Bradley M. Gottfried
Savas Beatie, 2016, 344 pgs., $39.95
Image courtesy of amazon.com
Bradley M. Gottfried has created some of the most significant maps in the past few years in the realm of Civil War academia. If you are a Civil War student or reader, the odds of you coming across Bradley M. Gottfried’s maps are high. There is a reason for the popularity of his maps and it has everything to do with the accuracy and detail of what he has placed down before us. The Maps of the Wilderness is the new set which adds more to his amazing collection of narratives and charts. This new book truly adds to the already invaluable series of atlases he has completed.
Bradley M. Gottfried is a notable Civil War scholar who holds a Ph.D. in Zoology from Miami University. He is a faculty member and administrator and is the President of the College of Southern Maryland. He has written ten books on the Civil War including The Battle of Gettysburg: A Guided Tour, Roads to Gettysburg, and Brigades at Gettysburg. His other works in the Savas Beatie Military Atlas Series include The Maps of Gettysburg, The Maps of First Bull Run, The Maps of the Bristoe Station and Mine Run Campaign and The Maps of Antietam. He is constantly adding more to the atlas series with more title to come.
There are certain qualities which make up a good map set and Gottfried has done all in perfect order. First and foremost, the maps are gorgeous. There is never any confusion over who is where and what they are performing in the military realm. They are drawn with the highest artistry with proper keys and scales. The maps themselves are going to benefit any student or scholar with information concerning the Wilderness Campaign. But what places Gottfried’s maps over the top when it comes to the professionalism of a military atlas is the explanations which he gives on the offset page. Not only do we get proper maps of the battle, but we get a full narrative and Gottfried’s narrative is spectacular. Each section of the battle is set up properly with the opening map and the series of charts follow giving the full understanding of what happened there. On top of that, he also gives us the time frame of what is happening before us. Many times in other works, the maps are just placed next to the narrative to assume we know what we are looking at. Here, Gottfried takes great care into how he has constructed this book and I’m sure it will be appreciated by all who wonder in the Wilderness Campaign.
When I first read The Maps of Gettysburg, I was impressed with the amount of detail which the author brought to the field. With The Maps of the Wilderness, Gottfried continues his immersive narrative with the beautiful maps that he only continues to deliver some of the best work in Civil War topography. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Civil War. While it would aid more readers of the Wilderness Campaign, this atlas should be in the library of all Civil War readers and historians.