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Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage
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Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,096 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews

America's Civil War raged for more than four years, but it is the three days of fighting in the Pennsylvania countryside in July 1863 that continues to fascinate, appall, and inspire new generations with its unparalleled saga of sacrifice and courage. From Chancellorsville, where General Robert E. Lee launched his high-risk campaign into the North, to the Confederates' las

Paperback, 720 pages
Published May 27th 2003 by Harper Perennial (first published June 18th 2002)
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Diamond Cowboy
Oct 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was impecabley researched and written. It shows the three day bloodiest and most deadly battle on American soil ever, from the points of view of the President, the officers, the inlisted man, and the civilian. It explains all the strategy and the mistakes that were made do to poor nutrition and almost starvation of the troups, to the difficulty of communication over long distances at that period of time.
I would highly recommend this book to all history buffs, and to all war buffs.
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
This was an amazing book, and ever-so-well written! I have been to Gettysburg National Military Park several times over the course of my adult life, and I never fail but to be astounded at the overall importance of this battle and the Union Army being able to ultimately prevail over the Confederate Army during this battle on July 1-3, 1863. The other important element of this battle that Americans need to understand is the sheer ferocity with which this battle was fought between the two sides. I ...more
Robin Friedman
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Battle of Gettysburg is, as Trudeau aptly points out in the Preface to his book, "Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage", "one of the most unforgettable sagas in United States history." The Battle offers ample opportunity for reflection. It invites every reader to think and to work out for him or herself an understanding of the Battle and its significance.

Trudeau's book offers a comprehensive account of the Battle of Gettysburg, beginning with the factors which led to the Confederacy's second inv
Josh Liller
Apr 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: military, civil-war
I have been an avid reader all my life, but in 2009 I picked up Gettysburg by Stephen W. Sears before my first visit to the Gettysburg battlefield. My visit there (and to Antietam) coupled with Sears' excellent writings were a life-changing experience for me.

When reading about Gettysburg in preparation for an upcoming presentation, rather than reread Sears and I decieded to pick up another book on the battle (this one). I first read Trudeau's writing in his excellent Southern Storm: Sherman's Ma
Charles Cummings
If you are looking for more details on the battle than is in the Shelby Foote or Bruce Catton Civil War volumes, than this is the place to be. One objection was the lack of footnotes, etc. However, if you are just interested in the story and you aren't actually going to check up on the author's work, then it really doesn't matter, in my opinion.
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In my opinion, The best book I have ever read on the Battle of Gettysburg. What I truly liked about this book was that it was broken down on the dates the battle was fought. Very detailed and Highly Recommended.
Feb 24, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was impecabley researched and written. It shows the three day bloodiest and most deadly battle on American soil ever, from the points of view of the President, the officers, the inlisted man, and the civilian. It explains all the strategy and the mistakes that were made do to poor nutrition and almost starvation of the troups, to the difficulty of communication over long distances at that period of time.
I would highly recommend this book to all history buffs, and to all war buffs.
Mac McCormick III
Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, military
My most recent read was Noah Andre Trudeau's Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage. Many books have been written about the battle at Gettysburg, so you're easily forgiven if you ask - why bother reading another one? The answer is that I previously read Trudeau's book Southern Storm: Sherman's March to the Sea and enjoyed it tremendously. Southern Storm was compelling and detailed, including the perspectives of not only the northern invaders and southern defenders but the population they were fighting ...more
Sandy Carowick
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Detailed examination of the battle. Especially noteworthy are the views of residents during the battle. I also appreciated a complete list in the appendix of the units that participated.
Dec 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good, worthwhile but it has been a while since I have read it and I cannot remember specifics. Not the best book on Gettysburg. Cf. High Tide at Gettysburg for my favorite.

Dec. 8, 2015. I just read (reread?) this book. Now that I think about it, I may not have read it. Be that as it may my judgment of it is much higher than my prior judgment. The author unashamedly says he is writing another book about Gettysburg in order to put together the new insights from more focused works. He does a very g
Mar 24, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was exactly what I was looking for or what I thought I was looking for. Having visited the Gettysburg battlefield a few years ago and having an intense interest in the Civil War for a few years before that, this book seemed right up my alley. And once again, it was all of that and more.

I was looking for an in depth overview (if that's not too much of an oxymoron as it sounds). I wanted something between detailing every soldier's days leading up to, during, and after the battle on the
Aug 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage" by Noah Andre Trudeau is 'about' the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. It describes the 1863 Pennsylvania Campaign from the preceding Battle of Chancellorsville through Lee's retreat into Virginia approximately two weeks after the Battle of Gettysburg.

At The Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863, Lee again stopped the Union's attempts to advance towards Richmond. Lee then determined to invade the North and force the primary Eastern Union Army, The Army of the Potomac
Jun 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
I find myself repeatedly drawn to works of history that focus on a single event or episode (e.g., the 1949 baseball season, the Chicago World's Fair, the siege of Boston) and offer a rich narrative of that moment in time. Tackling the entire American Civil War seemed a bit much, so picking up Trudeau's account of this single battle seemed the best start. During just three days somewhere in the Pennsylvania countryside so many Americans died and the trajectory of the entire war pivoted (even if i ...more
May 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is an remarkably detailed history of the battle of Gettysburg. It is, at times, a bit difficult to follow, because there is so much detail, including names of units on both sides as well as vignettes of individual soldiers' experiences during the battle.

While I valued the intensive examination of the battle, including the various movements and engagements at all points of the battlefield, I did find that the book lacks much analysis of what went into the decisions of the respective commande
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
First, a warning: do not attempt this book if you a) do not have at least a moderate familiarity and contextual understanding of the battle at Gettysburg, its players, and its impact and import on the Civil War, and b) have never visited the battlefield. This book doesn't deal in much context at all, and it certainly has no time for gross generalizations or 10,000 foot overviews. This book is about a battle, every hot, bloody inch and minute of it.

If, however, you have been to the battlefield, e
Jan 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A great history book outlining the battle and the thoughts and emotions of the men who led it. It made me consider the "fog of war" and how little commanders knew about the movement of troops during battles.

Details: Truedau follows the Union and Confederate forces as they converge on Gettysburg Pennsylvania for what became the defining battle of the Civil War. I thought one of the most interesting points is the lack of respect that how built up in the Confederate command structure from beating m
The book concentrates mostly on the battle of Gettysburg itself, with a pretty good overview of the pre-battle campaign but only a few pages about the retreat to the Potomac. The author jumps around the battlefield to cover the progress of the battle in "real time", with plenty of quotes from the soldiers in the fight; I found the real time format interesting.

Personally, while the book is pretty good, I didn't find it detailed enough to be the "sweeping and comprehensive history" as described by
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
An exceptional overview of the battle of Gettysburg. Trudeau offers an engaging portrait of the people involved on both sides, using numerous firshand accounts to paint a vivid picture of the sights and sounds of those three days. Particularly worth noting is the excellent use of maps, which help keep the reader informed where the action is taking place. My only complaints are that while the beginning of the campaign and the battle itself are well detailed, the days after the battle get scant at ...more
John Fitzgerald
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Briefly, I found this to be an excellent book on the Battle. It is more of a coverage of the Battle-with almost no discussion of "post battle" portion of the campaign. That's fine-other books (Sears' for example) cover that action in great detail-and have somewhat less detail in the examination of July 1-3.

The book reads a little more like a novel at time as Trudeau moves to different areas of the battlefield to let you know what is occurring at a given time. I. This regard I found the book muc
Aug 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I admit it I'm a little obsessed. J and I went to the battlefield last winter when visiting her family...I went away and read a lot about it. Now I'm forcing her to go back this winter and listen to me tour her around. You should send her your deepest sympathies. This book does an amazing job of describing the battle and is loaded with oral history. The best book I've read about the battle thus far..
Ross Bishop
Jul 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
The best book on Gettysburg and one of the best books on the Civil war that has been written. Well written, concise, lots of appropriate detail that contributes greatly to understanding what happened. Trudeau handles the incredible complexity of hundreds of brigades in varying conflicts with remarkable clarity. His historical perspective is exceptional.
Mar 06, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a very detailed account of the Battle of Gettysburg. However, the strict chronological sequencing of the book can be difficult to follow and frustrating at times... especially when trying to use the book as a reference. Overall, though, Trudeau does a great job of re-telling those three summer days in July through primary sources and a vivid narrative.
Doug Mcnair
Oct 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
A long and really, REALLY detailed account of the Battle of Gettysburg that nevertheless manages to hold one's interest on the strength of the author's writing style. Numerous maps keep the reader from losing track of the all-important troop movements. A very good read for military history buffs or for general readers wanting to learn about the largest battle ever fought in the New World.
Ma'lis Wendt
Mar 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Another book by Margaret Edwards' winner, Jim Murphy. His explanation of the battle of Gettysburg from the viewpoint of two soldiers, one Federal and one Confederate, give a personal touch to this battle. He uses Lincoln's speech as bookends to put the battle in perspective of the Civil War and its aftermath.
Aug 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in a very detailed account of the battle
Wow. I thought I knew a lot about the Battle of Gettysburg, but this large book really went into detail regarding the days before and after the battle, as well as the battle itself. I'll have to read it again to get the full effect, but it was a very educational read.
Mike Lanski
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A remarkable look at what has to be the turning point of the Civil War, Trudeau gives us a time frame look at each of the 3 days plus immediately following the battle at Gettysburg. A timely read on the 150th anniversary of this historic battle.
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Read this book about a decade ago and needed to revisit it. Absolutely the most comprehensive book on the Battle of Gettysburg I have ever read. The vast amount of detailed maps make it easy to follow and Trudeau's simplistic style coupled with breadth of knowledge make this a tremendous book.
Feb 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Reads more like a novel and is definitely up there with Sears. Although, having read this with previous background knowledge, I wonder if the style might confuse readers not familiar with the battle. Very enjoyable and hard to put down!
Scott L.
Oct 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
One of the most comprehensive, yet readable books on the Gettysburg Campaign. Trudeau gives enough detail to keep the story interesting without getting bogged down in the minutia that renders other authors almost unreadable. This would be one of the Gettysburg books that I could easily recommend.
William P.
Jan 01, 2017 marked it as to-read
Recommends it for: Anyon e
Excellent read. Must have for a Civil War library.
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American Civil War historian. He has won the Civil War Round Table of New York's Fletcher Pratt Awar and the Jerry Coffey Memorial Book Prize. A former executive producer at National Public Radio, he lives in Washington, DC.
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