlas of the Civil War, edited by McPherson.

I do like the efforts McPherson goes through in this slim volume to debunk myths of which the Civil War bred hosts. He al
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Chris
This book, for what it is, is great. For me, it was interesting, but it was very light reading.

The book is very worthwhile as a refresher to the Battle of Gettysburg. McPherson writes this like he's giving a very laid-back tour of the battle. Certainly, with such a small book, there is a lot of detail left out of his story. Even so, there are a lot of interesting things as well. Note that the upcoming landscape changes he mentions have taken place and are still taking place to more closely refle
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TBML
Fans of Civil War History will not want to miss this one. McPherson's This is a written version of the Princeton professor's walking tours with his students. Exciting and approachable treatment of the topic. The text is brief but manages to be comprehensive in its overview of the three-day battle-the bloodiest in our history-while including fascinating stories. McPherson writes in a conversational tone as he describes the atmosphere of the site. Specific street directions are provided, and the a ...more
Mary Ellen
Listened to this book on our drive to and from Gettysburg from Washington DC. Great narration of the battle and important players in the fight.
Jennifer
Probably best when you're actually touring Gettysburg, this book nonetheless captures the story and dispels some of the myths surrounding those three important July days in 1863. I enjoyed McPherson's tone: conversational, yet knowledgeable - just like I imagine he is in front of students. He takes readers throughout the battlefield, and you feel as if you're getting the inside story. I'll bet his rivals the best of the official guidebooks. The only thing missing are photos, but I suppose if you ...more
Mike
If you are planning on visiting Gettysburg, and it's battlefield, this is a must read.
Sam
Excellent walk through of the Battle of Gettysburg. Planning to use the book and follow McPherson's directions to view the various battle spots. Brief, yet thorough, he gives perspective and vision to each site discussed. I've been to the battlefield many times, but gained a new glimpse through McPherson's many years of Gettysburg tour guiding. I especially enjoyed the human interest stories and the be-bunking of various Gettysburg Battle myths. I highly recommend this book for those interested ...more
Chris
needs more maps.
Kai Palchikoff
Nov 16, 2014 Kai Palchikoff added it
Shelves: history
Gettysburg
Ross
Sobering, moving.
Angelica
I actually read this book on our way home, after visiting Gettysburg, so I didn't get to enjoy it on location as a guide book. Still, everything was fresh in my mind. Unlike the audio tour we purchased at the gift shop, this author did a great job sharing interesting tidbits and anecdotes while still offering a great overview of the battle and following a coherent timeline. James McPherson is clearly quite knowledgeable and he has a great sense of humor. The book is very readable and enjoyable.
Lauren
Rather than an in-depth account of the battle at Gettysburg, this books provides a tour of the grounds with battle stories and anecdotes along the way. Not having been to Gettysburg, the detailed directions from one historic site to another were a little excessive for me, but I appreciated the readability of the fairly short book. It gave me an overview of the battle with interesting tidbits and left me feeling like I understood the essential facts without being bogged down by details.
Dawn
I appreciated the insight this book gave on the battle of Gettysburg without being overwrought with details. It reads like a guided tour, and makes me hunger for the chance to visit this remarkable place and see for myself the details of the battlefield. This book is not a comprehensive description of the Battle of Gettysburg, but is just enough to get your feet wet on understanding the battle. Definitely a worthwhile read for anyone looking to visit the Gettysburg area.
James
This is a very personal, discursive approach to visiting the Gettysburg battlefield. In addition to historical information on the campaign and battle, McPherson addresses the state of the battlefield today and associated historical and preservationist controversies. Very lively, casual, and well-written. I'm looking forward to carrying this book around when I visit Gettysburg in early October.
Michael Mulvihil
This is a guide to a walking tour of the Gettsyburg Battle Field with several interesting facts of the people of the town and their involvement in the battle scattered throughout a hundred or so pages. The description of the soldiers and their officers, more known to me, became of new interest in the comparisons the authors made of them. Definitely has made me want to tour this field.
Rebecca Gomez
This was the second of three books I read on Gettysburg prior to an overnight trip there in June. It's a great concept, an in-depth guide book of the battlefield with extra attention paid to the happenings in the town after the battle was over and the establishment of the National Cemetery. It dragged towards the end but I still feel like it was a worthwhile read.
Kathleen Trishman
This is a guidebook to the battlefield of Gettysburg. The author describes the events of the battle as he walks along and stops at the various monuments that have been erected. I liked it because we had just visited the battlefield, so I was able to read about what I just saw.There were interesting stories of the people involved in the battle.
Kirk Lowery
Jul 24, 2011 Kirk Lowery added it
Shelves: history
This book is basically a transcript of a knowledgeable guide to the battleground. You absolutely must have a map with you to follow what he says. But if you're looking for insight into the battle from a geographical perspective, forget it. Disappointing, since Mcpherson is a significant historian of the Civil War.
Sarah W
Today's reread. A fun little guide to the town and battlefield with some personal anecdotes about the men involved. A few pieces are now outdated with changes to the battlefield in the last ten years and I have heard guides take issue with the section on equestrian monuments. It was still a good refresher.
Camille
This was an interesting book. It was read like one was taking a guided tour of Gettysburg but it was interesting to learn where all the monuments and statues, etc are located on the battlefield and what they represent. It made me very excited to go there and see this hallowed ground in person.
Eddie Marceau
Had cool anecdotes. Probably would have rated higher had I not already been to Gettysburg a few times.
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James M. McPherson (born October 11, 1936) is an American Civil War historian, and is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor Emeritus of United States History at Princeton University. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Battle Cry of Freedom, his most famous book. He was the president of the American Historical Association in 2003, and is a member of the editorial board of Encyclopædia Britannica.

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More about James M. McPherson...
Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam Abraham Lincoln: A Presidential Life

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