Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam
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Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  1,810 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Combining brilliant military analysis with rich narrative history, Landscape Turned Red is the definitive work on the Battle of Antietam.

The Civil War battle waged on September 17, 1862, at Antietam Creek, Maryland, was one of the bloodiest in the nation's history: on this single day, the war claimed nearly 23,000 casualties. Here renowned historian Stephen Sears draws on...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published June 30th 2003 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 1983)
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The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 were so sudden, shocking, and horrible that they defied the imagination. Words were insufficient to describe the events, and many survivors said of the experience, simply, that it was “like a movie.” To grasp the magnitude of the death and destruction of that day, many attempted to place it within a historical context. The search for a historical parallel, a day of equivalent violence, led to another lethal September, this one occurring in 1862.

The ba...more
Sears' book is probably the best single-volume work on the Battle of Antietam written to-date. He covers the necessary details of the battle without losing the thread of narrative. He has also written outstanding books on George B. McClellan and Abraham Lincoln, providing even more authority to his knowledge of major participants in the Maryland campaign. For all intents and purposes, the American Civil War should have ended in September 1862 with the destruction of Lee's army by the Army of the...more
For students of American history, and especially of the Civil War, this fascinating study of the Battle of Antietam is a must-read. The Battle of Antietam took place on September 17, 1862 and it stands as the single bloodiest day of the Civil War. There were almost 23,000 casualties for American families to endure after the fight in Maryland for Antietam Creek. Stephen W. Sears places the battle into the political and military context of the war and he deftly analyzes the personalities of the ma...more
As the 150 anniversary of the Battle of Antietam approaches, I'm trying to refamilarize myself with the lay of land so to speak and the title of this book gives one pause as to the carnage inflicted on a single September on a battlefield in near a creak by the town called Sharpsburg. I've only got past the introduction but for the Union and for Lincoln in general, the War was going very very wrong.

Since the elevation of command from relative obscurity from military advisor to the President of th...more
This book is an excellent portrayal of the bloodiest day in American history and the events that led up to it. It places the blame for the battle and the blood that was shed squarely where it belongs, on General George McClellan, head of the Union Army. Cautious by nature, General McClellan failed to pursue opportunity after opportunity to destroy the Rebel Army and, by not following up on it, prolonging the war by 3 more years. A bonus chapter is devoted to Lost Order No. 19, which practically...more
Christopher H.
I read this book years ago, right after it was first published and enjoyed it immensely. Also, I have a direct ancestor who was a young Lieutenant in the 21st Massachusetts with Burnside's Ninth Corps, and was badly injured at Burnside's Bridge during the Battle of Antietam. I visited the battlefield in the fall of 1996 and literally had the entire battlefield to myself. It was an almost spiritual experience wandering over the landscape and remembering the horrors that Sears described in Landsca...more
Scott L.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Civil War and/or the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg). This is a very comprehensive look at the battle, mostly from the Union aspect, but still very good in its scope. Sears is obviously an excellent historian and writer. His books on Gettysburg and Chancellorsville are must-reads for Civil War historians, and this book is definitely their equal. I give this book 4 stars because its treatment is basically from the Federal viewpoint - and pr...more
C.H. Cobb
This volume ranks among the best works of military history that I have read. Sears is a top-drawer writer and historian, and this book displays both those skills. It’s one of the few histories I’ve read that could be legitimately described as a page-turner.

Sears does a great job of unfolding the context for the Battle of Antietam—of 336 pages in the main body of the book, fully 180 are devoted to establishing the background. Much of that material is spent elaborating General George B. McClellan’...more
Landscape Turned Red: Battle of Antietam is without a doubt the best single-volume history of the battle of Antietam. Sears is a good writer and historian, and he brings the battle to life with emotion and close attention to detail. The book tells the story of a lost opportunity. An intelligence coup gave General George McClellan the opportunity to use the superb tool he had created, The Army of the Potomac, to destroy Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and quite possibly bring the war to...more
Cormac Zoso
Another of the 'must-reads' by this marvelous US Civil War historian, 'Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam', covers one of the most horrific chapters in the USA's military history (that can even easily be expanded to non-military history if you like). Antietam is one of those words, one of those places, one of those events that make the goose-flesh rise on my arms every time I hear it. Right up there with Shiloh for best-known Civil War slaughters, there are quite a collection of these...more
Steven Peterson
Stephen Sears' book, "Landscape Turned Red," is another in a series of his volumes that have clearly established him as one of the major historians of the Civil War. In this work, he addresses the bloodiest one day battle of the Civil War, and a battle that allowed President Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emacipation proclamation and forever end the possibility of European recognition for the Confderacy with its "peculiar institution."

Sears sets the stage for the book when he notes (page xi):

Stephen Sears takes the reader through not only through the battle fought on September 17th, 1862, but also the describes those leading up to it and even goes as far back as the Peninsula Campaign to set the stage for Antietam. I enjoy Sears' writing style and especially like the fact that he includes the perspectives of common soldiers throughout this book. This makes the story come alive.

I must admit that I had trouble following the narrative of each of the battles as they were unfolding. One...more
Les Wolf
What was canister? hoe cakes? whiskey courage? Lost Order No. 191?

A host of answers to the questions surrounding this critical battle can be found here, in a book filled with fascinating details and insights, the author having obviously read everything on the subject.
The Confederate Army invaded the North for the first time in 1862 in Maryland with the goal of achieving recognition in Europe as an independent nation. Europe was poised to "give the nod" to the new republic but Lee would have to p...more
Most people who think of the Civil War Battles often begin with Gettysburg but the Battle of Antietam near Sharpsburg, Maryland, was just as bloody and on this single day, the war claimed nearly 23,000 casualties with 1,546 deaths suffered by the South and 2,108 by the North. More men lost their lives that day than at Pearl Harbor, D-Day or 9/11.

I could get into a very long and probably painful analysis of the book but I’m sure for most non-history fans it would be a bore.

Here are several brief...more
i think this is sears first book, and while the writing is brilliant, i have only one complaint. the chapters are a bit too long. it's really hard to find a good stopping point. that's lame, i know, but it kind of bugged me. it must've bugged others, because in subsequent books, he inserted more breaks and shortened the chapters.

sears is great. really. he weaves in so many firsthand accounts into the larger narrative, you understand the horror of antietam on an almost personal level. there are...more
Sears seems to me a solid historian, but I made the mistake of listening to this as an audiobook. First, military history, particularly close attention to a particular battle, doesn't work without the maps. It was just too hard to follow the detailed movements of different units. Second, and this may just be the nature of the slaughterhouse that Antietam was, in this format it became kind of monotonous: Federal unit X moved up and was mowed down, the rebels countered with General Y, who was kill...more
Josh Liller
This was Sears' first Civil War book, from back in the early 1980s, but he's already got his in-depth style largely set. As usual for Sears, the book covers not only the battle but the lead up to and aftermath of the battle. The Antietam campaign syncs up well with McCellan's second stint in command, which really goes not much better than the first. His perpetual paranoid overcaution and sloppy command style lead to a tactical draw and a minor strategic victory when his vastly superior numbers s...more
Andy Bittner
Even 150 years after the fact, the carnage of September 17, 1862, at Sharpsburg, Maryland, is hard to comprehend. From the title on, Stephen Sears' Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam, comes closer to providing some such understanding than any other book I've read on the subject. How is it that so many men can happen to come together, in such a relatively confined space, and have at each other for 12 hours, leaving more than 20,000 casualties behind just 48 hours later? This is a wonder...more
Chuck Leonard
Excellent treatment of the Battle of Sharpsburg/Antietem ... Sears is among the best Civil War Historians of our era, Highly recommended.
Jim Hale
I was surprised to see that another book has been written on this battle recently. I've read dozens of Civil War books (mostly battle books) and, next to Shelby Foote's magisterial volumes, it just doesn't get any better than this.
Rob McFarren
very well researched and readable. great incorporation of individual correspondences of soldiers, the generals, and politicians. set the stage well, then catalogued the events and tactics leading into and through the battle well. if interested in antietam and the circumstances around 1862 it is a great read.
John Osman
This book came highly recommended by a few websites which I found while goggling books about the Civil War and especially Antietam. I then recommended it to my son and two of my son-in-laws since we were planning a family outing over Easter at Antietam. All four of us read this book and it did not disappoint. We liked Sears narrative style and the book fully prepared us for our trip. We liked it so much that we starting reading his other book on Gettysburg.
A histroy of the Battle of Antietam. I feel bad giving it 3 start because Antietam is the single bloodiest day in american histroy. But this book leans much more to the histroy and details side of history rather than the story with details side of history if that makes any sense. I enjoyed and will look at it again in the future. I read it following some excellent books on the civil war and my have just been suffering from history and war overload.
Roger Taylor
This is by far the best explanation of the entire Antietam campaign, including South Mountain and the battle of Antietam as well as the consequences of the battle for the nation.
Neill Goltz
Please see the special page I have created on this topic on FaceBook:
Excellent and approachable, though maybe not perfect for the novice. If you don't know anything about how war was fought at the tactical and operational level in the ACW, you're not necessarily going to get that here; Sears essentially assumes the reader knows much of that already.

The book sets the battle and the Maryland campaign in context very well and truly brings it to life.
Outstanding book on the topic! A excellent coverage of the days events, the futility of the "Back an Forth" attempts to take the field and awesome lose of life and limb. Most note worthy for me was the insight into the poor command and leadership skills McClellan displayed during the encounter; this from the American Napolean. Well worth the read.
Herb Kleinegger
Great book! a non-fiction book that read like fiction. This book really taught me about the battle of Antietam, how Mcclellan mismanaged his superior force and was too afraid to lose rather than dare to win. Once again Lee and his generals outmanuvered the North. This battle should have ended the war and would have averted so many more casualities.
Feb 17, 2011 Al rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: wbts
Easily one of the best, if not the best, book on the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam). Sears does a tremendous job of tracing the preliminary movements leading up to the battle, and clarifies the troops movements on this complicated, bloody day. Very readable, and should be in every Civil War buff's library.
The best account of Antietam I have ever read and probably the best book about any Civil war battle I have ever read. I really appreciated Sear’s sarcasm about the slowness of McClellan and his need to micromanage all the logistical details such as setting up camp the night prior to his offensive. Great read!
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Stephen Ward Sears is an American historian specializing in the American Civil War.

A graduate of Lakewood High School and Oberlin College, Sears attended a journalism seminar at Radcliffe-Harvard. As an author he has concentrated on the military history of the American Civil War, primarily the battles and leaders of the Army of the Potomac. He was employed as editor of the Educational Department a...more
More about Stephen W. Sears...
Gettysburg Chancellorsville To the Gates of Richmond: The Peninsula Campaign George B. McClellan: The Young Napoleon The Battle of the Bulge

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