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These Honored Dead: How The Story Of Gettysburg Shaped American Memory
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These Honored Dead: How The Story Of Gettysburg Shaped American Memory

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  75 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Ever since the guns of Gettysburg fell silent, and Lincoln delivered his famous two-minute speech four months after the battle, the story of this three-day conflict has become an American legend. We remember Gettysburg as, perhaps, the biggest, bloodiest, and most important battle ever fought-the defining conflict in American history. But how much truth is behind the legen ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 3rd 2004 by Da Capo Press (first published November 12th 2003)
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Miles Mathews
May 21, 2015 Miles Mathews rated it really liked it
History is not just a collection of facts. It is not always possible to determine what constitute "facts." History is often a collection of inaccurate memories, constructed memories, and sometimes outright fabrication in an attempt to influence the way others remember an event.

Thomas Desjardin's book makes a convincing case that the Battle of Gettysburg is largely remembered and celebrated based on flawed and inaccurate information, and that the history Americans use to connect with the event,
...more
Todd
Jul 12, 2014 Todd rated it it was amazing
Thomas Desjardin, a noted historian of the Battle of Gettysburg, and in my opinion, one of the very best that has served the National Battlefield Park, nailed down some mis-conceptions of the famous 3 day battle in that sleepy little town in Pa. Some incredible insights to facts that totally dispell the legends and lore that has been told, perhaps incorrectly for well over 100 years and even today. From begining to end this book had my attention and the author injects his own subtle humor that l ...more
Cheryl Gatling
You may have heard that 50,000 men died at the Battle of Gettysburg, more than in all of Vietnam. It was really closer to 10,000. You may have heard that Gettysburg was the site of a great battle because the confederate soldiers were coming there to get shoes. But there was really no shoe factory or shoe warehouse or shoe store in Gettysburg, and the confederate soldiers were actually better dressed and supplied than advertised. These are only a few of the misconceptions that Desjardins corrects ...more
Tony duncan
Dec 20, 2008 Tony duncan rated it it was amazing
An excellent book by a historian about the BAttle of Gettysburg.
Now I know that might sound a little arcane and specialized, but this is an important reason why specialization is important. basically this book details very clearly and in well structured ways how history is manipulated and distorted by the individuals involved a the time and those that document it afterwards.
thomas has gone to great lengths to discern the source of a number of pervasive myths about the battle showing how they be
...more
NancyHelen
Although this book was ostensibly about the Battle of Gettysburg, in fact this was a book about the fallibility of history and memory and the difficulty in uncovering the truth about the events of those three tragic days. The author deals with the legends surrounding the battle and tries to dispel the myriad of myths, describing the personal and political motives behind many of them, but also placing the battle in the context of the American sense of identity.
Richard Budden
Jul 15, 2014 Richard Budden rated it it was ok
The author makes a good case that we can't possibly know exactly what happened at Gettysburg. He adequately sets out the reasons why several sources cited by many historians should not be fully trusted. However, after successfully pointing out that a source isn't entirely objective, the author tends to stretch this into a conclusion that the source is entirely incorrect---an assumption that does not necessary follow.

Overall, an interesting, if overreaching, piece of historiography.
Michael VanZandt
Jan 05, 2009 Michael VanZandt rated it liked it
Shelves: american-history
This book is fascinating in its undertaking of post-Civil War politics as it is with the facts of Gettysburg. Desjardin comes down simply in some cases saying, how are we to know what actually happened? It's honest and probably the best we should expect. In truth, how could those present even know. There were no bird's eye views available for any participant. As Desjardins expresses, the monuments that occupy the fields of Gettysburg are important for us as much for the history that follows this ...more
Craig
Dec 30, 2013 Craig rated it it was amazing
An eye opening look at the history of the Gettysburg battle and battlefield and how its place in American history was shaped. This well researched and well cited book gives a detailed look at some of the common misconceptions about the battle and how these myths were started and perpetuated over the years.

If you think you know the battle of Gettysburg, this book is sure to give you some new information. It also goes into great detail about the difficulty of understanding exactly what happened he
...more
Andy Anderson
Jun 27, 2012 Andy Anderson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Author debunks the time honored traditions of the civil war: Gettysburg was not started because of a need for shoes, the 20th Maine did not take 'hundreds of prisoners', Meade, Longstreet and Pickett did not single-handedly lose the battle and 50,000 being killed. Great book about the memory of the civil war and how no one person could remember the whole battle let alone his immediate area. Great discussion on what a person goes thru while in battle and the immediate events during and afterwards ...more
Kate Willis
Oct 20, 2012 Kate Willis rated it it was amazing
I read the uncorrected proofs version, and found it the teensiest bit repetitive in parts. Possibly (presumably, even) the final draft will have addressed this. But I believe that everyone who has ever been to or is planning a trip to Gettysburg should read this book, most especially if their trip is the result of twentieth or twenty-first century Civil War sensationalism. Really wonderful read.
Lars
Nov 03, 2009 Lars rated it really liked it
Shelves: college-books
An excellent series of insights on how mainstream culture creates military myths focusing on the battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Of particular note is the chapter on Col. Joshua Chamberlain of the 20th Maine, and how the myth of his defense at Little Round Top became exaggerated and engraved into the American consciousness, assisted by Ken Burns and Jeff Shaara.

Stephen
May 27, 2012 Stephen rated it it was amazing
A great read for anyone mildly or obsessively interested in the battle. It is a real eye opening account of how history is so easily twisted and distorted, and how even excellent professional historians can fall victim to trusting in faulty historical accounts. Easily one of my favorites on the battle of Gettysburg.
Jeff Minar
Nov 25, 2010 Jeff Minar rated it it was amazing
An outstanding historical account that also spans decades after Gettysburg in terms of its analysis. I thought I knew a thing or two about the Battle, but as it turns out, that's all I knew was a thing or two and some of what I "knew" was wrong. Very highly recommended.
Chuck Leonard
Apr 15, 2012 Chuck Leonard rated it it was amazing
A bit of myth-busting regarding certain historical issues surrounding the battle of Gettysburg but also some reflections on contemporary manipulation of the battle for political purposes.
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