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

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  2,534 ratings  ·  78 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
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
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
Donna Davis
How familiar are you with the American Civil War? Can you tell McClernand from McClellan from McPherson? Did you know there was a General Ewell of importance for both the Union and Confederacy? One more miniquiz question: in what states would one find Shiloh, Corinth, and Fredericksburg?

What I am trying to say is that this tome, which is either the definitive work on the battle at Antietam or a strong contender, is written for those of us who are pretty well versed in the basics. It won't expla
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
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
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.
I grew up close to the Antietam Battlefield. I remember going there as a child and being impressed with the green fields and the impressive monuments. One summer my visiting grandfather insisting on being taken there. We could have visited any number of Civil War sites, including Gettysburg, quite easily but he wasn't interested in those places. He HAD to go to Antietam. Once we got there he insisted on visiting The Bridge. Standing in the middle of it he stared down at Antietam Creek and declar ...more
This is certainly the best historical account that I have read of the Battle of Antietam. It takes into account the political climate both before, during and after the battle. It states that Lee really had little choice but to take the fight into Maryland (and hopefully further). Virginia was largely laid waste by the actions of the two armies over the past year and provided little if any food or support. The Confederacy's supply system was horrible, leaving its men shoeless, hungry and ragged. ...more
An exceptional book for Civil War buffs, or anyone interested in a good story well told. Mr. Sears masterfully combines narrative with the words of participants in the bloody Battle of Antietam Creek (a.k.a. Sharpsburg). I learned much about the politics of the War, the petty jealousies among the Union's generals, and the psychological mystery that was George MacClellan, a general better equipped to organize defenses and hold splendid parade maneuvers than wage war on a battlefield. You'll be ap ...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’
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
Aug 21, 2012 Jim rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Ben Vogel
Any book on Antietam is going to have two guaranteed elements; a primer on the origins and issuance of the emancipation proclamation and a thorough indictment on the ego and hesitancy of General George B McClellan. This book serves well in the first instance and doubles down on the second. Indeed it could easily be subtitled: The Worst General in the World or some similar construction. Sears despises McClellan, and if you didn't share in that opinion to begin with, he will go a long way toward c ...more
Bill Daniels
This was the first Civil War I read. Prof. Sears hooked me on the Civil War.

I was first made aware of the book as a book read on Public Radio by Michigan State University's Dick Estell. I then read it in 1989.

My Great Grandfather Worley served in the Indiana Infantry. After the war, he located to Longton, Kansas and established himself as a banker and a State Representative.
Sean Chick
I heard this was a classic battlefield history and Sears does not disappoint. He balances drama, military analysis, and political considerations in one of the finest history books ever written. Antietam never fascinated me, but now it sure does.

My only gripe? Too mean to McClellan (1980s was the high tide of McClellan bashing) and too kind to Lee (Sharpsburg was a bad place to fight a battle).
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
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
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
Oct 17, 2014 Emily rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emily by: Jerry Monaco
Shelves: nonfiction, civil-war
Fantastic. At its core this book is an account of the military maneuvers of the Maryland Campaign, including an in-depth treatment of troop movements on the Antietam Battlefield on September 17, 1862. Sears nicely balances the accounts from individual soldiers with those of the officers commanding.

However, Sears devotes almost half of the book to the political circumstances surrounding this battle, with a particular focus on the effects of General McClellan's ambitions and paranoias on the entir
Roger Wickboldt
I really enjoyed reading Sears' book on the battle of Antietam. In particular, I liked the historical background that Sears provides leading up to the battle since that gave me a much better understanding of the frame of mind of many of the key participants. I also appreciated Sears honest opinions regarding mistakes made by both sides during the campaign and battle. Now I need to check out his other historical works!
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.
really shows how bad lil mac was.
Michael Ellis
If Sears wrote it, you need to read it.
An excellent and readable history of the Antietam campaign. Lee’s motives in the campaign have been open to debate; while some historians argue that Lee wanted to pillage supplies and take Union pressure off Virginia, Sears argues that Lee wanted to force the Union into an all-out fight. While Antietam is sometimes seen as a success for McClellan, Sears is more critical of the general’s sluggishness and, of course, McClellan's belief in the rebels’ numerical superiority was constant throughout t ...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
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
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
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
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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
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